Airfix 1/72 Bf 110C-2/C-4 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2017||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Kit Number||3080||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice detail||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$17.98|
The twin-engined Messerschmitt design was a result of an RLM requirement for a strategic fighter. Three bids were submitted, Focke Wulf, Henschel, and Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (where Willy Messerschmitt worked at that time). Many folks get confused about the proper designations of these early Messerschmitt designs. During the development of the Bf 108 Taifun, Bf 109 series, and Bf 110 Zerstorer, Willy Messerschmitt was still a staff member at Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, hence the prefix Bf on the design numbers. It was due to his significant contributions to the RLM that Bayerische Flugzeugwerke was renamed Messerschmitt AG in 1938 and Willy Messerschmitt appointed chairman and managing director of his namesake company. Development of the Zerstorer design predated the birth of Messerschmitt AG.
Interestingly enough, the original submission for the strategic fighter was rejected by the RLM and funding was given to Henschel and Focke Wulf. It wasn't until the intervention of WWI ace Ernst Udet that the Messerschmitt design was reconsidered, the requirements reworked, and the two competitors' contracts terminated.
In initial flight testing, the Bf 110 was faster than the early Bf 109, though not as maneuverable. Engine development problems with the Daimler Benz model 600 engines would force the initial batches of Bf 110s to be powered by the less-capable Jumo 210 engines. When the DB601 engines became available, the Bf 110 would become the long-range fighter, night fighter, and fighter-bomber that made it legendary.
Airfix is the iconic brand from the United Kingdom that has been producing injection-molded kits since the early 1950s. While the company had a wide range of kits under production, Airfix entered receivership and/or was sold for a variety of reasons which is well-published elsewhere. After its aquisition by Hornby Ltd. in 2006, Airfix began to reintroduce kits that had not been available for some time while investing in new tooling to revise their brand. One of those new-tooled kits that came after Airfix's acquisition by Hornby was the 1/72 Bf 110C which is a prime example for how Airfix is revamping their brand. For those of you who've been modeling for a while, you know that the 'old' Airfix had previously produced the Bf 110 in this scale and that tooling is what we technically call 'old' (1959). This is one of the subjects that Airfix selected to develop with contemporary design and production technologies to keep their kits relevant into the future.
The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on three parts trees plus one small tree in clear styrene. The originial Bf 110 kit was entered into their 2xxx series as it was a little more complex than the 1xxx series simple kits. Airfix continues with their graded series of kits with the higher the first number, the more complex the kit, and as this kit is 3080, the 3xxx series is at the next level of complexity. If you took this kit back in time to the 1970s when this rating system was put into place, I bet you'd find it in the 5xxx or 6xxx series as the state of the art as well as the state of the modeler has changed over the years.
Among the features and option in this kit:
- Reasonably detailed cockpit
- Optional crew figures
- One-piece cockpit enclosure
- Nice wheel well and radiator detail
- Landing gear can be positioned up or down
- Choice of underwing external fuel tanks
- Optional centerline bomb rack
- Choice of bomb load
The kit provides marking options for two subjects:
- Bf 110C-2, M8+EP, Staffel I/ZG 76, France, 1940
- Bf 110C-4, +S, II./SKG 210, 'Operation Barbarossa', Eastern Front, 1941
The decal sheet does have a nice set of airframe stencils with good illustrations in the instructions for placement. The decal sheet does not have the swastikas included.
The surface detailing is nice with scribed panel lines and no mold flash. Quite the contrast to the original Bf 110 in Airfix's past. As with the original kit, the cockpit enclosure is molded as one piece, and you'd find that the clear enclosure is thick enough that you wouldn't be able to pose the canopies open, even if you did carefully cut the sections apart. This is keeping with the kit being part of the 3xxx series, the cockpit interior is kept simple enough to avoid tiny parts and therefore the one-piece canopy makes perfect sense.
With the variety of paint schemes carried by the Bf 110C/D/E, this kit is an inexpensive basis to depict the history of this Luftwaffe heavy fighter.