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Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 (SH72439) 1:72 Special Hobby


Julien
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Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 (SH72439)

1:72 Special Hobby

 

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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 power plant. During its 30 year career, more than 33,000 were built, a record that will probably never be beaten.

 

 

The Kit

This is a brand new tool for 2020 from Special Hobby, in collaboration with Eduard. The quality is fist class with crisp moulding and fine engraved panel lines. Given the small size of the real aircraft, in 1/72 the model is quite diminutive, but seems well detailed. Construction starts with the cockpit. The rear bulkhead attaches to the floor with the rudder pedals going in as well. The front lower bulkhead is made up and installed onto the floor followed by the instruments panel and the coaming in front of it. The instruments being provided as decals. Into the cockpit go the flight controls and flap wheel, followed by the seat. The belts being provided as decals also.  If the modeller is going to display the cover for the guns in front of the cockpit open then full guns are included, if you are doing this closed then only partial ones need to be added.  Next up the engine is assembled which seems quite detailed for the scale, the bearers attached and it fitted to the firewall. Inside the main fuselage halves the exhausts are fitted along with the tail wheel and then the whole thing can be closed up. Separate engine and gun covers can be added, or left off as needed. 

 

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After the tail surfaces are attached to the main fuselage then we can move onto the wings. The lower wing is a single part with left and right uppers. The wheel wells are all boxed in on the lower. To the middle of the lower wing the radiator is first added. The top wings can then go on. All the wing control surfaces are separate parts. To finish the wing the under wing radiators are added.  The wing can then be joined with the fuselage. The canopy parts can then be added, with different types of head armour being provided for the different decal options. The slats can then be added to the main wing in either the open or closed position as needed. At the front the prop and spinner goes on. Last up for the main parts, the main landing gear is made up and added. A few detail parts now can be added to finish of the kit, the aerial mast, pitot tubes, balance horns,; and even an engine starting handle if you wish to install it. 

 

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Markings

The glossy decal sheet is printed in house and looks sharp and in register.  There are four decal options available from the decal sheet;

 

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  • Flown by Oblt. Gerhard Schopfel of III./JG 26, France 1940 (Box art)
  • Werk Nr, 4148 flown by Oblt Helmut Wick, Staffelkapitan 3./JG2, France 1940 (additional stipple decals are available from SH here)
  • Werk Nr. 4148 flown by Hptm Wolfgang Lippers Kommandeur II./JG 27, Greece 1941.
  • Yellow 8 of III./JG 52 Romania 1941. 

 

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Conclusion

It is good to see a new tool out of this most famous aircraft.  I am no 109 expert but it looks to be a well detailed and engineered kit. Highly recommended.

 

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Masks

Special Hobby also do masks for the kit (though they are not in their web shop at the time of writing this? The masks are for the canopies and wheels.

 

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Review samples courtesy of

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