Eduard 1/48 Bf 110C/D/E Royal Class Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Two very nicely detailed Bf 110 kits, lots of photo-etch and decal options, one 1/4 scale instrument panel kit, plus a Knight's Cross replica
The twin-engined Messerschmitt design was a result of a mid-1930s 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 legendary.
In early war operations, the Bf 110 held its own in combat operations, but by the Battle of Britain, it was clear that the heavy fighter was no match for more agile single-engined fighters flown by the RAF. On the plus side however, the Bf 110 had the advantage of range and twin-engine reliability, so when employed in hit-and-run attacks and bomber escort duties, the Bf 110 was more effective than the Bf 109E. Eventually, the aircraft would move into night intruder and nightfighter operations, where its range and payload capabilities would prove effective for the remainder of the war.
When Eduard released their Mirage III Royal Class kit, I had to get one just to see what made that kit better than the other releases in the Eduard series. You can see for yourself here. We also took a look at their outstanding Fw 190A-8/R2 Royal Class kit ( here) and discovered the way Eduard tied this kit into a particular piece of combat history. That was really impressive!
So with this Royal Class release, how could Eduard top its previous achievements? Let's take a look:
First, this Royal Class kit is actually three kits in one box. There are parts to produce two complete Bf 110s of your choice, and something totally new - a 1/4 scale instrument panel. This little gem is worth the price of the kit alone, and you still get two 1/48 Bf 110s to build!
When you open the this hefty box, you're going to see lots of parts in there. There are seven parts trees molded in RLM Gray styrene that make up each Bf 110 kit - that means there are 14 parts trees in this box. Actually, there are 16 parts trees as there are two additional trees, also molded in RLM Gray that represent the long-tailed version of this fuselage, and deeper engine nacelles used on the desert fighter (Trop) versions. There are two sets of resin air filters to accompany these new nacelles included in this box. Four sets of clear parts are provided in styrene, two for each of the kits.
We're not quite done yet, there are five frets of photo-etched parts provided for each kit, two of which are printed in color to provide instrument, placard, and other essential visual details to your cockpits. Multiply these by two and you have ten frets of photo-etch included in this box to complete these models. Let's also not forget the nice yellow paint masks that are also included, two complete sets.
The instructions walk you through the detail differences between the Bf 110C, Bf 110D, and Bf 110E during assembly so you can use the proper parts for the version you're modeling. The forward and rear cockpits are masterpieces in these kits as I've observed in previous Eduard Bf 110 reviews. In fact, it looks like the radio gear in the rear cockpit has been updated since its original release.
When you've completed the cockpits in the first seven pages, you've been dealing strictly with differences between the BF 110C/D/E. From Page 8 onward, you're going to be dealing with the configurations of individual subjects presented in this kit, labeled as subjects A-M. This guidance will help you properly configure details like the rear gun mount, the forward guns, and more importantly, which fuselage halves and engine nacelles to select and assemble.
Once you get outside the airframe, assembly moves along a little quicker, but you will still note the version differences that will also select which holes in the airframe to open up, which engine exhaust stacks to use, and even which external load configurations to use. This kit provides parts for:
- Centerline bomb racks w/bombs
- Wing bomb racks w/bombs
- Three different types of drop tanks
- Optional ventral conformal fuel tank
- Radar antennas
- Sand filters
This kit has markings for 12 different subjects:
- Bf 110C, 6./ZG 2, A2+AL, Gyancourt, France, 1940, as flown by Hptm Eberhard Heinlein, color profile/paint guide here
- Bf 110C, 1.(Z)/JG 77, 2N+IR, Kirenes, Norway, 1941, as flown by Theodor Weissenberger, color profile/paint guide here
- Bf 110C-7/Trop, W.Nr. 3100, 6./ZG 1, S9+LP, Russia, 1942, color profile/paint guide here
- Bf 110D, W.Nr. 3406, 9./ZG 26, 3U+LT, Sicily, 1941, color profile/paint guide here
- Bf 110D-0, W.Nr. 3170, 1(Z)./JG 77, LN+HR, Norway, 1941, as flown by Lt Feliz Brandis and Uffz Guntram Weigl, color profile/paint guide here
- Bf 110E, 7./ZG 26, 3U+CR, Mediterranean, 1941/42, color profile/paint guide here
- Bf 110E, 1./Erg Zerst Gr., 4M+KB, Deblin-Irena, Poland, 1942, color profile/paint guide here
- Bf 110E, Stab II./NJG 1, G9+EC, Deelen, Holland, 1942, color profile/paint guide here
- Bf 110E, 5./NJG 1, G9+JN, Deelen, Holland, 1941, color profile/paint guide here
- Bf 110E, W.Nr. 3866, 6./ZG 76, M8+IP, Argos, 1941, as flown by Hans-Joachim Jabs, color profile/paint guide here
- Bf 110E-2/Trop, 1./ZG 1,S9+EH, Russia, 1942, color profile/paint guide here
- Bf 110E-2/Trop, 7./ZG 26, 3U+OR, Libya, 1942, color profile/paint guide here
If you followed the links above to the corresponding color profile and paint guides, you can see this kit offers an interesting range of color schemes from a variety of theaters. We've provided a listing of the equivalent colors from many of your favorite brands in case you do not use Gunze Sangyo colors as listed in the instructions.
As with the Fw 190A-8/R2 Royal Class kit, this release includes a replica Knight's Cross, which will look good mounted to the display base of your assembled Bf 110.
The Third Kit
This is a first that I can recall seeing in a production kit, a separate display model of the aircraft's instrument panel. Scaled at 1/4, this is a good-sized replica that will go together rather easily, but still offers the AMS modeler with the ability to make the panel look 'lived in'.
The base of this model is a silhouette of the panel with recesses molded in for the instrument faces. This panel is molded in black styrene, and is accompanied by a singe parts tree, also molded in black, containing the instrument bezels, knobs, and mounting 'screws'. Two additional trees, molded in clear styrene, provide the instrument glass covers.
One fret of color photo-etched details provide the center face of the directional gyro and the indicator needles for all of the appropriate instruments.
One sheet of vinyl stickers make up the remainder of the instrument faces. The special instructions show you where everything goes. This kit has some very impressive features which, after assembly, will make for a very eye-catching display. If you're so inclined, the landing gear levers and some of the cranks can be left as movable.
So when you open up this box, you're going to find 23 styrene parts trees, one instrument panel face, eleven frets of photo-etched details, one set of vinyl instrument faces, two sets of yellow masks, two sheets of decals, three instruction booklets, and one Knight's Cross. There's a reason why this kit is hefty in size, there's a lot of stuff in that box!
While you can purchase each of the individual kits at an MSRP of $50 USD, they only include one fret of photo-etched details. This kit gives you two complete Bf 110s plus eight extra photo-etched detail sets four for each kit, plus the masks, and one complete instrument panel kit. If you could purchase all of this separately (and perhaps Eduard will offer the instrument panel kit separately in the future), you'd easily exceed $250 USD. Bear in mind that the street price of this kit is likely to be lower than its listed $185 USD, and you cannot afford to miss this bargain kit!
This Royal Class kit is definitely recommended!
My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!