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Bf 110E-2 Tropical

DML 1/48 Bf 110E-2 Tropical Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2014 Manufacturer DML
Subject Bf 110E-2 Tropical Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5560 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Scaled-down from outstanding DML 1/32 kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $61.95

First Look

Bf 110E-2 Tropical
Bf 110E-2 Tropical
Bf 110E-2 Tropical
Bf 110E-2 Tropical
Bf 110E-2 Tropical

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.

When Eduard released their 1/48 Bf 110 kits several years ago, they created arguably the best kits of the subject since Revell's 1/48 Bf 110G. While Eduard was releasing the Bf 110 in 1/48 scale, DML was releasing their own Bf 110 in 1/32 scale and these kits were also quite nice. Here we are several years later and DML has now scaled down their Bf 110 to 1/48 scale with this Bf 110E-2/Trop. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 16 parts trees, plus two trees of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched details. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Detailed front and rear cockpits
  • Detailed ventral gun bay
  • Detailed rear gun mount
  • Positionable canopy segments
  • Main spar frame to provide a strong wing/fuselage joint
  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable leading edge slats
  • Positionable rudders
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Postionable elevators
  • Detailed DB 601 engines
  • Cowling panels can be left off to display engine(s)
  • Optional bomb load and external fuel tanks

Markings are provided for three examples:

  • Bf 110E-2/Trop, 3U+OR, 8./ZG 26, North Africa, 1942
  • Bf 110E-2/Trop, 3U+AR, 7./ZG 26, Italy, 1941
  • Bf 109E-2/Trop, 3U+FR, 7./ZG 26, Libya, 1942

The decal sheet includes a nice set of airframe stencils and evidently additional aircraft subject though these are not reflected in the instructions. Two-piece swastikas are also provided.

Overall, this is a nicely done kit and it will be interesting to see how this kit builds in contrast to Eduard's 1/48 scale offerings. From what I can see here, this kit at least rivals the Eduard kit(s) and even offer more detail options than the original 1/32 scale kits.

My sincere thanks to DML for this review sample!