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Bf 110D-3

DML 1/32 Bf 110D-3 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2012 Manufacturer DML
Subject Bf 110D-3 Scale 1/32
Kit Number 3206 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nicest kit of the Bf 110D-3 in any scale Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $121.95

First Look

Bf 110D-3
Bf 110D-3
Bf 110D-3
Bf 110D-3
Bf 110D-3
Bf 110D-3

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 intial 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 lengendary.

About five years ago, Eduard released their first Bf 110 in 1/48 scale and it was instantly the best kit of the subject in any scale. A few years later, DML also entered the Bf 110 arena, but their kits are in 1/32 scale and here is one of their latest offerings - the Bf 110D-3. The initial Bf 110Ds were distinctive with their innovative Dackelbauch belly fuel tank for long range operations, but the drag and vunerability of the tank made it more of a liability in combat. With the D-3, the tail was lengthened to accommodate liferaft stowage in the event of ditching at sea, replacing the Dachelbauch tank with wing-mounted drop tanks, and adding the capability for using the ETC 500 bomb rack on the centerline.

DML captures these details nicely in this latest release. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on 16 parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched details.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on two parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Very detailed front and rear cockpits
  • Detailed ventral gun bay
  • Detailed nose gun bay
  • Detailed rear gun mount
  • Positionable canopy segment
  • Main spar frame to provide a strong wing/fuselage joint
  • Detailed DB 601 engines
  • Cowling panels can be left off to display engine(s)
  • Choice of 300 liter or 900 liter drop tanks
  • Optional ETC 500
  • Four optional ETC 50 bomb racks
  • Optional bomb load (2 x 500 kg and 4 x 50 kg bombs)
  • Nice long-wire HF antenna

The only minor complaints I'd have  given the nice engineering used to produce this kit is that the flight control surfaces and flaps are all molded up/neutral. The nose gun bay is nicely detailed but there wasn't a provision for the hood to be positionable so you can see that detail after assembly. The nose cone is molded in one piece and while you could leave it removable somehow, it wouldn't be representative of the full-scale subject.

Markings are provided for four examples:

  • Bf 110D-3, 3U+NT, 9/ZG 26, Sicily 1941
  • Bf 110D-3, 3U+OT, 9./ZG 26, 1941
  • Bf 109D-3, M8+AP, 6./ZG 76, Greece, 1941
  • Bf 109D-3, 4./ZG 76, Raschid, Iraq, 1941

Decals are provided on two sheets and the printing is nicely done. Unfortunately, the decal sheets are 'politically correct' as they doesn't have swastikas for the tail nor even some of the accepted segmented markings that can be assembled into swastikas. The sheets also do not provide any airframe stenciling.

Overall, this is a nicely done kit and is easily the best of this subject in 1/32 scale. Does it beat out Eduard's 1/48 scale offerings? No, the issues cited above with this kit are areas done well by Eduard, so they retain their crown for this subject. Nevertheless, if you're building in 1/32 scale, this kit is outstanding and with a little modeling skill and perhaps some aftermarket products, you can easily overcome the minor issues above.

This kit is definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to Dragon Models USA for this review sample!