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Mike

Messerschmitt Bf.110C-2/C7 (04961) 1:32

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Messerschmitt Bf.110C-2/C7 (04961)

1:32 Revell

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

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Great review Mike.  I recall that the Dragon kit was build reviewed when it came out and comment was made about the fit of some parts requiring careful attention, especially around the cockpit and engine nacelle areas.  In fact it was a tad more averse than just comment on the fit issues however the same reviewer said that the end result was very pleasing all the same.   I have a couple on the stash for various conversions but at the Revell price couldn't resist adding another.  Still to build one but based on the aforesaid build reviews I will follow the advice and test fit at least twice before gluing once.

 

  

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14 hours ago, JohnT said:

 I have a couple on the stash for various conversions but at the Revell price couldn't resist adding another. 

You'll be able to put the two Dragon kits inside the Revell box too, so your stash will actually reduce in size :shocked:

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1 minute ago, Mike said:

You'll be able to put the two Dragon kits inside the Revell box too, so your stash will actually reduce in size :shocked:

??  But the Revell one is already in there so are you telling me to buy another Revell one so I can minimise the storage footprint?  Good - thats what I will tell Mrs T - Mike made me buy it  

 

Works for me.  There are loads of variants one can do, early, Battle of Britain, early nightfigher, conversion to g models etc etc

 

And all Mikes fault  :whistle:

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25 minutes ago, JohnT said:

Mike made me buy it 

Seems to be the way of things :shrug:

 

I've just spent 5 minutes cutting the box down to around half its size so it takes up less space.  Stop intentionally misunderstanding me in order to extend your stash, you bad man :nono:

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