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  1. Messerschmitt Bf.110C-2/C7 (04961) 1:32 Revell A German Heavy Fighter, Destroyer or in native German Zerstörer, the Bf.110 was conceived before WWII in the mid-30s, but due to successive upgrades it limped on to the end of the war, despite being largely outclassed by wartime developments by the Allies, which sometimes resulted in heavy losses. The initial A and B variants were underpowered and made do with the stop-gap Jumo engines while waiting for the DB601 power plants that had been promised but were late in arriving. It wasn't until the C variant arrived that the new engines came on-stream, leading to an improvement in performance and a revision of the cowling and radiator enclosures to accommodate the differences. Its duties ranged from long-range reconnaissance or bombing to heavy fighter, with the C-2 taking on the role of the Zerstörer, fitted with an upgraded FuG 10 radio, while the C-7 was designated as a fighter bomber with uprated engines and external hard-points for bomb racks carrying up to 1,000kg bombs, which would have had a serious effect on the performance. It was replaced by the D with extended range due to internal tanks and wiring for external disposable tanks such as the boat-like "Daschund's belly" fuselage tank. This in turn was replaced by the cumbersome E, then the more capable F and G versions that were used until the end of the war. The Kit The plastic in the box for this release is a Dragon kit that was released in the noughties, with the sprues showing evidence of this with little dragons in the corner. Don't confuse it with the 70s era Revell kit in the same scale which is a whole different kit and a much more agrarian affair with a low parts count and raised details. Arriving in a fairly enormous box that could have been much smaller to save shelf-space, it has plenty of room to rattle about during transit, although the individual bagging of the sprues and overall double-bagging should reduce the likelihood of chaffing. If you're a detail hound, you've got masses of room for aftermarket in the box, or even another kit if you're a serial 110 builder. Inside the box are fourteen sprues and a nose cone part in grey styrene, two clear sprues, a large decal sheet and a thick instruction booklet with decal options printed in colour at the rear. With the plastic being Dragon you would expect good detail and you won't be disappointed – there's plenty, and a few spare parts will stay on the sprue as they aren't used in this edition. The instruction booklet looks slightly different from the new-style we're becoming used to, but the drawings may have been taken from the original and "Revellised" as much as possible. I may also be talking nonsense. Detail is very nicely done with just the right balance of engraved and raised elements, with slide-moulding used for hollow parts and to render the complex curves of the nose and engine cowlings. Construction begins with a notification/warning that some sprue gates on this model are spread between the edges of the parts and the mating surfaces, and suggests a two-step process for their clean removal. Cut the part off flush with the edge, then trim the remainder from the mating surface. One such gate can be found on the trailing edge of the wings. With this out of the way, work commences on the cockpit and if you're modelling the C-2 you will need to remove a small rectangular panel of switches from the lower portion of the instrument panel and leave off decal number 73 when you apply the other instrument decals from the sheet. The cockpit of the 110 is a long narrow affair, and the pilot's station is first to be detailed with instrument panel, side-consoles and seat with belt decals, although at this scale a lot of folks will want something more substantial, such as the beautiful belt sets made by HGW. The gunner's arm chair gets a similar decal belt set, as does the radio operator's tiny perch in the form of lap belts only – lucky fella! The radio panel is well-detailed and these too have decal dials applied before they are attached to the bulkhead in front of them. The aircraft's defensive armament needs feeding with brass and the cockpit is filled with spare drum mags for the rear gun and the gun pack that is visible through the hole in the floor beneath the radio man's seat, giving him something extra to do during combat. The gun pack is built up on a small platform with the cannon breeches below and the magazines protruding through into the cockpit. The moulding of the MGFF/M cannons and their recoil springs is very nicely done, but much of it won't be seen after the fuselage is closed up. The pack, cross-members and sidewalls are added to the floor to complete the compartment except for the port sidewall, which is fixed into the fuselage interior in anticipation of closing up the fuselage later. Firstly, however the nose gun bay must be built up on its platform, its quad MG17s mounted with ammo feed and brass chutes added and four milk-bottle sized cylinders affixed to the front bulkhead below the barrels. The nose cone is slide-moulded separately and has a pre-etched line around the inside where the nose cowling is removed for maintenance and reloading of the weapons. This can be removed to display your work inside the nose or fitted with a hollow-moulded gun tube for the belly guns and slid over the gun pack assembly if you want a clean nose. The fuselage is closed up around the cockpit assembly (with gunsight added), locating the sidewall pegs in the mounts within the wing roots and adding the aft cowling/coaming around the gunner's area that's suitable for your choice of mark. A small panel under the rudder pedals is inserted before the nose cone it brought together with the fuselage, relying on a lip to strengthen the join, and here careful alignment will pay dividends later. The fuselage is then flipped over and the H-shaped spar is added along with the panels that cover the underside of the fuselage between the wings. A small panel on the side of the fuselage is flatted down, filled and sanded here for accuracy, and then work begins on the wings. The engines are first to be built up with all their ancillaries and engine mounts, which will be familiar to anyone that has built a Bf.109 before, as they share the same engine. This is all carried out twice for obvious reasons, then the internals of the nacelles are made up to accommodate the wheel bays with a sloped bulkhead that accepts the pegs from the engine mounts on the front, and the main gear legs at the rear. The gear legs are made up from a four-part triangular base with the main strut attached to the bottom and the separate oleo-scissors added straddling the rubber-booted dampers and just needing a little brake-hose stand-in to complete the look. Moving back to the engine, you have the option to leave the cowling off in which case you use one set of exhaust stubs, but if you are leaving the cowlings closed, small sections of cowling are added to a different set of stubs. None of the exhausts are moulded with hollow tips, so you have the choice of drilling and scraping them hollow or finding a pair of Quickboost exhausts (QB32051) if you're lazy like me. For the closed cowling option the two parts are applied from top and bottom to each engine and set aside for later inclusion in the wings. If you are building them with one or more engine open, the cowlings have the exhaust slots added and are joined together separately to pose near the aircraft once it's finished. In the meantime the inside of the cowling that's moulded into the wing is prepared with a number of wedge-shaped ribs and small sections of the cowling behind the exhausts, which are left off if you are using the closed cowlings. The nacelles are lowered in from above, guiding the gear leg through the bay aperture, then closing the wing up with the engine and cowling in place. The very tip of the wing is separate and has a small tip light added in clear styrene, and the port wing has a small intake that is open on the C-2, or fitted with a cylindrical filter on the C-7, so here's it's just a case of choosing the appropriate insert. The completed wings are slid over the twin spars to join the fuselage and although the spars will help obtain the correct alignment, checking by eye won't hurt and propping the tips to the appropriate angle while the glue dries is an easy solution if they're drooping a little. There's still plenty to do, including the H-tail and tail wheel, the latter having a two-part wheel with radial tread and two-part hub that fits between (you guessed it) a two-part yoke and is then integrated with the rear section of the fuselage that initially glues to the underside of the full-width tail upper, to be joined by the twin lowers and the two fins with moulded-in rudders. The completed assembly slots into the back of the fuselage with a tiny clear dome light added at the very back. Flare guards are added to the engine cowlings, as are the twin doors on the main bays, which have rather deep rivets etched into their insides. With the airframe inverted the twin belly bomb rack is made up and fitted along with a pair of larger bombs, and another four on outer-wing pylons in pairs on each wing. The radiator baths are also installed outboard of the engine pods with separate flaps to the rear and depictions of the radiator cores within. The main wheels have two-part tyres and four-part hubs that slip over the axles and should look pretty good with a small flat sanded into the contact area to give them a bit of weighting. The canopy of a 110 is a complex greenhouse in any mark, with this one being no different. The parts are crystal clear and are individual sections to enable the modeller to create any combination of open and closed panels, with a separate cockpit sill part that encompasses the whole aperture save for the windscreen. This holds the defensive MG15 mount which has a canvas covered attachment to the gun's breech, twin drum mags on top, and a flexible dump-chute for the spent brass. Grab handles are fitted to the sides to aid ingress/egress and a few additional instruments are installed behind the pilot's divide with a small inverted L-shaped coaming shielding them from glare. This is fitted to the cockpit along with the central fixed anti-roll frame then the canopy is built up as a complete unit before it is dropped over it. Careful test-fitting and gluing is the watch-word here, and it would be sensible instead to assemble it while in position to dodge any issues caused by parts slipping or drooping before the glue sets. There is a choice of two rear parts, which is the gunner's opening portion when the gun's services are needed, but it's not made abundantly clear what the differences are. From a visual inspection part H7 is substantially narrower than part H8, and has a pair of pegs to pose it open which will require part H15 to slide forwards onto the top of the fixed portion of the canopy. This isn't explained at all well, and neither is the mechanism in which the pilot's canopy opens. The top portion hinges back as shown in step 103, but the side panels that hinge outwards at the bottom to lay flat against the fuselage aren't shown in their open position, but now you know. A quick Google will clarify it further if I've not explained well enough. The last act is to add the props and small breakable parts to the airframe, which is best done after main painting and weathering is completed. The props have a two-part central boss with three individual blades that are inserted along with three short cuffs into the boss and then covered with the spinner and its backplate plus a short axle inserted from the rear. Take care inserting the props as they have a small notch to obtain the correct angle but this is fairly shallow and may be prone to slippage once the glue is applied. Flying surface actuators and horn balances are added with pitot probes, aerials, DF loop and crew step to complete the gluey part. Markings There are two decal options included on the decal sheet with three pages devoted to each one, showing both sides plus top and bottom, then a separate page of a grey airframe shows where all the stencils go. From the box you can build one of the following: Bf.110C-7, S9+AN, 5./ZG1, Belgorod, Russia, May 1942 Bf.110C-2, 3U+GT WkNr. 3063, 9./ZG26, France, June 1940 Decals are by Zanetti with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas, but here the registration has drifted slightly on my review sample so that some of the stencils are peeking out from under their carrier film by a fraction. Careful application should see them go down well enough, but forewarned is forearmed. Conclusion Other than the slight slippage of the carrier film on the decal sheet, this is a lovely kit that should build up into a respectable miniature, although it won't be small with a 50cm wingspan. The detailers will want to get those exhausts hollowed out and the seatbelts more realistic, but it will still suffice out of the box for the majority of modellers. Speaking of the box, it's a bit of an environmental faux pas to produce such a voluminous box in this more environmentally conscious era we live in. Very highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  2. TopDrawings 61 – Messerschmitt Bf.110 Vol.2 (9788395157592) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Bf.110 began life before WWII as a Zerstorer, or heavy fighter, but by the time hostilities with Great Britain broke out and the Battle of Britain had begun, it had lost its speed advantage, and later required its own escort to be able to operate effectively alone without heavy losses. The airframe wasn't as capable of being improved as the 109, so it was eventually relegated to other less speed critical combat areas, such as night fighter and light bomber/ground attack, where it soldiered on to the end of the war. We have kits in all scales, for example from Airfix in 1:72, through the Revell, Dragon and newer Eduard kits in 1:48, ancient Revell and Dragon kits in 1:32. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and often a bonus of decals or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a set of masks for the Eduard Bf.110G in 1:72 and 1:48, which are always good to have because that canopy is a multifaceted greenhouse of a thing. We reviewed the first volume of this series in September 2018 here, and this is the continuation of that, taking up where it left off. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Czech on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 28 pages, with the rear cover devoted to additional profiles, but in addition you get two sheets of loose A2 plans printed on both sides in 1:48 of the E, F and G series. The first half of the bound plans show the variants from the Emil up to the G-2 in 1:48, with partial front and rear views losing a wingtip here and there due to their size. The four pages of profiles show Three Emil and one Freddy airframe, plus two Gustavs on the rear cover. Following two more pages of G-2 plans, the final section of the plans shows the evolution of the aircraft from the Dora through the Gustav series, with differences marked out in grey and captions discussing the nature of the changes. This includes gun packs, antennae for the night fighters and so forth. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that likes to compare their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the masks a useful bonus if you happen to model in those scales. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. TopDrawings 57 – Messerschmitt Bf.110 Vol.1 (9788365437990) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Messerschmitt Bf.110 was a pre-war design for a heavy fighter, but stayed on as one of the most common sights over BoB era WWII Britain and beyond, soldiering on to the end of the war, especially on the Eastern front despite its shortcomings. We have kits in all scales for example from Airfix in 1:72, older Revell and newer Eduard kits in 1:48, and the older Dragon kit in 1:32. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and often a bonus of decals or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a set of pre-cut vinyl canopy masks for the Eduard kit in 1:72 and 1:48 scales. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Czech on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 28 pages, but in addition you get a sheet of loose A2 plans printed on both sides in 1:48 of the B C and D series as well as lots of wings and fuselage cross-sections and a couple of scrap drawings showing additional details. The first half of the bound plans show the variants up to the mid C range, The four pages of profiles show three notable C-1, C-2 and C-4 airframes, plus an additional D-0 and D-1 on the back cover. The plans continue with D-1, D-2 and D-3 variants with scrap diagrams for other equipment fits, with the final three pages showing the evolution of the aircraft through D-3, with differences marked out in grey and captions discussing the nature of the changes. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that likes to compare their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, also for those with a terrible memory for variations between types, with the masks a useful bonus if you happen to model in those scales. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Bf.110F Update Set & Masks (for Eduard) 1:48 Eduard We've just reviewed the new Profipak boxing of this kit here, And as seems to be the case of late, Eduard have also prepared an additional upgrade set, and the masks in a separate package to cater for an upcoming Weekend edition, no doubt. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. Upgrade Set (49833) This set contains a small pre-painted and nickel-plated fret in the front of the package, giving the (mistaken) impression that there isn't much to it. Flip the pack over and you will see a large bare brass set for the airframe however, which will add lots of additional detail to your finished kit. Starting in the cockpit, additional details are added to the gunner's station, including perforated cooling jackets for the guns; more detailed trigger and guard; ammunition belt, as well as lots of extra interior details to the canopy, some of which is pre-painted. In the gun bay all the ammo feeds have detail added to the tops, wiring between the guns, and for two bottles in the bulkhead area. The engine nacelles are modified with replacement cooling gills, and a central strut in the oil-cooler intakes, plus a substantial reskin of the gear bays, which includes an additional lightened horseshoe shaped frame in the rear, and radiator meshes in the oil cooler baths. Additional ribs are added to the length of the bay sides, and a strip of hinges are laid along the lip and folded into shape. The engine's cooling is also treated to a wafer thin cooling flap with actuator, the bay door actuators are added to the front of the gear bay, and the struts are detailed, one of which is a pre-painted data plate for the damper to which it is applied. The main legs are fitted with brake hoses to complete the area. Other areas that are treated are the bomb tails, which receive new in-scale fins; mesh inserts for the nightfighter exhaust dampers; additional parts for the gear bay door linkage; more detailed actuators for the tail feathers; a new DF loop and aerial base, and a couple of small inspection panels on the top of the nacelles. Masks (EX555) Supplied on a sheet of yellow kabuki tape, these pre-cut masks supply you with a full set of masks for the canopy, with compound curved handled by using frame hugging masks, while the highly curved gaps are in-filled with either liquid mask or offcuts from the background tape. In addition you get a set of hub/tyre masks for the wheels, allowing you to cut the demarcation perfectly with little effort. If you have the Profipak edition, you won't need these unless you have stuffed up the sheet included in the box, which is functionally identical. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Messerschmitt Bf.110F Profipak 1:48 Eduard A German Heavy Fighter, Destroyer or in native German Zerstörer, the Bf.110 was conceived before WWII in the mid-30s, but due to successive upgrades it limped on to the end of the war, despite being largely outclassed by wartime developments by the Allies, which sometimes resulted in horrific losses. By the time the F variant came into being, much had changed and the airframe was reaching its limits. It benefitted from a number of airframe improvements passed down from previous variants, plus a more powerful pair of DB601F engines and armour that improved the types survivability somewhat. Its duties ranged from long-range reconnaissance or bombing to heavy fighter and finally a task that the F and G variants excelled at, the Nightfighter role. After the slow and cumbersome E variant it was hailed as possibly the best 110 produced, because of its performance and handling characteristics by comparison to the older model. Over 500 were built before the G variant superseded it with more power and improved aerodynamics. A further H model was planned at the end of the war, but this was never built and most of the records of its specification were lost in the confusion as defeat of the Reich loomed. The Kit Eduard's initial Bf.110C was released a staggering 10 years ago now, but still holds up well to inspection, although many have expressed some reservations regarding fit of the engine nacelles, but from memory simple care and attention to fit will help immensely during construction. Successive boxings have seen D, E and G variants, but until now there has only been one boxing of the F, which was a Nightfighter in Weekend boxing. This Profipak has new parts, and includes the niceties that we have come to expect from the more up-market Profipak boxings. The boxart shows the famous Wespe scheme that is included in the decals, and inside the heavily laden box are a surprising ten sprues in a blue-grey styrene, two of clear, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE), a sheet of pre-cut masks, a large decal sheet and (would you believe?) a resin Dachshund, or sausage dog as they're sometimes called. That's not a case of someone at Eduard losing the plot, but a little extra connected to one of the decal options as you'll see later. There are probably a lot of you with the basics of this kit in their stashes in other boxings, but to those that haven't yet experienced the Eduard Bf.110, it was quite a treat when it arrived, consigning the old and inaccurate Revell kit to the back of the stash in one fell swoop. Construction starts with the cockpit, which is long and highly visible under the greenhouse, so it by necessity well-detailed. A mixture of pre-painted and bare brass PE is mated with finely moulded styrene parts to create the detailed instrument panel (with plastic & decal option also included), side consoles, PE rudder pedals, seatbelts for all and throttle quadrant levers. The radio gear is also given PE fronts, and the belly-mounted gun pack with its big magazines fits in front of the wireless bulkhead, with the barrels under the pilot's compartment. The sidewalls are detailed with small parts and along with the rear bulkhead they form a "tub" that slips between the fuselage, with only the pilot's section of the inner fuselage requiring paint. Inserts in the floor and across the top of the cockpit aperture are fitted as the fuselage halves are mated, then the optional single or Zwilling machine gun mount for the rear are added to the rear, while the nose cone with its gun pack are fitted to the front. If you decide to mount the nose guns with the bay open, you can do so, as all the gun breaches and interior detail is supplied, as well as some neat internal struts for the bay cover. Moving to the wings, these are provided as top and bottom halves, and oddly enough, there's one on each side! First you will need to decide whether to open up the flashed-over holes in the underwing, then the nacelles are built up from two halves with a separate oil-cooler bath and two small bulkheads to form the gear bay. They are attached to the lower wing, and have two sidewall parts added to complete the formation of the bay. The radiator is a separate assembly outboard of the nacelle, with PE mesh grilles front and back. The wings are added to the fuselage using the usual slot and tab system, with separate ailerons but captive rudders and elevators on the H-tail. With the airframe ostensibly complete, the landing gear parts are assembled, starting with the two main struts, which fit in the roof of the bays, with retraction jacks and a two-part wheel with radial tread fitted to the bottom axel stub. Two bay doors are fixed to the lip of the bay, one on each side, with a single piece tail wheel and two-part fixed yoke at the rear. Antennae, intake grilles, landing lights and mass-balances are added around the airframe, followed by a choice of exhaust stubs for night fighter and day use, depending on your chosen decal option. The large greenhouse canopy varies in fitment depending on your decal choice too, with a wide variety of choices, even down to the instruments that are fitted within the main part. Check carefully before you commit yourself, as there really are quite a few parts to go at. Prop choice isn't an issue, with only one used for all markings options, made up of a spinner back and front with the one-piece prop sandwiched between. The choice of weapons is for the day fighters/bombers and consists of a pair of small bombs and their racks under each wing and/or a bomb "sled" under the fuselage. For the night fighter variants a set of PE whiskers are included for the antennae, which fit to the framework on the nose. Markings There are five decal options available on the decal sheets, with stencils and national markings on the same sheet. Bf 110F-2 flown by Oblt. G. Tonne, CO of II./ZG 1, Belgorod, Soviet Union, June 1942 Bf 110F-2 flown by Ofw. T. Weissenberger, 6.(Z)/JG 5, Kirkenes, Norway, June 1942 - this is the chap with the thing about Dachshunds! Bf 110F-2 W. Nr. 5080, flown by W. Frost, 13.(Z)/JG 5, Kemijärvi, Finland, Winter 1942/ 1943 Bf 110F-4 flown by Ofw. R. Kollak, 7./NJG 4, Juvincourt, France, June 1943 Bf 110F-4 flown by Oblt. M. Bauer, CO of 11./NJG 6, Zilistea, Romania, June 1944 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. A separate page to the rear of the instructions gives locations for the stencils on an all-grey drawing to remove all the clutter from the process, which is a technique that all companies should employ. Conclusion This is a pretty comprehensive boxing of the pilots' favourite 110, with ample choice of markings and periods during which is was prevalent for most palettes. There's even a scheme for the mottle-phobic such as Julien, who we'll call Mr.X to protect his identity. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Bf.110 Nachtjager (Weekend Edition) 1:48 Eduard The Bf.110 was the winner of the contest to provide a heavy fighter, or Zerstorer to the German War Machine, and first flew in 1936. Although it served throughout the war, often alongside its intended replacements, it suffered from heavy losses once the initial phase of the war was over, due to its lack of manoeuvrability compared to the newer single-engined types. It was therefore re-tasked to jobs where this was less of an issue (where possible), and this F-model Nachtjager (Night-Fighter) was just such a task. It was the first dedicated night-fighter model, and was re-designed with a three-man crew to include a radar operator in the central seat. Night-friendly exhaust dampers were installed, as were FuG 220 radar "antlers" on the nose as well as the improved DB605F engines and armour fitted to all F-models. The armament of the 110 was heavy which made it ideal for Night-Fighter duties, consisting of four MG17s in the upper nose, and a further two MG151/20 20mm cannons under the nose. An MG15 or MG81 was mounted in the aft of the cockpit on a e flexible mount for the gunner, able to fire to the sides and rear defensively or offensively as the need arose. As well as being operated by the Luftwaffe, they were also operated in small numbers by Hungary, Romania and Croatia, with a few being operated by Russia after capture. The Kit Eduard's Weekend Editions are aimed at the more budget conscious or novice modeller and have none of the resin or Photo-Etch (PE) parts that are included in their Profipack editions. They also usually have only one choice of decals, and the painting guide is in black and white, rather than the lavish colour in the more expensive boxes. The plastic is exactly that of the Profipack editions though, so what you get is of the highest quality. When initially released the newly tooled 110 was welcomed with open arms, and this feeling still lingers, although some early builders had issues with the fit of the nose and engine nacelles. This aspect has been addressed in numerous build articles online and in print though, and it is simply a matter of careful dry-fitting and fettling before proceeding to gluing the parts together. Inside the simple white, yellow and blue box are nine sprues of olive styrene bagged in pairs in Eduard's typical re-sealable bags. There are two sprues of clear parts in their own ziplok bags, and after mentioning the lack of PE, there is a small PE fret for the radar antennae, which was quite a surprise, but must make practical sense when building the antlers. A medium sized decal sheet is also included and of course the black and white instruction booklet mentioned above. If you have read one of our Eduard 110 reviews the following build process will be broadly familiar, but if not read on. The first steps detail the building of the cockpit, with the gunner and radar operator's seats back-to-back in the middle. The detail is excellent, and a PE mesh seat is supplied for the gunner, while the radar man's is supplied in plastic with a wicker-effect moulded in. The radar operator's position can't have been a comfortable one, as he's sat with the forward firing 20mm cannon ammunition cans under his feet, with his instruments sandwiched together on a panel against the back of the pilot's seat. This is nicely rendered with individual boxes that slot into the bulkhead that also includes some lightening holes for good measure. The rest of the cockpit consists of some nicely done instrument panels for the pilot, which have corresponding decals on the sheet, plus lots of additional ammo cans for the cannons and flexible mounted MG on the rear. A pair of sidewall inserts complete the "bathtub", which is then locked in place between the two fuselage halves, with a cross-brace and extra instruments added behind the pilot's seat. The nose is then built up from a central tray onto which the four MGs and their mounting rests are placed, and ammo feeds from the unseen underside are added. A small bulkhead below the front of the tray containing various pressurised bottles, is added to the tray, and the whole lot is dropped into the lower part of the nose. The upper half is built up from the cowling itself, a long box-section that runs from front to back, and two ribs that run transversely. This is of course all hidden if you elect to close up the nose, which would be sensible if you want to show off the FuG antennae to their best. The wings are supplied in halves and to these are added the engine nacelles, which are also supplied in halves, split top to bottom. Two bulkheads decorate the gear leg bays, while a basic oil-cooler unit installs inside the lower nacelle before they are installed on the wing by sliding them on from the front. Once in place the bay sidewalls are added, with some deep ribbing detail moulded in, although this means that the final painting of the gear bay is a little complicated unless you do a dry fit first to see where everything goes. Moving outboard, the wide-flat radiator housings fit into their recesses, with styrene radiator faces added before doing so. This is of course mirrored on the opposing wing, and both wings are attached to the fuselage by long thick tabs that slide into corresponding slots in the fuselage. The H-tail is supplied in single-thickness halves, with the elevators moulded in, as are the rudders at each end. The ailerons are both moulded separately however, so can be pitched at a jaunty angle to give a more candid appearance, but don't forget aileron differential and to offset the stick to the correct side, or the purists will have you! Happily the landing gear can be fixed in the nacelles later, as can the tail-wheel (of which there are two choices). They are simple, and fix to the raised V-shaped part that you install before you close up the nacelles. A separate oleo-scissor and retraction jack are installed to keep everything in place, with plenty of scrap diagrams to ensure that you get all the parts in the correct places. The wheels have a radial tread, and are supplied in halves with their hubs moulded in. Detail is good, so as long as you can hide the circumferential seam line well, they should look the part. The bay doors have nice rivet and rib detail moulded in, and have three hinge-points each, which should help when gluing them in place, and the interlinking struts should make sure you put them at the right angle. The fiddly bits are left until the end, which is a sure sign that the instructions have been designed by a modeller. Aerials, horn-balances on the ailerons, the complex exhaust flame dampers and the pitot probe are all installed in the last stages, along with the props and the cockpit glazing. I'm more a fan of installing the glazing before painting, so it looks more integrated with the fuselage, but that's just my preference, but either way you're in for a fair bit of masking. The canopy is necessarily complex to admit the three crew and permit the gunner to operate once airborne. The rear section folds up and the top panel slides back (forward as the aircraft flies) over the outside of the canopy, and this is replicated on the rear of the canopy. Some careful gluing (I'd suggest GS-Hypo Cement) will be needed to retain the clarity of the parts, and even more careful masking of the parts. The mid-section of the canopy is split into a top section that folds up and back, while the two side panels fold down, and the front windscreen has an additional armoured panel to protect the pilot in frontal attacks, which would probably be best applied using Klear to reduce the chances of bubbles between the panels and remove fogging from the equation. The final fiddly bit are the four antennae that sit in front of the nose cone. A central styrene part attaches to the nose via a small peg, and the two C-shaped bars project forwards. Each "prong" needs the last few millimetres removing (shown in a scrap diagram), and the fine PE H-aerials are bent into shape and then glued flat to the end of the prongs. Those last few millimetres are then added back in front of the PE part to depict the continuation of the pole. Do this four times and the build is complete – you'll need your steadiest hands, so no drinking the night before! The decals depict a single aircraft in the service of the Romanian Air Force, which is painted light grey with a darker grey mottle (RLM 76/75), a yellow fuselage stripe, spinner tops and wingtips (which are hard to see in black & white drawings). A separate page is printed containing all of the stencil markings to save cluttering up the main decal placement page, which is a good feature of most Eduard kits these days, and one to be lauded. The decals are printed in the Czech Republic, and are up to Eduard's usual standards. Colour density is good, registration is spot on and the carrier film is thin. My example had a slightly streaky yellow in the Romanian crosses, but if placed so that it is vertical anyone that spots it will probably think it is part of the weathering. The Nazi Swastika is supplied both as halves and complete for the tail if you want to go for complete realism and your local laws permit. The aircraft in question is as follows: Bf.110F-4 W.Nr. 5084 flown by Lt Ion Simion/Constantin Octavian, Escadrila 51 Vanatoare (12.NJG 6), Otopeni Airfield, June 1944. Conclusion Eduard's Bf.110 raised the bar in 1:48 when it reached the market a couple of years ago, and the plastic is still just as fresh as it was then. The modular design of the sprues will leave you with a lot of spare parts, including a pair of fuselage halves, and always check you have the right ones because there are a number of very similar looking parts on the various sprues that could lead you up a blind alley if you aren't diligent. I have a thing for German night-fighters, so this kit is right up my alley, and the choice of a less usual Romanian bird is a good one, and gives the aircraft a little individualism. Eduard have clearly taken steps to assist with the previously mentioned issues that early builders encountered, and this should make it easier to build for even the relative novice, although the PE FuG 220 aerials will need to be approached with care, and super-glue will be needed to attach the parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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