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Eduard Messerschmitt BF 109E-4 1:48 Profipack Edition


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Messerschmitt BF 109E-4

Eduard 1:48 Profipack Edition


The BF 109 has inherited quite a legendary status and when you look into its service career, it's certainly obvious why. Viewing the design in retrospect, it looks just like a typical fighter of the WWII era, but it was more than that, it was the very platform that the single seat fighter format was born from. Powerful engine, monocoque airframe, all metal construction, enclosed cockpit and retractable gear this was unheard of before hand, it was radical, not typical in the 1930's. Its birth wasn't perfect however, to achieve its performance, some sacrifices were made, particularly in the landing gear arrangement and high wing loading having a negative effect on landing speeds compared to the competition at the time. This inherent design issue was never fully cured and it's estimated that at least 10% of all 109's were lost in take off accidents. Early models (A-D) were powered by the Junkers jumo engine with outputs of around 700hp. The aircraft was first used in combat during the Spanish Civil War where many lessons were learned and these would be later put to good use in battles over France and Britain. The E or Emil model broke the mould in 109 development by changing to the more powerful Daimler Benz DB 601 engine of around 1080hp, a significant step in performance and also in armament due to the introduction of 20mm cannon. By 1939, all earlier variants had been replaced in frontline service. As the variants progressed, so did the level of armour protection for the pilot. Another critical element to improve survivability was the use of twin radiators with cut off valves meaning that if one radiator was damaged, the other could be used to keep it airborne. The Emil was the primary Luftwaffe fighter until 1941 when the F model became widely available with more powerful engine although a few managed to see combat in the Battle of Britain. For an aircraft that broke the mould with fighter technology and performance in the mid 30's, it's evolution meant that whilst it's design had exhausted improvement capability towards the end of the war, it stayed in operational use until 1965 in Europe in the guise of the Spanish licence built HA 1112 using the Merlin powerplant. During its 30 year career, more than 33,000 were built, a record that will probably never be beaten.

The kit

If you've come across the E-1 or E-3 kits from Eduard, then you will be familiar with the format here. You'll also know how damn good the kit is !

Packaged in the usual format, the top opening box is packed with goodies in the Profipack version. Two bags of brown plastic sprues (4 sprues in total) are complemented by a fret of clear parts separately wrapped, two photo etch frets and a sheet of canopy paint masks which if you've tried, you probably don't want to build a model again without them ! Even the instructions are beautifully produced in glossy paper using multi-colours.


Let's look at the big bits first. The fuselage and wing panel detailing are some of the best available. Panel lines are carefully recessed, there's no over engineering here, pure precision. Not content with panel lines, Eduard have taken the detailing further by adding even finer rivets to the surfaces where appropriate so you won't be needing your rivet tool. You have the option of either having the engine on display or the cowlings closed which we'll come to later. All the control surfaces are moulded separately, so you get the freedom to fix them how you like so you won't be needing your razor saw either ! The fabric control surfaces are beautifully moulded with the taught fabric effect and detailed ribbing. After a good look for flash and sink marks, I couldn't find any worth noting.





Construction starts with the cockpit interior and chin radiator. The instructions here are very clear and show using red colouring where plastic parts need to be sanded or removed to make way for etch parts if you choose. The detail in the tub is exquisite, no chunky plastic here, even the injection moulded trim wheels look to scale thickness. Panels, seatbelts and rudder pedals are brought to life with coloured etch additions. Moving onto the engine and nose gun pack, here you'll find the same attention to detail as in the office. The engine is fully replicated with precise plastic parts. Decals are even supplied to provide serial numbers for the engines. The rear bulkhead assembly that includes the nose guns is fitted to the completed engine and the whole lot fitted between the fuselage halves along with the cockpit tub. The exhaust stubs are individually moulded, again the quality goes as far as having the welded seams and cleverly manufactured openings. Be aware that these are intentional seams and not mould flash ! I had to read the instruction a few times to get my head around the options for either having the engine installed or not. Instructions to build the engine are on page 4, however if you choose to have the covers closed, you still need part of the engine building to secure the covers to. Instructions for this option are on page 10, so some flicking through the booklet is required to plan your build.





With the fuselage assembled, attention moves to the wings. The radiators are blessed with etched mesh both front and rear. The wheel bay interiors are provided by means of separate parts that fit to the lower wing. With the wings sealed up, the flaps, ailerons and slats can be fitted unless you prefer to leave them off until after painting. Various external detailing delights include etch trim levers, aerials and balance tabs. The wheels are some of the best I've seen in a kit, separate tyres and two part hubs mean they will look pretty special when painted. There's some fine detailing even on the exterior of the aircraft, so care is needed if you want to have them all attached and not lost in the carpet. The clear parts are as good as the rest of the kit. Two windscreen options are provided, one with a hole for a gunsight to fit through. If you choose this option, even more care will be necessary as there are 3 etch parts as well as the sight that fit into the windscreen assuming you want to fit them. Gluing and painting them may produce a few words that the dictionary doesn't include ! More etch and rear armour give the hinged canopy a realistic look, again lots of care needed here, but well worth the patience. When it comes to painting, the instructions have good clear guides for applying the canopy masks.





The Decals

In keeping with the detail and quality provided on the sprues, the decals are stunning. Printed by Cartograf, the colours are sharp and in perfect register. The squadron emblems are some of the best produced decals I've come across for sharpness and richness of colour. No less than 5 schemes are catered for and a separate sheet of stencils is included. The markings sheet provides a number of different cross styles to cover the range of aircraft and Swastika's are supplied. The options are:

1. W.Nr. 5587, Ofw. Fritz Beeck, 6/JG 51, Wissant France, August 1940

2. W.Nr 5344, Maj Helmut Wick, JG 2, Beaumont France, November 1940

3. Lt. Josef Eberle, 9/JG 54, Netherlands, August 1940

4. W.Nr. 1480, Oblt. Franz von Werra, JG 3, Wierre-au-Bois, France, September 1940

5. W.Nr. 5819, Obstlt. Adolf Galland, JG 26, Audembert France, December 1940




This really is a fine kit. The detail is second to none and what you get in the kit is excellent value. Bearing in mind that you get additional etch parts and paint masks as well as 5 decal options to choose from, it would be rude not to have one ! Eduard have produced an icon here, some of the best detail available in a kit yet still reasonably priced around the £20 mark. Some of the detail may challenge novice builders such as the etch and delicate fine parts, but the great thing is that you could omit some of this if you chose and it would still look great.

Review sample courtesy of


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