Eduard | 3001: Bf 109E-1 (ProfiPACK)
Reviewed by Randy Bumgardner
If you've been paying attention, and have read about the new kits that Eduard is producing this year, you just gotta say Wow! And for us large scale aficionados, we really have to say Wow! even louder...or perhaps Hooray! Well, that is if you like Luftwaffe subjects. With the just released Messerschmitt Bf 109E-1, reviewed here, the May release of the E-4, and the October release of the E-3, Eduard has entered the large scale arena with a big splash. Not since the venerable Hasegawa and Matchbox Bf 109Es has there been a new tool injection molded kit released of this aircraft. And it's about time.
The new Eduard release is package with 165 parts on 7 parts tree including one tree of clear parts. Since this is an Eduard ProfiPACK release, the modeler also receives two frets of photoetch and Eduard's Express Mask for the clear parts. So far, my only gripe is that Eduard did not include masks for the interior of the windscreen and canopy. A set of decals for four marking options and a colorful 16 page instruction booklet/markings guide rounds out the contents of the kit. All of this arrives bundled in Eduard's traditional orange and white box with some stunning artwork on the box cover.
For images of the parts trees and a completed sample, please visit the Eduard website.
The plastic parts are molded in the beige/tan/brown styrene that is typical of Eduard's kits. The parts are well molded with very little flash and there were no sink marks that I could find. There are a handful of parts marked as Not for use - the drop tank and corresponding ETC rack, the covered spinner, and the armored windscreen to name a few. The detail on some of the parts is extremely fine and delicate. The modeler will have to exercise caution in some areas to avoid breaking parts - this includes removing them from the parts trees.
The surface detail is superb. The recessed panel lines and rivets are consistently well done on each of the exterior parts. The panel lines are not "trenches" and the rivets are not divots. This should certainly please some people out there. The details on the fabric surfaces is also well done, for example, the delicate detail of the rib strengtheners on the rudder is reproduced flawlessly.
All of the control surfaces are molded separately, including the flaps and slats. With minor work, all the control surfaces can be mounted in a deflected state to give the model a bit of visual interest. The fabric control surfaces are molded as a single part which lends itself to a nice, crisp, wafer-thin trailing edge - that these parts do indeed have.
The kit contains the proper E-1 lower wing - without the bulges for the ammo drums of the MG FF 20mm cannon. If the modeler wishes to build another variant of the 'E' series, say an early production E-3 (because that's the only canopy option in the kit), the modeler is then left to their own devices as to the bulge and the gun barrel.
Tires and wheels are molded as separate parts - the wheels have an inner and an outer part. It's a nice little touch that more manufacturers should really pick up on. This makes for much more enjoyable painting of the tires and wheels. The tires are nicely detailed, correctly sized, and certainly look the part. The brake line tubes are provided as separate parts - a very nice detail. The modeler need only supply the brake lines for the upper and lower ends.
The kit includes options for cowls on or off. If the cowls are to remain on, Eduard provides "shortcut" parts to stub out the exhausts, the cowl mounted MGs, and the prop. However, if the modeler would like to display that detail hidden underneath, Eduard provides plenty of detail in the engine/firewall/gun areas. Once painted and weathered, these areas will really look good. If the modeler has the desire to really go the distance, Eduard has supplied them with parts that are a great start for adding a few wires and extra plumbing to take it to the next level.
The cockpit is very well appointed - no shortage of detail here. The additional colored PE fret will surely spice up this little gem. There are lots of subtle details that are included - interior braces on the windscreen, PE chains for the elevator/aileron trim wheels, and even the line the prevents the canopy from opening too far. The modeler gets two choices for the instrument panel - one with bezels that needs to be painted by hand and instrument decals applied (those decals are not supplied with the kit) or a two piece photoetch panel with a plastic panel (there is a plastic blank provided in the kit). Either way, this is one nice cockpit right out of the box.
The photoetch frets that are included consist of a color photoetch fret for the instrument panel, cockpit details and the seat harnesses, while the second fret contains parts for the radiator and oil cooler faces, the rudder pedals, and some additional exterior bits. The frets are of Eduard's usual quality - very thin, easily bent (that right there is a warning...), and nice detail. The modeler is cautioned that there are many very small parts on each of these frets. Thus, proceed with caution when working with the parts so as not to damage them or lose them.
The decals are printed by Cartograf and are up to their consistently high standard of quality. The carrier film is very thin and the registration of the decals is excellent. There are markings for four early war and BoB Emils:
- Yellow 11, Fw. Arthur Beese, 9./JG 26, August 1940
- Red 1, W.Nr. 4027, Hptm. Hannes Trautloft, Staffelkapitän 2./JG 77, September 1939
- Red 13, Fw. Kurt "Kuddel" Ubben, 6.(J)/TrGr.186, March 1940
- Yellow 2, 6./JG 52, Calais, France, September 1940
Each specific set of markings has it's own unique qualities and that will make it hard to decide which markings to finish the aircraft in. Eduard also provides a full set of stencils for the airframe. If these options are not to you liking, Eagle Editions will be releasing three new sets of decals for the Bf 109E-1. That's a lot more markings options for the modeler to choose from!
A quick glance at the plans in SAM Publications' Modellers Datafile The Bf 109 Part 1: Prototype to 'E' Variants by Lynn Ritger reveals that the details of the fuselage and wings match up well with the drawings. The panel lines, rivets, hatches, and access panels are all well dimensioned and in the correct locations.
As shown in the image below, a comparison of the port side fuselage against the drawing shows the fuselage matches the plans pretty well. Bear in mind that the drawings are 1/48th scale and I enlarged them to 1/32nd scale, so there may some distortion along either axis. Even so, using the rudder hinge as a reference line, the kit fuselage is 2.5mm longer at the firewall and 3.0mm longer at the spinner. However, on the aft fuselage, the aerial attachment immediately aft of station 5 is the same on the model as in the drawing; and the location of station 2 is also the same. What does it mean...I don't know. Make what you will of it, but bear in mind that there is a distinct possibility that some of the error is the result of distortion along one or both axis as a consequence of the enlarging process.
Similarly, the planform drawing was enlarged 150% to 1/32nd scale. Comparing the lower wings against the drawing, using the aileron and flap hinge line as a reference and centering the lower wing part from the kit along the centerline of the drawing, reveals the wing span of the kit is slightly larger than the wing span in the drawings. With the same caveats as above, the kit wing span is 4mm greater than the drawing.
So, is this kit worthy of the hype associated with it's announcement and subsequent release? Yeah, I think so. For any large scale modeler with even a smattering of interest in things Luftwaffe, this kit is a Big Deal. Eduard has produced a model, their first 1/32 scale kit, that hasn't been produced since the Hasegawa and Matchbox offerings of the 1970s. In addition, the model is manufactured specifically as a Bf 109E-1 - a variant that has not been produced in this scale, aside from any vacuform kits. Yes, you could build an E-1 from the Hasegawa and Matchbox kits - just like you build an E-3 from this kit - with a bit of work. This kit has details that are clear and crisp. It's well molded, the PE is great, and certainly adds spice, and the decals are fantastic as are the markings options. This kit is the Big Deal and Eduard has knocked one out of the park.
© Randy Bumgardner 2009
This article created on Saturday, July 02 2011; Last modified on Thursday, May 30 2013