by: Andy Langridge [ ]
This plane really needs no introduction as no other aircraft of the German Luftwaffe is so intimately connected with its rise and fall in the course of the Second World War than the Messerschmitt Bf 109.
The Bf 109E-4 version
The Bf 109E-4 was a logical development of the earlier E-1 and the up-armed E-3. Combat units in western Europe requested more modern cannon armament, and so the E-4 carried two MG-FF/M cannon in the wings. These allowed the firing of explosive rounds (‘Minengeschloss’). Together with two large caliber MG 17 machine guns, this gave the pilots a significantly increased amount of firepower.
Along with some airframe changes, there was the significant improvement of armor plating behind the pilot’s head. There was a new canopy added that improved visibility and safety during minor mishaps. This canopy was also retrofitted to earlier E-1 and E-3 aircraft.
In July, 1940, DB 601N engines offering better high altitude performance were installed, giving birth to the Bf 109E-4/N. The addition of the ETC 250 bomb-rack, and the ETC 50, gave rise to the ‘Jabo’ version E-4B and E-4B/N. The Bf 109E-4 was the basic version for all subsequent Emil types developed.
Packed in Eduard's standard close fitting lift off top box (always a struggle to get the lid off first time) are 6 light olive sprues and one transparent, an A4 booklet of instructions and two sheets of Decals, one for the plane markings and one for stencils.
The transparency sprue is packed in a zip lock bag and this should avoid any scratching of the canopy. The Transparent parts are really nicely done, as would be expected from Eduard, clear, thin and blemish free. Total Transparency count is 9, but it looks to me that this is a generic Bf 109 sprue as only 4 of the parts are used.
Of the 164 Parts in the kit, 9 are not used to make this variant. The parts are cleanly made, with excellent engraved detail, and the absolute minimum of flash, just a bit on the rear wheel well. As far as I can see there are no glaring sink marks or ejection marks that will be visible when the kit is made, so full marks to Eduard for that.
The fabric on the control surfaces is very well done, and they have put some thought into the placement of the sprue gates, which are nice and small anyway.
As is usual with the weekend kits, there is no Etch, or masks, but this is quite a complex kit from the looks of it, and might make a long, if interesting weekend build. I will follow up this review with an attempt at a weekend build of this kit, however a breakdown in paint supply means there will be a little wait for this!
Construction begins as usual with the cockpit. The seat / office is made up from 16 parts, detail on the sidewalls is made from 12 parts.
Approximately 50 parts make up the engine, engine bay and bulkhead. The detail on the engine looks very good, and this should build into a very nice representation of the DB601. Should you wish to not bother with the engine, Eduard have thoughtfully included parts to allow the installation of the exhausts etc without having to build the whole engine.
Details on the inside of the wheel wells is minimal, but adequate, the undercarriage legs are nicely done, with a minimum of mould seam to clean up. The tyres are moulded in one piece, with separate 2 piece hubs, and again there is a minimal amount of clean up needed.
Decals and Markings
The final two pages of the instructions are for painting and decaling instructions.
As is usual with the weekend kits, there is only one Decal option, this being of Lt Josef Eberle of 9./JG 54 Based in The Netherlands 1940.
Paint scheme is RLM02/71 over RLM76. The light blue extends quite a long way up the sides of the plane, so the ground crew tried to break this up by spraying random lines of 71 on the sides.
The instructions are printed in B&W, but a full colour set are available on Eduard's Website, which is a great help.
The decals look to be very thin and in perfect register, and include Swastikas, both whole and Halves, but these are only alluded to on the instructions, rather than being shown, and are lacking from the box art.
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