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Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4

Eduard, 1/32 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Eduard Kit No. 3003 - Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4
Scale: 1/32
Contents and Media: 169 parts in olive coloured plastic; eight parts in clear; two photo-etched frets (one in colour); canopy masks; markings for five aircraft plus full stencil data.
Price: USD$74.95 available online from Eduard
and hobby retailers worldwide
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Very high level of detail including optional engine; restrained and impressive surface features; separate control surfaces including flaps and leading edge slats; colour photo-etched parts; excellent quality decals with colourful options
Disadvantages: A few sink marks; main wheels appear to be too narrow and hub detail is shallow; canopy top panel is too narrow by about 1 - 1.5mm.
Conclusion: A high quality, well detailed 1/32 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 E that is quite straightforward to build and looks great when finished.


Reviewed by Brett Green


Eduard's 1/32 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 will be available online from Squadron.com
 

Introduction

 

Background

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 A, B, C and D were powered by the Junkers Jumo engine. The Spanish Civil War presented the opportunity to test these revolutionary fighters in action, and they proved their worth in combat with Legion Condor over the skies of Spain.

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 E series was the first of the family to be fitted with the Daimler Benz DB601A engine, resulting in a significant improvement in performance.

Two variants were manufactured in parallel - the lightweight Bf 109 E-1 which retained the wing-mounted 7.9mm machine guns of the earlier Bf 109 B, C and D; and the Bf 109 E-3 which was fitted with one 20mm MG FF cannon in each wing. Both variants featured two additional 7.92mm machine guns in the cowl.

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 shared the armament of the E-3 but introduced a number of improvements, including a revised canopy.

 

 

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 fought alongside the Bf 109 E-1 and E-3 in the invasion of France and the Low Countries and the Battle of Britain in addition to later campaigns in the Balkans, North Africa and the Soviet Union.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Eduard released their all-new 1/32 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1 in February 2009. This excellent kit was well detailed and generally very accurate, including an engine that could be displayed, nicely detailed cockpit and gorgeously subtle surface features. A detailed review of this kit, including images of all the parts, may be found by following this link.

I also built the Bf 109 E-1 kit back in March. You can find a Construction Feature on this model by following this link.

Many of the parts in Eduard's newest Bf 109, the E-4, are common with the earlier release.

Let's take a look at the differences.


 

What's New

Eduard's new 1/32 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 comprises 169 parts in olive coloured plastic, eight parts in clear, two photo-etched frets (one in colour), canopy masks, markings for five aircraft plus full stencil data.

The biggest difference is the all-new wing featuring the 20mm MG FF cannon. The openings in the wing leading edges have been correctly relocated, and bulges to accommodate the breeches have been added to the bottom of the wing.

 

 

There are no inserts or cutouts required for the new wing parts.

 

 

The ETC rack and 300 litre drop tank are supplied, but they are not called out for use with these marking options. Similarly, the plastic basis of a tropical air filter is on the sprues, but it looks like a future release will include a photo-etched surround to complete this version.

The other major visible difference is the canopy. Eduard has supplied two styles of windscreen (one standard, and one with a hole for Adolf Galland's unique ZFR-4 telescopic gun sight), and two styles of opening section. One of these is the lightweight version, and the other has the heavier frames. These parts are thinly moulded and crystal clear.

Optional canopy armour is also included.

 

 

The canopy centre section apepars to be slightly too tall, and the top panels too narrow. When compared to the old 1/32 scale Hasegawa Bf 109 E-3/4 canopy, the Eduard parts are about 1.5 mm taller, and a tad over 1 mm narrower in width at the top. The width at the base of the canopy is only around 0.5mm different.

Eduard's level of detail (crisp frames and raised rivets) is clearly superior to Hasegawa's parts.

 

 

I think the source of the problem might be the fixed rear section. On the rear aircraft, this flares out slightly at the sides toward the top, which would result in a bit more headroom for the pilot at the top of the canopy. The Eduard part appears to maintain the contour of the fuselage sides.

This is hardly a fatal flaw, but it is a surprising glitch.

Fortunately, if you think this issue needs addressing, the canopy centre section may be replaced by a Hasegawa part (the kit provides two full sets of canopies - one E-3 and one E-4). Radu Brinzan's amazing RB Productions photo-etch and acetate canopy could also be adapted here, as could the Squadron / Falcon vac form part.

I have included a reference photo the top panels from a real Bf 109 E-4 canopy below, but the angle is less than completely helpful!

 

 

Two new photo-etched frets are supplied specifically for this variant. Colour photo-etched parts include the instrument panel sandwich, fuse panel and harness straps.

 

 

Five marking options are included for this release:

  • '<-' W.Nr. 5344, Maj. Helmut Wick, Geschwaderkommodore JG 2, Beaumont, France - November 1940

  • 'Yellow 10', W.Nr. 5587, Ofw. Fritz Beeck, 6./JG 51, Wissant, France – 24 August 1940

  • 'Yellow 13', Lt. Josef Eberle, 9./JG 54, The Netherlands – August 1940

  • '<' W.Nr. 1480, Oblt. Franz von Werra, Gruppenadjutant II./JG 3, Wierre-au-Bois, France - 5 Sept. 1940

  • '<-+-', W.Nr. 5819, Obstlt. Adolf Galland, Geschwaderkommodore JG 26, Audembert, France – Dec.1940

 

 

Two decal sheets are included. One contains the main aircraft markings and the second supplies a full set of stencils. In fact, a number of alternatives are included on the stencil sheet.

 

 

Decals have been printed by Cartograf. Register is perfect, colours are rich and opaque, and visible carrier film is non-existent. They don't come much better than these. I particularly like the interpretation of RLM 04 Yellow on this sheet .


 

The kit in detail

With the specifics of the new kit covered, let's take a look at the kit in general.

Plastic parts are very well moulded, with only a few shallow sink marks that will be visible on the finished model (most notably the front of the top wing halves near the wing roots).

Surface detail is state-of-the-art. Finely recessed panel lines are supplemented with even finer rows of rivets. These are barely visible at some angles, and are consistent over the whole airframe. Very nice indeed. Control surfaces feature raised "fabric strips" and stitching. Lighting for photography seems to exaggerate the effect, but they look great on the sprues. Even so, if the fabric sag is too much for your personal taste, it will be a simple matter to fill the recesses with Mr Surfacer, or lightly sand the raised ribs.

Detail is excellent. The plastic cockpit parts are combined with colour and nickel-plated photo-etch to deliver an authentic front office.

A full engine is supplied, but this is an optional element. Eduard has taken notice of customer comments about the complexity of some of its earlier kits including the 1/48 scale Fw 190 and Bf 110 families. In the case of this 1/32 scale Bf 109 E-4, the DB601A engine may be installed and displayed, or the cowl may be glued closed without the engine. Alternate parts are supplied to mount the propeller, the exhaust stubs and the cowl guns if the second option is chosen.

The engine looks good. Individual exhaust stubs are provided. These are hollow at the end and have raised weld seams down the middle - don't sand these off!

The cowl itself is supplied in four pieces - the main upper cowl, two rear side cowl panels and the gun deck.

All control surfaces are separate - the flaps, leading edge slats, ailerons, elevators and rudder. The rudder actuator is provided in photo-etched metal. Flaps are moulded with tabs that will pose them dropped without modification, but it will be very easy to slice off the tabs and reposition if desired.

The oil cooler and wing radiator front and rear faces are all supplied as photo-etched grilles.

The main wheel wells are nice done. The ceiling of the well features a ring of raised rivets and reinforcement strips. The sides of the main wells are boxed in with separate parts.

The wheels appear too narrow, and the cast rib detail inside the hubs is too shallow. These should ideally be replaced with aftermarket items. True Details or Aires new wheels will work well.

The self-adhesive canopy masks are a time-saving touch.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Eduard has filled another important gap in the Luftwaffe modeller's repertoire with their 1/32 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4. At long last, we finally have a worthwhile large scale Emil family.

Eduard's 1/32 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 is very well detailed straight from the box, and the modeller has the choice of tackling the engine or simply buttoning up the cowl. Construction should be as straightforward as the earlier Bf 109 E-1.

Roll on with the Emil family!

Thanks to Eduard for the sample


Review Text & Images Copyright 2009 by Brett Green
Page Created 1 May, 2009
Last updated 1 May, 2009

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