Eduard 1/48 Bf-109E-7/trop

KIT #: 8264
PRICE: $
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver
NOTES: Profipak

HISTORY

JG 27 In The North African Campaign:

JG 27 was formed on October 1, 1939.  The insignia of I/JG 27, the lion over the map of Africa, memorialized the birth of the Gruppenkommandeur, Hauptmann Helmut Riegel, in German Southwest Africa. 

 After service in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain, the Geschwader served briefly in the invasion of the Balkans.  In April 1941, I/JG 27 was sent to Gazala, North Africa to support the Afrika Korps.  Under the astute command of Hauptmann "Edu" Neumann, one of the Luftwaffe's most capable field commanders, I/JG 27 quickly improved its previous performance, with the Bf-109E-4 and Bf-109E-7 fighters proving superior to the Tomahawks and Hurricanes flown by the RAFís Desert Air Force.  II/JG 27, under the command of Hauptmann Wolfgang Lippert, arrived in North Africa in September 1941, equipped with the Bf-109F-2/Trop, which gave added superiority to the Germans at the time the Supermarine Spitfire first began to appear in the Desert.  I/JG 27 was able to re-equip with the Friedrich that fall, and the day of the Emil in North Africa was ended.  Several pilots in I/JG 27 had become aces, and the Gruppe had established qualitative air superiority over their more numerous opponents in the Desert Air Force.

THE KIT

Eduard has essentially scaled down their 1/32 Bf-109E series to 1/48 for these kits.  The smaller kits have all of the strengths and most of the weaknesses of the earlier, larger kits, without the problem of the incorrect canopies that hampered the early-release 1/32 Bf-109E-4 kit.  The smaller kits have very petite surface detail with rivet detail as the larger kits, and the Profipack version provides extensive photoetch detail, both for the cockpit and the rest of the aiframe, with good photoetch instrument panels and seat belts, and radiator details.  Decals are provided in the Trop version for five Bf-109E-4 and E-7 aircraft flown by pilots of JG 27.

CONSTRUCTION

The first thing I noticed about the kit was that it had the problem I had first seen in the larger kits, i.e., leading edge slats that were too large in chord.  I assembled the wing and then filled in the area of the outer wing that is under the slat.  On the real airplane, there is no ďcut outĒ like this, so I smoothed the area after the putty dried, giving it an airfoil shape.  I then sliced off a 1/32-inch wide strip from the rear edge of the slat, to get it the correct dimension.  I rescribed rivet detail with my pounce wheel after rescribing panel lines that had been lost sanding out the outer wing leading edge area.

 I painted the cockpit RLM 02 and then assembled it per the instructions.  I assembled the fuselage without problem.

The biggest problem I had with the assembly process was getting the fershlugginah exhaust stubs to fit inside their cover.  I had to sand them down to get them to slide in, and even then they really didnít fit, thought from a foot away itís not that noticeable.  Eduard could have saved everyone a lot of trouble and made one-piece exhausts like Hasegawa did and no one would notice once everything was together.  Eduard has a habit of over-thinking their kit design and adding in complexity for the sake of complexity, to my mind; itís my one big gripe about most of their kits, though these 109s are nowhere near as fiddly as the 1/48 Bf-110s or the Fw-190s.

 I assembled the fuselage and wing sub-assemblies and attached the horizontal stabilizers.  I attached the rudder and the elevators in dynamic positions.

COLORS & MARKINGS

I painted the white stripe area and masked that, painted the nose white and then yellow.  I took thinned Xtracrylix Gelb 04 and brush-painted it over the airbrushed Tamiya yellow, to give a sensation that this area had been brush painted as it was on the real airplane.  That was masked off and then I pre-shaded the model.  I applied the RLM 78/79/80 desert camouflage using Xtracrylix paints applied freehand with my Paasche-H.

I had noted that the national insignia were different sized from what I had on aftermarket sheets, with the upper wing crosses being smaller and the fuselage crosses being larger.  The upper wing cross was that way to deal with the too-large leading edge slat, but after fixing that I was able to use a correct-size aftermarket decal.  The fuselage crosses on the kit sheet were too large, while the aftermarket decals made for Hasegawa and Tamiya kits fit perfectly.  I think this settles the mumbles heard with the series was released that they were larger than they should be.  The kit swastika decal was also too large and was replaced with an aftermarket decal that fit perfectly.  I used the personal markings for the airplane depicted on the box top.

I gave the model a coat of Xtracrylix Clear Flat varnish, then attached the landing gear, prop, aileron mass balances and gun barrels.  I kept the airplane clean, so it would appear as it did in photos taken right after it got its North African camouflage repaint.  I used Tamiya ďSmokeĒ for exhaust stains and under-fuselage oil stains.  The canopy was posed open.

CONCLUSIONS

I did not find that the original complaints the model was some degree of over-scale accurate, comparing the model to Airfix, Hasegawa and Tamiya Bf-109Es in my collection.  Theyíre all slightly different in overall dimensions and the Eduard kitís differences are not outside the other differences.

 Other than the petite surface rivet detail, and a more detailed wheel well, I didnít find anything so particularly better in this Eduard kit than any of the other alternatives.  This is the most expensive 1/48 Bf-109E even if you donít get the Profipack version.  I did like the separate control surfaces which are not found on the other kits.  Overall, itís another 1/48 Bf-109E - get it if you like it, but it hasnít made anything else obsolete, and the others are more easily assembled.

Tom Cleaver

July 2014

Review kit courtesy of HLJ. 

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