A Tale of Two Friedrich's
I bought these kits when they were still available through K-Mart, and fell in love with them almost immediately. Sure, the panels are molded a little heavily. Sure, there are some details that need adding and sure, those screw plugs are a pain. But at the cost, I was able to play a bit with the kits and make some versions that weren't high on my list, just to enjoy the distinction of a kit that was, for once, affordable!
Both the desert version and the European version required some of the same modifications. The loop antenna behind the cockpit is not appropriate for this version, and you might want to fill in some of the redundent panel lines around the bottom of the fuselage as well -- 21st Century essentially made a hybrid here, but I wasn't going to quibble over a few details when it was so much fun building these. Both the radiators on the wings and fuselages needed splitter plates, which I fabricated out of some thin card stock, and the wheel wells were a bit "iffy" in roundness, so I filled them in with some additional card stock to ensure they looked right. They nicely included a desert filter for the engine, which only required bit of detailing to make right. The cockpit is more detailed than almost any other 1/32nd scale version of this aircraft out of the box, which is quite a treat when you've played endlessly with the old Revell version! On retrospect, the one thing that I should have modified but didn't was the thickness of the main landing gear wheels, which are a little anaemic. Other than that, it's a pleasure to build. In addition, 21st Century also has offered the later version - the G -- as a kit, and with some clever interchanging of parts, you can create almost any aircraft from the early F's through the very late G's with the Galland Hood.
These kits are no longer available through Wal-Mart, but they are still available through 3000toys.com, which keeps them in stock sporadically. If anyone knows of a more reliable source, I'd love to hear about it.
© Gino Dykstra 2009