by: Jean-Luc Formery [ ]
HistoryThe Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun was a German single-engine sports and touring aircraft developed by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Aircraft Works). The Bf 108 was of all-metal construction. The Bf 109 fighter used many of the same design features.
Originally designated M-37, the aircraft was designed as a two-seat sports/recreation aircraft for competition in the 4th Challenge de Tourisme Internationale (1934). The M 37 prototype flew first in spring 1934 powered by a 186 kW (250 hp) Hirth HM 8U inverted-V engine, which drove a three-blade propeller. Although it was outclassed by lighter aircraft in the competition, the M 37's performance marked it as a popular choice for record flights. One of the first major changes made to the production variants was to adapt the fuselage for a four-seat configuration.
The A version first flew in 1934, followed by the B version in 1935. The B version used the Argus As 10 air-cooled inverted V8 engine. The nickname Taifun (German for "typhoon") was given to her own aircraft by Elly Beinhorn, a well known German pilot, and was generally adopted. Soon after the first production aircraft began to roll off the assembly line in Augsburg, several Bf 108s had set endurance records.
The Bf 108 was adopted into Luftwaffe service during World War II , where it was primarily used as a personnel transport and liaison aircraft. The plane involved in the Mechelen Incident was a Bf 108. Production of the Bf 108 was transferred to occupied France during World War II and production continued after the war as the Nord 1000 Pingouin.
The KitEduard's 1:48 scale Bf 108 is not really a new kit. In fact it's rather the contrary since it was first released in 2002. At that time, it was the second kit (after the P-39) to be produced using long-run metal molds instead of short run molds. With the use of this new technology, the Czech Manufacturer was able to produce kits to a higher standard than before. Several boxings of the Bf 108 saw the light of day since the initial kit, amongst them a "foreign service" edition and the "WeekEnd" version. Today, how does the Eduard 1:48 scale Bf 108 kit compare to the latest productions in injected plastic? Quite well in fact!
The kit comes in a standard "ProfiPACK" top opening cardboard box. The cover artwork represents an aircraft in Yugoslavian markings which is a little bit misleading since the other four options are Luftwaffe aircraft. The content is the following:
- three sprues of light olive injected plastic with 88 parts.
- One clear sprue holding two parts.
- One photo etched sheet with 104 parts.
- One sheet of masks.
- One decal sheet with five marking options.
- One instruction booklet.
The quality of the kit is quite good when compared to the latest releases from Eduard but the panel lines are deeper than on the new kits. However they can't be described as trenches, so I would say that a delicate finish can be achieved nevertheless. The level of detail of the plastic parts is alright and having already built a Bf 108 from Eduard in the past I can confirm that the kit is relatively easy to get together. My only nitpick is that it is not possible do display the cockpit doors in the opened position without doing some surgery because the canopy is made in one piece.
A nice photo etched fret is provided which will improve the level of detail of the cockpit interior which remains very visible on the finished model. Seat belts are of course present, as well as an instrument panel, a central console and other smaller items. These are pre-colored, which is nice as it will make the painting of the cockpit much easier. A sheet of masks is included for the glazings, the wheels and the fuselage band.
Decals and marking optionsWith the decals of this boxing, it is possible to choose between five different aircraft:
A - Bf 108, Yugoslav Air force, Kraljevo, 1940.
B - Bf 108, sonderkommando Blaich, Libya, 1942.
C - Bf 108, 4. (H)/13, Rumania, 1940.
D - Bf 108, Flugbereitschaft Luftflotte 4, 1941.
E - Bf 108, I./JG27, innsbruck, 1941.
The first option is the most exotic one and the only aircraft in the box which isn't from the Luftwaffe. It represents a Yugoslavian machine with an interesting three tone upper camouflage (Tan, Brown and Green) over a light grey undersurface. The second is well know and has been covered by Eduard in previous boxings, although only in basic form, without the photo etched parts. It is a machine in desert camouflage of RLM 80 blotches applied on a RLM 79 upper surface over a RLM 76 undersurface. The aircraft also carries some interesting emblems on the fuselage side and has a white fuselage band. The other three options are similar as they are all based on a RLM 70/71/76 camouflage. However, if you like yellow, go for the Rumanian based machine has it has a yellow cowling and yellow control surfaces on the tailplane.
The decals are in perfect register and seem to be of a high standard. They have been printed by cartograf in Italy.
InstructionsWhen the kit was released for the first time, Eduard did made a mistake in the instructions in that they showed the engine block in reversed position. This has been corrected. Another mistake has remained though in that Eduard ask you to glue the tailplane support struts in the inverted position. The larger end of the struts shouldn't be glued on the fuselage but on the underside of the horizontal tailplanes. If you study closely the color profiles in the instructions (especially the side views), you will see what I mean. Other than that, the instruction booklet is very precise and easy to follow. It is composed of a History of the plane, a parts layout diagram, four pages dedicated to the build, one page for the masks and five pages for the painting and decalling instructions. Colors are given for the Gunze Aqueous and Mr.Color range of paints.
ConclusionThis is a nice kit which isn't too complicated to assemble so I can highly recommended this boxing to every kind of modelers, except for the obsolute novice. With some care and patience it can be made into a detailed replica of the real aircraft thanks to the additional photo etched parts. And some paint shemes are really interesting!
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