Bf-109 G6 "Arcadia"

by Pablo A. Castro


Motivations to build a model can be many and varied. In this present case my objective was to make a farewell present for a friend moving to Switzerland. For that reason the model had to fulfill several particular requirements: it had to be small for an easy handling, strong enough to resist two international moving (Moving = great destroyers of models!), it had to please my friend (main condition) and last but not least it had to be a pleasant modelling experience for me. This last condition is of great importance not only when modeling but in other orders of life as well since without pleasure hardly any good result can be achieve!.

The Capitan Harlock

After thinking about it for a while, I decided to build a model of a very special Messerschmitt Bf-109 G6. This particular plane does not belongs to any "real" Luftwaffe's As but to the ancestor of a famous character from Japanese animation: Captain Harlock. For those that don't know or don't remember him, Harlock is a space pirate that travels around the galaxy with a patch in the eye, a scar on his face and a glass of red wine in the hand while handling the steering wheel of a spaceship called Arcadia. The stern of this spaceship resembles that of an old sailing pirate ship even carrying the classic skull and crossed bones black flag. My friend is an absolute fan of this character and his tragic adventures so my gift would be certainly very welcomed.
The original TV series was called Captain Harlock and was very popular by the late 70s becoming a Japanese animation classic. Later on, its creator, Leiji Matsumoto, would make a film of called My youth in Arcadia (1982) in which the protagonist (a young Capt. Harlock) recalls air combat scenes of World War II in which his ancestor saves a Japanese technician (working for the Germans!) from the allied attack by carrying him to the Swiss border in a compartment located just behind the cockpit of his battered Bf-109 G6. This sounds strange but actually technical personnel (and even pigs!) were evacuated this way, mainly during the German withdrawal from the east front.

The model

Making a 1/72 scale desktop model of a WWII Luftwaffe fighter related to Captain Harlock, would fulfill all the conditions mentioned above: reduced size, robustness, it would please my friend and it would cause me great pleasure to build it.


For the selection of kit I considered the available options. The subject has being reproduced in 1/72 scale by many companies. Although Hasegawa and Academy offer very good quality kits (maybe the bests around) of the Bf-109 G6 in 1/72, I finally choose the one produced by Airfix. In terms of precision and detail the kit is really not very good but it's extreme simplicity of construction (I was in hurry!) and robustness made it more than apt for my project.


The model was constructed almost straight from the box with just some minor modifications in the undercarriage. Since I wanted to represent the plane in flight the landing gear should be constructed closed. The kit's undercarriage doors are smaller than the landing gear wells so I have to make new ones in plastic sheet shaped to it's characteristic form. The pilot was modified with two components epoxy putty to represent Harlock in his atypical black flight suit with red and yellow ornaments. Another detail that I added was the wire antenna done with stretched sprue and fixed in its place with a cyanoacrilate drop.

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As the main reference source for the color scheme I used the WWII air combat scenes from the film (My youth in Arcadia) and the diagrams published in the book dedicated to this film. The dark upper camouflage in two tones of green and bluish grey bellow does not represent any real unit of the Luftwaffe nor is a scheme used by a Bf-109 G6. This allowed me to freely choose the colors that better represents the aircraft scheme seen at the film. This is one of the advantages of fantasy or science fiction modelling: there are no strict references (at least not as much) to follow resulting in a much more relaxing modelling experience.
For the upper camouflage I used Tamiya's XF-61 dark green and XF-58 olive green, and for the underside the excellent Model Masters' RLM-76 Lichtblau was used. The nose cone and rudder were painted yellow (Humbroll 24). Before spraying the paint with my airbrush the model was masked with Tamiya masking tape (18 and 6 mm). The most complicated part to mask was the transparent canopy frame.


Before placing the decals I applied a couple of layers of undiluted Future Floor that gives a perfect surface for the decals to adhere. I used some of the Airfix kit decals but swastikas (not provided by the kit) and the special markings are from a set of decals that came with a Japanese book dedicated to another creation of Matsumoto san: The Cockpit. With this same name there are is a manga (Japanese comic) and a three parts very tragic animation film set during World War II (highly recommendable for the fanatics of WWII planes, specially from axis ones).


After letting the decals and setting solutions to dry, I highlighted some panel lines and control surfaces edges with a fine point marker (Gundam Grey Marker). With a similar black marker I painted the nose cone spiral. Using gouache pencils and pastels hydraulic fluids leaks and exhaust soot were simulated. I sealed everything with several thin layers of Future Floor and when it was dry I applied a satin coat obtained by mixing Tamiya's Clear Acrylic (X21) and matte base (X22). As far as I know this satin mixture can also be done with Future and Tamiya's matte base.

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I made the base with a simple lacquered wood piece in which I inserted a 4 mm diameter acrylic rod. In order to decorate the base, I printed (using an ink jet printer) an image from the cover of a book that is a pivotal issue in the film plot and adhered it to the wood base with white glue.

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In some way this is not a "normal" model since it is a hybrid between a classic model (what is more classic than a Bf-109?) and science fiction and fantasy modelling.
Nowadays this model is resting on a shelve over a hearth in Geneva bringing up nostalgia for the tribulations of the space pirate to more than one Swiss paying a visit to my friend's home.


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"Ran" magazine, n 16, March 1999, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
"Luftwaffe Day Fighters", Model Art Co. Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.
"My Youth in Arcadia", Roman Album n52, Japan.
"My Youth in Arcadia", animated film, Toei Animation Co. Ltd., 1982, Japan.
Decals: "This Is Animation: The Cockpit", pub. Shogakukan, Japan.

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