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Bf 109E Kit

Eduard 1/48 Bf 109E-4 Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2012 Manufacturer Eduard
Subject Bf 109E-4 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 8263 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Very nicely detailed kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $39.95

First Look

Bf 109E Kit
Bf 109E Kit
Bf 109E Kit
Bf 109E Kit

Dr. Willy Messerschmitt was a true aeronautical pioneer whose concepts would transform aircraft designs on drawing boards around the world for generations. In the years between the world wars, Messerschmitt helped to rebuild Germany's armed forces and keep abreast, if not ahead, of the world's transformation from biplane to monoplane aircraft.

The initial prototype of the Bf 109 first flew in 1935, and incorporated many of the transformational innovations being applied elsewhere in the world, along with a few innovations of their own. Powered by the Rolls Royce Kestrel V12 engine, the aircraft used a liquid-cooled engine to reduce the frontal area of the nose and improve the pilot's forward visibility. The wing was a low-wing monoplane design that housed a narrow-track retractable landing gear and used spring-loaded leading edge slats and manually activated trailing edge flaps for lift augmentation at low airspeeds. In other words, the wing design allowed for fast airspeeds while retaining relatively low airspeeds for take-off and landing. The pilot sat in a fully enclosed cockpit. Only the horizontal stabilizer retained external bracing of the biplane era and would do so through most of its production versions.

The Bf 109E was the first model to be powered by the Daimler Benz DB601A rated at just under 1,100 horsepower. The E-1 was armed with two 7.92mm MG17s in the nose and two MG17s in the wings. The E-3 followed with two MG17s in the nose and two 20mm MG FF cannons in the wings. Some E-3s were powered with the DB601Aa rated at just under 1,160 horsepower. The E-4 incorporated a number of improvements with many E-3s upgraded to the E-4 configuration.

The E-4 was armed with two MG17s in the nose and two MG FF/M cannons in the wings. The E-7 was the next iteration that incorporated changes learned from combat experience during the Battle of Britain. The most notable change was the addiion of a centerline suspension system that was plumbed to use an external fuel tank to enhance the Bf 109's short legs or to alternatively carry a bomb on the centerline. The tropicalized version is recognizable with the long filter box located on the port-side cowling to keep sand and dust out of the engine's carburetor.

Eduard has scaled down their beautiful 1/32 Bf 109 series and released them in 1/48 scale. You can see the 1/32 scale Bf 109 here. If you compare the two kits, you can see that much of the design was scaled-down intact so many of the features you found in the larger scale are here as well.

Molded in RLM 02 colored styrene, this kit is presented on four parts trees plus one tree of clear parts, two frets of photo-etched details, and one set of window masks.The molded-on detailing is well done with no signs of flash or apparent ejector pin marks in areas that would be visible after assembly. While this is technically a Profipak edition, the use of multimedia parts is kept to a minimum and the kit can be build completely from the plastic should one prefer not to use the photo-etched parts (in that case, wait for the Weekend Edition which is plastic-only).

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Beautifully done cockpit with choice of color photo-etched or decal instrument panels and side consoles
  • Choice of photo-etched or styrene rudder pedals
  • Positionable canopy
  • Photo-etched radiator grilles
  • Nicely detailed DB601 engine
  • Detailed gun deck above engine
  • Positionable engine access panels
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable elevators
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable slats

Markings are provided for five aircraft:

  • Bf 109E-4, W.Nr. 5587, Yellow 10, 6./JG 51, Wissant, France, 1940
  • Bf 109E-4, W.Nr. 5344, Group Commander/JG 2, Beumont, France, 1940
  • Bf 109E-4, W.Nr. unk, Yellow 13, 9./JG 54, The Netherlands, 1940
  • Bf 109E-4, W.Nr. 1480, Group Adjutant/JG 3, Wierre-au-Bois, France, 1940
  • Bf 109E-4, W.Nr. 5819, Group Commander/JG 26, Audembert, France, 1940

The decals are nicely printed and include swastikas for customers outside of certain parts of Europe. A set of airframe maintenance stencils are also included.

As usual, Eduard has a beauty here and they did a great job of scaling down this kit design without losing details and features found on its larger cousin.

My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!

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