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Royal Class Bf 109E


Mike
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Royal Class Bf 109E



1:48 Eduard (R0007)

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I recently reviewed the new Eduard 109E here, and if you'll excuse the pun, I was royally impressed. I've now been building it for a couple of weeks sporadically, and it is probably one of the best kits I've built in a long time.

This is the Royal Class edition, and if you're not familiar with the nomenclature, it is the top-of-the-line, luxury edition of the kit. The kit comes in a large black box with a line drawing in gold of a 109 heading toward us, and minimal text on the top. The sides are printed in colour, and have a pictorial contents list and profiles of all of the 12 decal choices, with a reproduction of the 109 on each end. Inside is a treat for everyone that loves 109s, and likes classy presentation.

In the top corner of the box is a black box with "mug 300ml" written upon it. Inside, there's a mug unsurprisingly. It is a rather nice brushed stainless steel hollow insulated mug, and has the cover artwork and Eduard's logo etched into the surface on the right-handed drinker's side, and an aircraft data plate on the other, with the type, Eduard's Werk-Nr, in the correct styles. I've not yet had a drink from it, but it'll look rather stylish sat on your workbench.

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The rest of the oversize box is taken up with sprues sufficient to build two 109Es, plus a 1:4 scale replica of the main instrument panel of a 109E, which is a kit in itself. The full content listing is a little on the long side, so I'll list it for a change.

300ml stainless steel mug



9 olive green styrene sprues

4 canopy & clear parts sprues

2 grey & black sprues to make up the instrument panel

1 clear sprue for the instrument dial glass

2 sets of resin wheels

1 double sheet of canopy masks

4 sheets of unpainted Photo-Etch (PE)

1 sheet of pre-painted PE

3 sheets of decals of varying sizes

Instruction booklets are also included for the kit(s) and a separate smaller one for the instrument panel too - both in colour. That's one heckuva content listing, and worthy of any 109 fan!

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Two of the above sprues are included.

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One of the above sprues are included.

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Two of the above sprues are included.

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Two of the above sprues are included.

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Two of the above sprues are included.

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The PE has been specially commissioned for this edition, and isn't just a repop of the Profipack, as it includes a lot of parts that aren't included in the initial release. It expands on the excellent Profipack fret, and includes a lot more cockpit fittings, which require the modeller to remove the moulded in parts from the insides of the fuselage. This will result in a much nicer cockpit, with more parts at scale thickness, or thereabouts. This treatment extends to the oxygen bottle shroud and the trim wheel assembly, as well as some of the strengtheners at the rear of the cockpit. Moving forward, the ammo boxes for the nose guns receive new handles and retaining straps, and the ammo feeds additional parts to detail them up.

The DB601 engine is already a work of art, but extra parts are added here too. The top cover receives a skin of PE, and various other fine parts are added, including lifting eyes, filler caps and cowling retaining brackets. It's clear that the instructions have been re-written in places to get around some issues with the build, as the front exhaust stack is left off until after the engine is installed, removing a rather tricky fitting process, which I have incidentally just gone through with my Profipack build.

Moving onto the wings, there is another subtle change here too, and the gear bay walls are attached to the upper wings rather than the lower, so that the roof detail is correctly aligned from the outset. Another issue that I noted whilst doing the wings on mine. There are in fact three sprues for the wings, one of which is different from the others. Sprue C's lower wings have large cannon bulges outboard of the gear bay openings, and are used on all but one decal choice… "Markings A". Sprue B is included just for this aircraft. Additional parts are installed in the gear bays, which replicate the canvas covers often installed in the bays, plus additional detail for the two ribs in the roof of the bay.

The main gear legs are treated to PE oleo scissors, and of course the resin wheels can be used in place of the styrene parts, offering a little better definition and sharpness of detail. The main wheel bays have a full set of internal skins, plus enhancements to the twin ribs in the roof, which requires the modeller to do a little bending and shaping of the parts. As usual though, it's nothing that would tax anyone other than a PE novice, and the improvement to the detail is worth the effort.

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Two of the above resin sets are included.

Moving on to the oil cooler, there is a PE flap and actuator for the rear of the bulge, and the two radiators under the wings get PE doors on the rear, allowing you to set the rads open or closed at your whim. PE dividers are also included for the fronts, and nearby, the actuator tabs for the ailerons are replaced with more detailed PE parts.

The cowling area on the Profipack kit comprises a set of styrene parts, which have some thinned edges to give the impression of scale thickness. The Royal Class kit includes internal framing and strengthening detail, which will allow their display off the airframe without the effort of having to detail these parts yourself. They make the diorama potential of an aircraft in maintenance much more appealing as a result. A choice of cowling behind the side supercharger intake is given here, as two of the marking choices had differences in the aerodynamic fairings in this area. As a further nod to the diorama makers, a pair of beautifully detailed wheel chocks are included, made from seven PE parts.

Because of the many variations in canopy designs even within the Emil's mark, the building and masking of the canopy is a full-page affair, even before you get to install it on the aircraft itself. You'll need to pay plenty of attention to which decal choice you will be modelling here, as the variations could easily confuse. The armoured headrest is the constant, and that is constructed from folded PE for a scale appearance, with some additional structural detail added inside the opening part. The windshield has a pair of PE grabhandles installed, with a choice of Adolf Galland's magnifying gunsight having added retention straps. A choice of armoured windscreens is offered for two marking options, as well as straight or curved rear-view mirrors and attachment brackets for the armoured glazing. A full set of masks are provided in duplicate for the two kits, which should save a substantial amount of time. If you're posing the canopy open, there's a PE retention strap, which has a scrap diagram to show the correct installation of the part, which is a nice touch.

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There is a choice of boss for the three bladed propeller, with a nicely detailed backing plate and hub, again leading to tempting maintenance options. At this point the instructions became confusing for this reviewer, who incidentally (if you'd not noticed yet) is building the earlier Profipack version of this kit, as I didn't notice the instructions telling the modeller to skip to page 15 for the closed cowl version. The instructions skip back to before the fuselage is closed, and show the options for construction if you are depicting the cowlings closed, advocating a slight trim of the engine front and the gun bay parts to allow snug fitting. Cowling fasteners and a front detail parts is added to the main cowling, but isn't mentioned in the earlier diagrams dealing with the internal bracing if leaving it open. It is here that I also noticed another change to the instructions, adding the intake for the supercharger later in the build, possibly because of the alternative intake, which has a PE filter added. There are also a set of parts added above the exhausts, which seem to my untrained eyes to be more appropriate to the open cowling version than the closed option.

The centreline of the Emil was capable of carrying a 250kg bomb, a long-range fuel tank, or a bomb carrier that held four 50kg bombs. All these options are included with the kit, and the bombs receive PE fins, which are installed with the help of a pair of formers that hold the fins at right-angles while the glue sets. Metal stabiliser braces between the fins of the larger bomb are also included, as is a detailed holding strap for the fuel tank.

The decals for the kit are printed by Cartograf on two sheets, and quality is excellent, with good register, colour density and clarity. There are twelve decal options, and from the box you can build any two because there are two kits in the box! The available choices are as follows:

  • E-1 6./JG26, Summer 1939 - RLM/70/71 over 65 with white tail & wingtips
  • E-4, W.Nr.5057 flown by Oblt. Josef Priller CO of 6./JG51, France, late 1940 - RLM70/71/02 over 65. Yellow nose and rudder.
  • E-3 Flown by Hptm. Dr. Erich Mix, Stab I./JG53 Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, November 1939 - RML70/71/02 splinter over 65.
  • E-3 W.Nr. 2486 Flown by Lt. Ioan Di Cesare, Escadrila 57, Grupul 7 Vanatoare, Karpovka-Stalingrad airfield, Soviet Union, November 1942 - RLM71 over 65, yellow nose, wingtips and tail band, with a red/yellow/blue rudder in the markings of the Rumanian airforce.
  • E-3 Flown by Hptm. Werner Molders, CO of III./JG53, May 1940 - RLM70/71 splinter overpainted with RLM 02 mottle on the wings and upper surfaces.
  • E-4 W.Nr. 1480 Flown by Oblt. Franz von Werra, Wierre-au-bois, France, September 2nd 1940 - RLM71/02 over 65, with white wing tips and rudder.
  • E-4 W.Nr. 5819, Obstlt. Adolf Galland, CO of JG26, Audembert, France, December 1940 - RLM71/02 over 65, yellow nose and rudder.
  • E-4B W.Nr. 3605 Flown by Ofw. Reinhold Schmetzer, 8./LG77, Soviet Union, July 20th, 1941 - RLM70 over 65 with replaced gun cowling showing alternative camo. Yellow tail band and lower wing tips.
  • E-7, III./ZG1, Belgorad & Kuteinkovo airfield, Soviet Union, May to August 1942 - RLM71/02 over 65, low demarcation with yellow wing tip lowers, tail band and lower cowling.
  • E-7, III./JG77 Belgrad-Semlin airfield, Yugoslavia, May 1941 - RLM71/02 over 65. Heavy RLM70/71 squiggle on fuselage sides, yellow nose, rudder and wing tip bands, with trailing edges of wings also yellow.
  • E-7 Trop, 2./JG27, Ain-el-Gazala airfield, Libya 1941 - RLM79 over 65, with RLM80 mottle over all upper surfaces and to fuselage midline. White tail band.
  • E-7 Trop, 2./JG27, Ain-el-Gazala airfield, Libya 1941 - soft demarcation RLM71/02 splinter camo over 65, with RLM71 tiger-striping of fuselage sides and covering on yellow nose sides. Yellow underside of cowling and rudder.

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A separate page shows the location of all the stencils, which are surprisingly comprehensive for a WWII aircraft.

Conclusion (kit)

This kit takes the crown for the best 109 kit in 1:48 from my position, as the fit and finish of the parts is exceptional, as is the detail. The additional parts included in the Royal Class addition are just gravy, and improve the detail further. The decals give a broad range of subjects from the familiar to the unusual, and although the instructions can be somewhat confusing if you're not paying 100% attention, there is ample information to enable you to build what is a fantastically detailed replica of this iconic aircraft. Paint call-outs abound throughout the build, which is so much more than you can say of other manufacturers, and each decal choice has alternative parts, showing a fastidious attention to detail.

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I can't praise the quality of the kit highly enough, although it's not for the total novice, or those prone to rushing the build of their kits. You need to take the time to decide which aircraft you are doing, and then make the right choices for your airframe. I've found that any fit issues I've encountered so far have been of my own making, so ensure that you test fit all the parts before committing to glue. It is a stunning piece of plastic engineering, and if you find you can't justify the price of the Royal Class edition (and it is worth the money IMHO), there are the Profipack and Weekend editions ready and waiting.

1:4 Scale Instrument Panel

The instrument panel included in the kit consists of three sprues. One in black, one in a dark grey, and the other clear. There is also a set of decals for the instruments themselves, some PE parts on the many PE sheets, and a separate instruction booklet.

Construction begins with the Revi gun sight, which is made up of a surprisingly large number of parts, including PE for a good scale feel. The main panels are next, with each instrument consisting of a recess in the panel, decal, PE needle, glass front and styrene bezel. Some instruments also have small adjustment wheels at the bottom, and the various knobs and retaining bolts are all separate parts. A number of cockpit placards are included as decals to add extra detail, and the various small switches and indicator lights also have their own decals.

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The final job is to secure the two parts of the instrument panel together with an angle bracket, and for that a small scrap diagram shows the finished position from the side. A rather large lever is inserted into the right side of the panel, and the Revi sight attaches to a central bracket. Whether the panel will stand up without a base is unknown at this point, but it does deserve mounting on something either horizontally or vertically.

Conclusion (Instrument Panel)

This is something that doesn't often get modelled, and it should attract plenty of admiring glances in your cabinet once built up. The moulding is excellent, and attention to detail mind-boggling, but take your time with the painting and weathering, and you will end up with something rather special. The clear parts and pleasingly flat and clear, and once in place should create minimum distortion of those large instrument decals.

It's not going to be a build that will take an afternoon due to the layering of parts and decals, but it should be something fun and out of the ordinary. I'm already getting the urge to start mine.

Conclusion (Overall)

The package exudes quality from the moment you set eyes on the box. Everyone I've shown this to has been impressed with the value and quality of the contents too, so it's not just frippery. Two kits with 12 decal choices, a customised mug, and a limited edition scale instrument panel add up to something special to be savoured by any 109 enthusiast.

Highly Recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of

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That is a super collection in a box. I now know why they are quite expensive as I didn't realise they had so much in them. Great review too Mike. :thumbsup:

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good god that is pure plastic pr0n !

How much better is the extra detail when you compare it to the ProfiPack edition? Is this really an order of magnitude better?

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good god that is pure plastic pr0n !

How much better is the extra detail when you compare it to the ProfiPack edition? Is this really an order of magnitude better?

In my honest opinion, it depends what you want to do. A buttoned up bird is of course going to benefit, but if you plan on modelling it with some of all of the cowling off, that's when you really start to benefit. Of course, there are also the fact that there are two 109s and one instrument panel in the box too - as well as that mug, which is really disconcertingly light and nice to drink from (didn't dare drink from it before I'd reviewed it!). overall, it's great value, but it's for you to decide whether you'd get the most from it :)

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Very nice indeed, but a shame to see, once again, some decal options ie Galland, Von Werra, Molders and Priller on the sheet. Personally, I would have liked to have seen something different offered, rather than those oft repeated aircraft.

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