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Mike

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4

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Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4



1:32 Cyber Hobby Wing Tech, Warbirds Series

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The E or Emil was the first major re-design of the successful Willy Messerschmitt designed Bf 109, which incorporated changes to accommodate the heavier but more powerful DB601 engine, additional armament and fuel capacity. This model was used extensively during the Spanish Civil War, and subsequently the Battle of Britain where it performed well, despite only having a short linger time over Britain.

The top opening box has a rather nice painting of a couple of 109s in action, escorting some 111s, presumably over sunny England. Inside are eight sprues of medium grey styrene, two of clear parts, two small Photo-Etched (PE) frets, a pair of flexible DS gear bay inserts, two decal sheets and the instruction booklet. Quite a full box, although a fair number of parts , mainly in the engine department, aren't used in this release.

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Yes, that does say Bf 110 on the sprue - hence the redundant exhaust stacks

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It's interesting to note that there are credits on the instruction booklet acknowledging assistance from Rowan Baylis, Jerry Crandell and Mark Proulx, which shows that Dragon/Cyberhobby are canvassing some knowledgeable people to try and avoid making errors - That is to be applauded.

Looking over the sprues, there is a lot of beautifully engraved detail evident, and in the box you get a full cockpit, detailed DB601 engine, nose gun bay, and a pair of superbly cast cannons in the wing bays. Both the machine guns and cannons are slide-moulded and have hollow muzzles, although these could be made deeper with a small drill bit. The recoil springs on the cannon are excellent, and have to be seen to appreciate the detail. It would be a shame to hide them both away by closing the blister bay door on them.

Going back to the cockpit, an instrument panel is provided in a number of parts, with all the instruments depicted in relief, down to the needles and markings around the faces. A clear part is also provided for the gun-sight, which plugs into the top of the panel, and is commendably thin. A little transparent green paint on the exposed edges will be all that's needed to improve the realism. The seat has detail on all sides, and a set of PE harness parts are included, although they have been a little simplified to ease their use (some modellers are wary of using PE). A replacement set would improve the look further, and these are available from numerous manufacturers.

A host of parts affix to the cockpit sidewalls, including the trim wheels on the port side, which have realistically portrayed chains running from them. Painting call-outs and a few decals all add to the detail.

The Daimer Benz DB601 is built from a large number of parts, and has slide-moulded exhausts, piping for the chin-mounted oil cooler and some very nicely moulded engine mounts. Once built, the whole assembly is mounted on the "chin" panel and set aside until later in the build. I suspect that careful alignment will be needed here if you are planning on displaying the model with all its panels in place.

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The wings mount on a pair of spars that form part of the cockpit assembly, and have a full set of separate flying surfaces with some PE parts used to improve detail. The slats can be modelled deployed or flush with the wing, but as they are gravity operated, they would be deployed on an airframe at rest. The cannons install into their bays, and only then is the wing insert installed, which could make for some tricky sanding if there is any discrepancy in the two parts. The main gear well inserts are made from flexible "DS Styrene", which feels like vinyl, but glues and paints like ordinary styrene. The two radiators under the wings use some small PE parts to detail the bay, and the feeder pipe is also included, which can be seen from the rear.

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The main gear legs are nicely detailed, with brake hoses already supplied as separate styrene parts, and very crisply moulded tyres with no flats engineered in. These parts have nice large attachment lugs that mate with a central fuselage frame that holds the spars, and is a very complex piece of plastic engineering in its own right, using slide moulding to get the shapes right.

Moving back to the tail feathers, you might guess that here the detail is equally good, with a small set of PE parts used to make the control horns and wires stand out, and three more parts making up the hinge points on the rudder. The horizontal tail has the same PE hinge parts, with strong tail supports that were prototypical of this mark. The tail area is finished off with a rather nicely moulded (no surprise there!) wheel and strut.

As mentioned earlier, the instructions would have you mount the engine assembly late in the build, but I think I would be test fitting over and over to ensure that everything marries up well to save any remedial work on already painted sections. Building up the prop gives you a choice of spinners, either a blunt full spinner for the cannonless nose, or the rather pugnacious looking angular one with the central hole for the cannon barrel exit. The Prop blades and their cuffs build up from separate parts onto the central boss, and happily have keyed ends to set the angle properly for those like me that stress about such things.

The glazing is amazingly crisp any clear, with raised rivets here and there on all faces, thanks to the slide-moulding used. A separate windscreen part is included with a hole in the bottom of the starboard side for Adolf Galland's magnified sighting unit. There is also a choice of straight backed or curved head armour, and a few tiny pieces of PE are used to simulate the cockpit restraints if you are posing the canopy open.

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External stores venture as far as the large 300l ribbed fuel tank and mount (with PE retaining strap), or a single 250kg bomb, which has a set of PE fin stabilising strips alomng with some incredibly thin styrene fins that must be close to scale, if not actually to scale.

droptank.jpg

Decals are provided on two smallish sheets, and are printed in Italy by Cartograf. If you know Cartograf's reputation, I could stop there, but they are crisp, in register with thin carrier film and a nice matt sheen. The larger sheet contains all of the black and white Balkenkreuz, unit marks and kill marks. The Swastikas or Hakenkreuz are conspicuous by their absence, so the modeller will need to obtain their own if they wish to add them for authenticity and their local laws permit.

The smaller sheet is a riot of color, containing squadron and personal emblems, walkways, stencils, a couple of squadron code numbers in yellow, amongst others.

decals.jpg

From the sheets you can build one of the following:

  • Oberst Adolf Galland JG 26, France 1940
  • Hauptmann Rolf Pingel I./JG 26, France 1940
  • Hauptmann Gunther Lutzow I./JG 3, France 1940
  • Oberleutnant Gerhard Schopfel 9./JG 26, France 1940
  • Major Helmut Wick JG 2, France 1940

Quite a list of choices for such relatively small decals sheets.

Conclusion

This is a fantastically detailed release from Dragon/Cyberhobby, with detail on every part of every sprue. The heavy use of slide moulding has been used to further improve the details, and given the expense that this type of tooling brings, it has been well worth it.

A wide choice of markings are available from the box, with some notable pilots' mounts being depicted. Granted, they are all from 1940 in France, but as this was when the Emil was used extensively, there's no harm in that. Aftermarket decals are readily available if the kit decals don't suit your needs.

A beautifully made kit of an iconic aircraft.

Review sample courtesy of logo.jpg UK distributors for logo.jpg

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As you say Mike- very nice look about that set of parts. Does look like another "short tailed" variant to me, but I am looking forward to someone that is a 1/32 AND knowledgeable '109 expert giving a "style and accuracy" review. I can see lots of nice little touches- I'm jsut hoping it's the right length. particularly as I am hoping the 1/48 version will soon be with us- although i hate to think at what price..

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Hi Rich,

I don’t think I can agree with your ‘short tail’ assessment this time – if you like, I’ll measure mine and compare it with the dimensions given on the factory drawings and let you know.

While I can’t speak for Rowan’s expertise, both Jerry and Mark have been good friends of mine for over twenty years and while neither is nor claim to be, ‘experts’ on either the Bf 109E or 110, I know for a fact that they would have ensured that they provided the best references available in their involvement with these kits.

That being said however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the manufacturer takes note of everything that is provided. One such example being the slats where it was suggested that Dragon/CH provided the same option as with those on their 48th 110D but as you can see from the sprue shots, the manufacturer opted to go with the usual method of moulding them. Another area concerns both windshields where you can see that an opening quarter light is marked on both side panels when it should only be on the left hand side.

Cheers

Dave

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One other thing to watch out for on this otherwise excellent kit is that the trim wheel chain section which travels from the trim wheels through the rear bulkhead is missing even though the bulkhead includes the opening for the chains. Photo etch chain could be used to compensate for this although it will not match the plastic chain provided in size. For my build I will probably replace the kit plastic chain with chain from one of the many p/e sets available in 1/32 for the 109.

Also, the kit instructions are 'off' in respect of parts F44 and F43 and show them going in upside down. They are provided to fill the gap between the cockpit floor and the curved sides of the lower fuselage so just remember that the rib goes up and you'll soon see how it has to be fitted.

HTH

Dave

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Particularly as I am hoping the 1/48 version will soon be with us- although i hate to think at what price..

Admittedly this product is more expensive that the recent 1/32 kits from Revell but I picked mine up a Netmerchants for under £40 (compared to the Tamiya 1/32 kits at around £70-100) maybe the 1/48 version will be provide surprising value. In my view Dragon have always charged a fair price for what they provide in the box, this kit is no exception.

Richard McC

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Admittedly this product is more expensive that the recent 1/32 kits from Revell but I picked mine up a Netmerchants for under £40 (compared to the Tamiya 1/32 kits at around £70-100) maybe the 1/48 version will be provide surprising value. In my view Dragon have always charged a fair price for what they provide in the box, this kit is no exception.

Richard McC

I saw the Dragon '110 in a well known leading London aviation hobby shop yesterday for about 40quid. This is a lot of money.. However, it depends what the judgment is based upon to make the call with regard to "value" and affordability.

One might presume that a kit made with half as many parts and plastic might go for half the price- if we say 2/3, then we are looking around 26-27 quid. Using the above methodology, then "IF" the new 1/48 109E kit in the box really is humungously wonderful and complete in every way, then to me it is worth the money. But as I have already mentioned, Zvezda will be along with one soon for about 15 quid I reckon

Edited by Mentalguru

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I saw the Dragon '110 in a well known leading London aviation hobby shop yesterday for about 40quid. This is a lot of money.. However, it depends what the judgment is based upon to make the call with regard to "value" and affordability.

One might presume that a kit made with half as many parts and plastic might go for half the price- if we say 2/3, then we are looking around 26-27 quid. Using the above methodology, then "IF" the new 1/48 109E kit in the box really is humungously wonderful and complete in every way, then to me it is worth the money. But as I have already mentioned, Zvezda will be along with one soon for about 15 quid I reckon

The basic material content of the kit unlikely to have a significant bearing on product price, the number of parts and the finess of those parts is a directly linked with the quality of the tooling, the most expensive part of the injection moulding (or pretty much any other engineering) job. You cant really correlate number of parts with price, you have to include quality as well.

I didnt make any judgement as to affordability, I decided when I fist saw this kit that I was going to have one when they became available and to be honest it couldnt have come along at a worse time, Just changed my wifes car, my motor needs serviced, tax it up at the end of the month, ive 2 kids at university both are coming home for easter (im presumably paying for that) and the eldest is getting married in August. So its not really affordable but with pretty much everything required in the box (Glazing masks would have been nice) good value it most certainly is! £40 for around 100 hours entertainment.

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Oh no! I'm a grumpy old man who's found a slight, tiny problem with a plastic airplane- that means I hate the kit and WILL spend over 100 pounds on after market so when another grumpy old man bends over to examine my finished model with a magnifying glass, he will hopefully be satisfied! :lol:

Anyway, the problem is that the box shows England on a nice sunny day. This is completely innacurate. In fact, it's the biggest problem with any kit I've ever seen. It should be raining! :angry:

Edited by Mr. Pocketwatch

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Anyway, the problem is that the box shows England on a nice sunny day. This is completely innacurate. In fact, it's the biggest problem with any kit I've ever seen. It should be raining! :angry:

Thats what we call a 'John Hinde' Sky after the maker of the post cards, he missed all the rainy days in Ireland as well

Richard McC

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Thats what we call a 'John Hinde' Sky after the maker of the post cards, he missed all the rainy days in Ireland as well

Richard McC

I don't miss the rainy days, what I meant was that it's always raining in Britian!

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