Avia S-199 Mule 1/72 Eduard

The Avia S-199 Mule was one of the last designs based on the Messerschmitt Bf-109 and the first fighter of the Israeli Air Force (IDF). The declaration of the State of Israel in 1948 was very tumultuous and from the first moments the Jewish state had to defend its territory. Czechoslovakia was the only country to support the new state with arms supplies. The Avia S-199s were among them. The Mule was built as a temporary fighter using leftovers from war production in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia by fitting a Jumo 211F engine and Junkers VS-11 propeller into the fuselage of a Messerschmitt Bf-109G-10. The nickname Mule then fully describes what resulted. The Bf-109’s specific characteristics were further accentuated by this combination. As an added bonus, poor quality war production parts and a weak engine were added. Even such an infernal mix did not prevent the Mule from being chosen by the IDF. In Israel, the Mule served with the famous 101st Squadron during the First Arab-Israeli War, and despite its poor performance and problematic features, the combat deployment was quite successful.

I chose machine No. 108 from the first delivery of Mules to Israel. The machines from the first batch were distinguished from the later ones by a different oil cooler. The Avia No. 108 also had a different tail wheel and square wheel well. All these differences are covered in the Eduard kit. Nothing needs to be redesigned or sourced.

Eduard’s Avia S-199 is basically self-buildable kit and comes with everything you need. I upgraded the Mule with rudder pedals, exhausts and a Revi 16 sight from U3D. I also added a 4xETC 50 bomb rack, which all Avias delivered to Israel were equipped with. The build went without a hitch and I was looking forward to the paint and decals. I combined the markings based on the photos from the AML decals (number 108 and the 101st Squadron emblem) and the ones in the kit. However, after applying the one-color camouflage from the Gunze paints, there was an icy shower. My impression of the perfect kit was completely spoiled by the Eduard decals. They were really bad. Slightly slick, thick overcoat and rough when applied to the surface. Looking at the result, I thought I had gone back in time and got decals from old KP´s kits (ugly, thick, yellowish ….. etc). I´ve tried just about every product for decals, including Hypersol. The agony with the decals culminated in a white and blue stripe on the fuselage that fell apart during application 🙁 . Fellow modellers advised me to get rid of the thick overcoat by peeling it off. I tried this method on the remaining decals. It didn’t turn out to my liking so I went back to Hypersol. This was the only one that made a bit of an impression in the end. However, the result is not what I expected. Following surface patina partially hid my nightmare – the decals 😉 and the Mule was finshed.

Despite the problem with the decals, I enjoyed building the Avia S-199 and it motivated me to build a training version of the Avia CS-199.

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