The Spanish Civil war was fought from 1936 to 1939 between the Republicans and the Nationalists.
Following the military coup in Spain at the start of the Spanish Civil War, the Spanish Second Republic turned to the Soviet Union and France for support, and the Nationalists requested the support of Hitler's Germany and fascist Italy.
The first request for German aircraft was made on 22 July, with an order for 10 transport aircraft. Hitler decided to support the nationalists on 25 or 26 July, but was wary of provoking a Europe wide- war. The Reich Air Travel Ministry concluded that Nationalist forces would need at least 20 Ju 52's, flown by LuftHansa pilots, to carry the Army of Africa from Spanish Morocco to Spain. This mission became known as Operation Magic Fire (German: Feuerzauber) The joint Spanish-German "Spanish-Moroccan Transport Company" an entirely German company, the "Raw Materials and Good Purchasing Company" (ROWAK) were established. The whole process being kept entirely secret and hidden from the rest of Europe and funded with over three million Reich marks. The recruitment of German volunteers was also kept a secret.
The first group of men left on the 1st of August unaware of where they were going. They were accompanied with six biplane fighters, anti-aircraft and over a 100 tons of supplies. They were placed at Tabala airfield near Seville and accompanied by German Air transport who began the airlift of Franco's troops to Spain.
The Condor Legion, upon establishment, consisted of the Kampgruppe 88, with three squadrons of Ju 52, bombers and the Jadgruppe 88 with three squadrons of Heinkel He 51 fighters.
The Heinkel He 51B was the first German fighter airplane to record an aerial victory since the end of the Great War.
At the dawn of the Spanish Civil War dozens of Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters and Heinkel He 111 medium bombers, and from December 1937, at least three Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers, first saw active service in the Condor Legion against Soviet-supplied aircraft. The Stuka's first mission flown in Spain was February 1938. Each of these aircraft played a major role during the early years of the Second World War.
The Germans also quickly realized that the days of the biplane fighter were finished. The Heinkel He 51B fighter, after suffering many losses during the first 12 months of the conflict, was switched to a ground attack role and later saw service as a trainer.
One of the most famous fighters of all time the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was first used at the start of the Spanish Civil War and with the participation of the Legion Condor, it was quite logical to take advantage of the situation and prove the new fighter in actual combat.
At the start of World War 2 hostilities, the Luftwaffe pilots of the Legion Condor , became the solid backbone of already battle hardened and proven pilots.
In the Box
On opening the box of Eduard's new limited edition Legion Condor you are looking at a large amount of plastic with the two kits, the He 51 moulded in a light grey and from Roden, and Eduard's own mould of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 in a darker grey.
The contents of the box are -
- Instruction booklet.
- A bag containing the Heinkel He 51, which is spread between five light grey sprues and one clear sprue.
- A bag containing the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1 /E-2, this is spread out over five sprues also in a darker grey and one clear sprue with cockpit glass and lights.
- One sealed bag containing two sheets of etch.
- Small bag with Eduard masks.
- A large sheet of Cartograph decals for both the Bf 109 and He 51.
He 51 Roden sprue B
The first sprue out of the bag was Roden B, which has the upper and lower wings.
The upper wing has nice surface detail with definition showing the ridges where the fabric is stretched across the surface which adds to the detail. On the down side there is some work to be done on the bottom wing as there is a slight bit of flash which will need to be cleaned, but nothing to bad here.
On the top wing, dead in the middle, is a rather large piece of plastic which looked like it was part of a supporting strut during the manufacturing process and has not been removed after being taken from the mould.
Roden sprue A
Contains both fuselage sections, an engine cover and the propeller.
The fuselage section has some great detail, with individual panels having the fabric effects from the cockpit back to the tail.
The tail itself has some nice detail.
The cowling cover on the front of the plane is simple, yet still has detail.
The two bladed propeller looks really wide with great shape to it, although there is some slight flash here and there on it.
On the inside of the fuselage there is very little detail as you will see in one of the photos.
Roden Sprue E
This sprue has some smaller parts on it, of which some of these look quite fragile and removal would need to be done with some care.
The oil cooler caught my eye, and with Eduard's added PE that comes in the box it will really add more detail, although in fairness to Roden, in its plastic state, it has really quite nice detail without the need for the PE.
The cockpit detail with all the added PE does really look fabulous in the instruction booklet and in plastic form too. The control column though does look a bit brittle, this could be a one off fault or maybe a problem with the mould, however I have to say looks fine detail wise.
The exhausts for instance look like exhausts.
On this sprue there is not much to grumble apart from some minimal flash. Some parts have great detail, but some of the others, although as I have stated do have good detail they do look fragile though.
Roden Sprue C
This sprue contains the wheels, wheel covers, frame work for the cockpit interior, and flaps for tail wing.
The frame work I have to say I do like the idea of building this, it just gives you that much more authentic feel, unlike the kits of yesteryear, where you would be putting both halves of fuselage together whilst trying to balance the seat and pilot in-between, then one slip, and pilot and seat was forever lost in the fuselage LOL! But it is different now and most kits tend to be built with either a frame or a cockpit tub. There is some flash on the frame that would need to be removed.
The wheels have some nice detail, though it will only be the very bottom of them that you will see once inserted to the wheel covers.
Roden Sprue D
The last of the grey sprues for the Roden kit first has some thin struts that are the supports for the upper wing and sit nicely on the top of the fuselage.
A nicely detailed huge rudder and a pilots seat that looks bare of any detail, but is probably what you had in those days.
You also have the upper wing and lower wing flaps, which again retain that feel of the stretched fabric.
Roden Sprue G
Is a very small sprue containing one wind shield, that I have to say has a large piece of flash on it, and one light lens.
Bf 109 E-1 /E-2 Eduard 8260 A
Moulded in a darker grey than the Roden mould, the main part on this sprue is the two fuselage halves.
Now right where do I start, this is a typical Eduard mould, crisp highly detailed from the various panels to the fantastic rivet marks and some raised area's for the control surfaces.
On the inside there is a some lovely detail.
The top engine cowling cover has inserts for the two machine guns.
This whole sprue carries really good detail.
Eduard 8260 B
This is the upper and lower wings for the Bf109 E-1 version, again this is to the high standard you would expect from Eduard.
Fantastic recessed panel lines, great rivet detail, and the little inspection panels all have great detail which will enhance this kit.
Eduard 8260 C
The upper and lower wings of the Bf109 E-2 version, the only difference here visually is the bulges under the lower wing.
Eduard 8260 D
The sprue has lots of parts, with the main parts being the landing gear legs and wheels.
The wheels I have to say are amazing with individual parts like the wheel hubs and separate spoke wheel down to the individual tyres. I have to say that it is stunning the amount of detail Eduard have managed to get onto these small parts. Even down to the tyre size, yes I got out my magnifying glass as I could see some writing there, I was amazed to see the actual tyre size is on the side wall !!!!
Also on this sprue you have the rudder with nice detail , and two machine guns, with intricate detail on them.
I have to say you would be hard pushed to find fault in any of Eduard's sprues so far.
Eduard 8260 E
This is the last of their grey moulded sprues, and the first thing I noticed was the engine which has some nice detail. The frame for the engine to fit into plus various other well detailed engine parts.
The drop tank, that again is nicely detailed and has a moulded fuel cap on the top.
The rest of the sprue is taken up by the cockpit instrument panel, seat, control yoke, propeller, cockpit housing and armour plating for protection of the pilot.
Eduard 8260 F
I have to say that the clear sprue has the glazing spot on for me, nice and clear with some very fine intricate frame work, and it is hard to find anything wrong to be honest.
Instructions and Decals
The instruction booklet for Eduard's Legion Condor has 24 pages in their usual clear glossy way of printing them.
is in three parts with an introduction into the Spanish Civil War and the Legion Condor, this gives a nice insight to the Spanish Civil War, the main people and then goes on to explain how the Legion Condor became involved and what units went and there primary roles.
The second part is about the early Messerschmitt Bf 109s, this gives detail about there designer, the first prototype which took to the air for the very first time in May 1935, then gives a bit of information about its use in the Legion Condor.
The Third section is about the Heinkel He 51B, this gives insight into its design, some information on the actual aircraft and its integration into the Legion condor.
Is the keys to different symbols and sprues for the Heinkel He 51B masks and photo etch
Page 3 to 6
This is the start to finish of the build of the Heinkel He 51B, and Eduard really make their instructions very user friendly.
The diagrams are printed with different colours for the use if a certain action has to be taken such as the removal of raised areas on the cockpit panel, so you can use the photo etch.
The best bit about this is it is optional, you don't have to use etch if you don't want too, it also gives painting instructions as the build goes along of the parts that need painting before final construction again using clear markers all the way through.
The six pages of instructions is very easy to follow, with clear and precise instructions, it is a pity that more manufacturers do not do the same.
Is the key to the symbols and shows the sprues for the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1 /E-3.
The main difference you notice here is the different parts clearly marked with a light blue over the top of the sprues which is showing you what is added or taken away for the different marks.
Page 8 to 15
Is the start to finish of the Bf 109 kit, again Eduard have it spot on with an incredible easy to follow instruction booklet that made me want to get right onto with the build, it was that easy to follow.
Each page is highlighted using different colours where etch pieces go.
On page nine it even gives you instructions of what not to use if you are going to have the engine and gun cowling closed, it even has a engine serial number.
It seems to me that Eduard are really thinking about everything, so giving us the modeller much more of a licence to make incredibly accurate models and or dioramas, such as the correct positioning of the landing legs. Now this may not be the first time that someone has done this, but it certainly is the first time that it has been done in such a manner as to make it easy to follow.
The whole build process seems to be easy, the way that they have set out there instructions.
Page 16 to 23
Is the start of colour guides for painting and the placing of decals, this goes on to give you some detail about the pilot and plane .
- Heinkel He 51B of Oblt. Hannes Trautloft 2.J/88 Avila Spain Fall 1936
- Heinkel He 51C-1, Adolf Galland, 3, J/88, Calamocha, Spain Spring 1938
- Heinkel He51B-1 Harro Harder, 1 J/88, Battle of Brunete Spain July 1937
- Heinkel He 51-B ,Stabsarzt Dr. Heinrich Neumann, Medical Battalion san/88, Spain 1938
- Bf 109E-1, Oblt Siebelt Reents, StaffelKaptain 1 . J/88 Leon Spain Spring 1939
- Bf 109E-3 Oblt. Hans Schmoller- Haldy, 3. J/88, Spain, 1938
- Bf 109E-£ 2. J/88 Catalunyan, Front Spain Early 1939
- Bf 109E-3, Lt. Kurt Sochatzy, 3.J/88, Spain, Spring 1939
Positioning of the stencilling of the Bf 109's, and again you have to see it to believe it the amount of detail is amazing.
Decals are printed by Cartograph, they are very clear, not to thick and very crisp in detail with some incredible art work.
The Photo etch comes in three separate sheets, one large pre-coloured cockpit interior with seat belts, instrument panels, and has some fantastic detail here as you would expect from one of the leaders in etch in the industry.
There are however some very small parts that would require not only great care when removing but also great care in fitting to prevent the carpet monster from stealing more of your goodies !
Sheet two is smaller than the first one and has pre-coloured parts and again has some intricate detailed cockpit detail with belts, dials and levers.
Sheet three is the same size as sheet two and contains parts for the engine and also grille covers, etc and is in the usual unpainted brass colour.
All of the etch sheets have some very small parts on, but will ultimately take an already good detailed plane to the next level.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE