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Bf 109E Kit

Hasegawa 1/32 Bf 109E 'Night Fighter' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2007 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Messerschmitt Bf 109E 'Night Fighter' Scale 1/32
Kit Number 08145 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, nice details Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $54.95

First Look

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

Dr. Willy Messerschmitt was a true aeronautical pioneer whose designs and 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.

Hasegawa has reissued one of their more popular kits, the 1/32 scale Bf 109E. This model has been around for a while and features finely molded raised panel lines and rivets. This is one version of the 109 that Hasegawa has not retooled like their exquisite Bf 109G/K series. Nevertheless, this is a simple model that can be detailed and scribed by an AMS modeler with little difficulty.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees plus a single tree of clear parts. Two different canopy arrangements are provided to allow the modeler to build an E-1 or E-3, or the later E-4 through E-7.

Like many of the kits from this generation, the cowling is removable to reveal the DB601 under the hood (bonnet).

Kit options include:

  • Seated pilot figure
  • External drop tank
  • Bomb
  • Removable cowling to reveal the engine
  • MG17s mounted over the engine
  • Early or late canopy
  • Canopy can be positioned open or closed

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • Bf 109E-4, III./NJG 1, G9+JV, Oct 1941
  • Bf 109E-3, I.(J)/LG 2, Apr 1941 as flown by Hauptman Herbert Inlefeld

This kit is still nice despite its age, and while it would be welcome for Hasegawa to retool this subject into more contemporary standards, the average modeler will appreciate the ease of construction of this kit. The AMS modeler will have a field day given the variety of aftermarket goodies that have been produced for this kit over the years.

My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!