Dragon 1/32 Bf-110C-7
KIT #: 3203
PRICE: $120.00 MSRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver
NOTES: Do not pursue this project in the presence of small children if you do not want them learning words you hadn’t planned on teaching them just yet.

HISTORY

     The revolution in aircraft design that happened in 1934 - the year that saw the Bf-109, Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane and P-36 prototypes begin design - also saw the commencement of development of a different kind of fighter, the “strategic” fighter.  Where the single-engine aircraft were primarily seen at the time as short-range interceptors, this second group were to be long-range fighters that would escort the coming fleets of bombers and defend them from the interceptors.  The idea was good, but the execution - which involved designing multi-engine, multi-seat heavy airplanes - guaranteed that none of these designs would achieve success in the role they were originally created to fulfill.

     That year, the Reichluftfartministerium (RLM)issued a request for proposals for what was called the Kampfzerstörer (battle destroyer). The request called for a twin-engined, three-seat, all metal monoplane, armed with cannon as well as a bomb bay. Only three companies out of seven the proposal was sent to responded, including Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Messerschmitt), Focke-Wulf and Henschel. Messerschmitt’s proposal ignored most of the Kampfzerstörer specifications, and stuck to a two-seat fighter without any bomb bay.  Focke-Wulf and Henschel were ordered to build prototypes of their proposals.  Fortunately, due to pressure by Ernst Udet, the RLM reconsidered the concept of the Kampfzerstörer and focused on the Zerstörer concept, which fitted the Messerschmitt proposal.  As a result, Messerschmitt received an order for a prototype known as the Bf-110.  The first prototype flew on May 12, 1936, at Augsburg.  This would become the most famous of the series of “strategic fighters” the world’s air forces were asking for.

     The Bf-110 was not as maneuverable as hoped, but even powered by two Jumo 210Gs with only 700 h.p. each, it was appreciably faster than any other known fighter and the Germans saw it as superior to its potential opponents.  The Bf-110B was ordered into production in 1937, pending delivery of the more powerful DB 600 series engines.  Development difficulties encountered with the new engine meant that the definitive Bf-110C series did not enter production until 1939, just prior to the outbreak of war.

     Herman Göring had been immediately impressed by the Zerstörer concept, envisioning these airplanes as being the offensive cutting edge of the Luftwaffe in the war he knew was coming.  The Zerstörer units were seen as the elite of the Jagdwaffe, and were assigned the best pilots.

     The Bf-110C was flown in limited numbers during the Polish campaign, where the fact that it could not dogfight single-engine fighters was quickly discovered.  That anyone had ever thought such combat was possible was amazing.  The airplane was heavy, and even with the DB 601 engine was slow to accelerate and climb, though it could out-dive just about everything else and had a decent zoom capability.  When the pilots stuck to the vertical plane - employing dive-and-zoom tactics - they were much more successful.  Future ace Wolfgang Falck led the most successful unit, I/ZG 76, which claimed 31 kills during the campaign, of which 19 were confirmed.

     The greatest early success of the Zerstörerwaffe happened on December 18, 1939, when a formation of 22 RAF Wellington bombers were spotted off the Heligoland Bight, headed for Wilhelmshaven.  The resulting slaughter of these unescorted bombers by Bf-110s from Zerstörergeschwader 1 resulted in German claims of 38 bombers shot down, though actual losses were 11 Wellingtons shot down and 6 damaged to varying degrees.  As a result of “The Battle of the German Bight,” the RAF abandoned daylight bombing until 1944.

     The Zerstörerwaffe next saw action during Operation Weserübung, the invasion of Denmark and Norway. ZG 1 and ZG were committed with 64 aircraft. 25 Danish aircraft stationed at Væærløse airbase were destroyed by strafing Bf-110s on April 9, with the one Fokker D.XXI that managed to get airborne being immediately shot down. During the Danish campaign, Victor Mölders, brother of the famous Werner Mölders, took the official surrender of the town of Aalborg after he landed at the local airfield.  German losses in Norway were light, opposed as they were by obsolete Gloster Gladiators.

     On the Western Front, Bf-110s operated by Lehrgeschwader 1 first entered combat with the Armée de l'Air on November 23, 1939, when Bf 110s shot down a Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 over Verdun.  As the “Phoney War” continued, several French aircraft were shot down by Bf 110's. On April 2, 1940, I/ZG 1's Gruppenkommandeur, Hauptmann Hannes Gentzen became the highest-scoring Zerstörer pilot in the Luftwaffe, when he added to his score of five by shooting down a Curtiss Hawk 75A-3 over the Argonne forest.

     During the campaign in the West following the German assault on France and the Low Countries on May 10, 1940, the Bf 110 demonstrated its capability as a strike aircraft, with ZG 1 claiming 26 Dutch aircraft destroyed on the ground at Hamstede airfield on May 10.  However, when the Bf-110s ran up against the RAF in the air on May 15, their previous success is was tempered by the loss of nine Bf 110s, a sign of times to come over Britain.  With a total loss of 60 Bf-110s, the Western Campaign demonstrated that the aircraft was vulnerable in hostile skies to well-flown single-seat fighters like Hurricanes and Spitfires.

     The success of the Zerstörerwaffe in the strike role during the French campaign led to the creation of Erprobungsgruppe 210 at the end of June, for service in the coming campaign against the Royal Air Force.

Erprobungsgruppe 210 (Erpr.Gr.210):

     Erprobungsgruppe 210 was formed on July 1, 1940 at Koln-Ostheim under the command of Hauptmann Walter Rubensdörffer, a Swiss true believer in Nazism, who had migrated to Germany following Hitler’s rise to power and joined the Luftwaffe, where he gained a reputation as a ground-attack specialist during the Spanish Civil War, where he led 3./J 88 which used the He-51B in the development of schlactflieger tactics.

     The unit was given the task of operational test of the Bf-109E and Bf-110C as fighter-bombers, and the development of suitable tactics.  The legend of Erpr.Gr.210 is that the aircrews assigned were all “specialists,” which is not true. 1.Staffel, which was to be equipped with the new Bf-110C-4/B, a version with a fuselage mounted bomb rack capable of carrying two SC 500 bombs on a paired ETC 250 rack under the fuselage,  was formed from I./ZG1. 2.Staffel, also to be equipped with the Bf-110C-4/B, was formed from 3./StG. 77, and 3.Staffel, which was equipped with the Bf-109E-4B capable carrying one SC 250 on a centerline rack, was formed from 4./JG 186. Some crews were assigned straight in from training, including Leutnant Erich Beudel and his Bordfunker, Obergefreiter Heinrich Diemer, and Uffz. Werner Neumann and his Bordfunker, Obergefreiter Karl Stoff.

     At their commissioning, 1.Staffel was equipped with the Bf 11OC-6, only 12 of which were ever built, which carried a 30 mm. MG 101 in place of the standard two 20 mm cannon. 2.Staffel received their first Bf-110C-4/B aircraft a week later, while 3.Staffel operated the Bf-109E-4Bs.

     The heavy commitment of the unit during the Battle of Britain would take its toll: four commanding officers would be lost in action between August 15th and October 5th 1940.  An indication of the level of combat experienced by Erpr.Gr.210 is seen in the fact that four awards were made of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, the most for any single Gruppe in the Battle.

     Erpr.Gr.210 moved to St. Omer-Arques for missions over the English Channel on July 10, 1940, and flew its first mission of the Battle of Britain on July 13, 1940, against two convoys near the mouth of the Thames. No RAF fighters appeared, and hits were claimed on a total of 20,000 tons of shipping, with all aircraft returning to France. In the following days the unit continued attacking convoys, and suffered their first loss on July 24, when the Bf-110C-4/B of Uffz. Paul Hermann and his Bordfunker Uffz. Heinz Meinhardt was hit by AA fire from the convoy they were attacking and plunged into the North Sea east of Harwich. 2.Staffel suffered a second loss on July 27 when the Bf-110C-4/B of Oblt. Franz Fallenbacher received a direct hit with its bombs still attached and blew up in mid-air. By the end of July, Erpr.Gr.210 claimed 80,000 tons of British shipping during their two weeks of operations.

     The next few weeks were spent re-equipping 1.Staffel with new Bf-110C-4/B aircraft to replace the Bf-110C-6s, and moving to Calais-Marck airfield for the coming assault on Britain

     On August 11, Bf-109E-4Bs of 3.Staffel shot down barrage balloons protecting Dover Harbor, followed by Bf-110s of 2.Staffel bombing the harbor.  That afternoon, Erpr.Gr.210 sent out after Convoy “Booty” off the coast of Essex, accompanied by Do-17Zs from KG2, with escort from I/ZG 26. This was the first time 1.Staffel used Bf-110C-4/Bs, along with two C-6 strafers. The raiders were able to attack the convoy before being intercepted by a force of Hurricanes from 17 and 85 Squadrons and Spitfires from 74 Squadron. In the combat that followed, the two Bf-110C-6s from 1.Staffel were lost.  1./ZG 26 lost two Bf-110C-3s, while 2./ZG 26 had two damaged in action.

     August 12 would prove to be the busiest day of the Battle of Britain. Erpr.Gr.210 left Calais-Marck at 0930 to attack the radar stations around the south coast of England. Heading low over the Channel, the unit split into four formations. Gruppenkommandeur Rubensdörffer led the four Bf-110C-4/Bs of the Gruppenstab toward the station in the tiny village of Dunkirk, north of Canterbury; Oberleutnant. Otto Hintze led the Bf-109E-4/Bs of 3.Staffel to the Dover station; Oberleutnant. Wilhelm-Richard Rossiger led 2.Staffel’s Bf-110s towards Rye, with Oberleutnant Martin Lutz leading 1.Staffel’s Bf-110s to the Pevensey station. All four stations were hit, but the masts were not toppled.  All except Dunkirk were temporarily put out of action, but all were back in operation before the end of the day. All aircraft of Erpr.Gr.210 returned to Calais-Marck. So far, the tactic of using the fast Bf-110 at low altitude, operating below the radar screen, was proving effective.

     An hour after their return to Calais-Marck, Erpr.Gr.210  headed for Manston, on the south-eastern tip of Kent, joined by Dornier 17s of KG2.  Coming in under the radar, the formation made its approach unopposed. 65 Squadron managed to take off as the raid was in progress. Heading home, Erpr.Gr.210 was attacked  by 54 Squadron Spitfires and Hurricanes of 501 Squadron. One Bf-110C-4/B of 1.Staffel was slightly damaged.

     The third mission of the day came three hours later, when Erpr.Gr.210 hit Hawkinge airfield with a precision attack. Although considerable damage was done to the airfield, it was not put out of action. All aircraft of the unit returned to Calais-Marck, ending the most successful day in the history of Erpr.Gr.210.

     Bad weather on August 14 limited the unit to a second attack on Manston.  August 15, which dawned clear, would turn out to be the day remembered by the Luftwaffe as “Black Thursday,” and the darkest in the history of Erpr.Gr.210.

     That afternoon, the unit left Calais-Marck to attack Martlesham Heath airfield in Suffolk. Unescorted, they flew in over the North Sea and reached the target unopposed, though Hurricanes of 1 and 17 Squadrons had been scrambled to intercept. The Bf-110s hit the airfield, and damage was compounded by a direct hit on a Fairey Battle loaded with bombs. As the Messerschmitts turned for home, the Hurricanes finally made contact, but this time the losses were all on the RAF side, with three Hurricanes of 1 Squadron shot down and one from 17 Squadron crash-landed. One Bf-110 received sufficient damage it was not serviceable to fly on any other missions that day.

     At 1820, Rubensdörffer led the Gruppenstab and all three Staffeln on a raid against Kenley airfield, with JG 52 providing Bf-109s for escort. Over the Channel, one Bf-110 from 2.Staffel turned back due to mechanical problems, leaving 14 Bf-110C-4/Bs of the Stab and 1. And 2.Staffeln and the eight Bf-109E-4/Bs of 3.Staffel. On the way in, the escort became detached and turned back. Erprobungsgruppe 210 continued on alone.

     As he approached the target over Seven Oaks, for some reason Rubensdörffer lined up dived to attack Croydon, not Kenley, just as the last Hurricanes of 111 Squadron lifted off from Croydon, while 32 Squadron was scrambled from nearby Biggin Hill.

     Croydon, the pre-war civil airport for London, was inside the line of Greater London that the Luftwaffe was prohibited from attacking at this time. While the airfield was now used by the RAF, it was considered off-limits.  Erprobungsgruppe 210 sighted the Hurricanes climbing out of Biggin and Kenley as Rubensdörffer led the unit down on Croydon.  The field was hit hard, and as the three staffeln came off the target and set about climbing to re-group and head for home, they knew that two enemy squadrons were in pursuit.  Both RAF squadrons hit the Germans as they attempted to reform, and the Bf-110s formed “defense circles” for several minutes, but upon breaking for home the losses started.

     The four Bf-110s of the Gruppenstab came under attack by 111 Squadron. Rubensdörffer was hit but the Bf-110 kept flying.  Taking the airplane so low that he was maneuvering around farm houses, Rubensdörffer streaked for the coast.  A Hurricane managed to get within range as the 110 lifted slightly to go over a church steeple and set the fleeing German afire. Moments later, as the flames engulfed a wing, Rubensdörffer and his Bordfunker, Obergefreiter Richard Kretcher were killed in the explosion as they hit ground just short of a farmhouse. At almost the same time Gruppenadjutant Oberleutnant Horst Redler was shot down.  He died three days later of his wounds while his Bordfunker, Obergefreiter Johann Werner became a POW. Hit badly, Gruppe Technicsoffizier Leutnant Karl-Heinz Koch made a successful belly-landing, both he and Bordfunker Unteroffizier Rolf Kahl being captured. Three more Bf-110’s of 1.Staffel were shot down. Leutnant Horst Marx, who tried to help Rubensdörffer, was shot down by a Hurricane and abandoned his Bf-109E-4/B to become a POW. 2.Staffel lost two Bf-110’s, with three of the four crew being captured. The two RAF squadrons suffered no losses in the action.

     Even without the leadership of Rubensdörffer, Erprobungsgruppe 210 continued to make daring low-level attacks through the remainder of the Battle of Britain, taking losses that were never so bad as they were on “Black Thursday,” though the unit lost three more commanding officers. Following the great battle of September 15, operations tailed off until September 24, when Erpr.Gr.210 again set out for their third attack on the Spitfire works in Southampton.  Once again, they failed to hit this target, and took their final loss of the battle, a Bf-110C-4/B shot down into the Channel.

     In a raid against the Parnall Aircraft Factory near Bristol on September 27, Erpr.Gr.210 could only put up ten Bf-110’s for the raid when the Gruppenstab, 1. and 2.Staffeln should normally have been able muster twice that many, an indication of the state of things in Zerstörer units by this stage of the Battle.  Escorted by III/JG 26, the Germans were intercepted by RAF squadrons before they could reach the target.  As they turned and fled south, four aircraft were shot down, including the third Gruppenkommandeur, Hauptmann. Martin Lutz, a Condor Legion veteran, who was killed when his Bf-110C-4/B crashed.  The unit also lost the Staffelkapitän of 2.Staffel, Oblt. Wilhelm-Richard Rossiger. ZG 26 lost six aircraft.

     Erpr.Gr.210 flew a mission to London on October 29th losing the Bf-110 flown by Feldwebel Siegfried Troppl, who died with his Bordfunker, Unteroffizier Otto Buttner when they crashed back in France. This was the final loss of what was later known as the Battle of Britain.

     On November 15, Erpr.Gr.210 became SchnellKampfGeschwader 210 and reverted to shipping strikes. Having lost four Gruppenkommandeure, command was taken by Major Wolfgang Schenck, who would take the unit to the Eastern Front in 1941 and rise to prominence when SKG 210 became ZG 1 on the Russian Front.  He would later command “Kommando Schenck” to evaluate the Me-262 as a fighter-bomber and become Geschwaderkommodore of KG51 on the Me-262A-2a at the end of the war.

     Had more units of the Zerstörerwaffe been employed in the strike role like Erpr.Gr.210, particularly during the airfield attacks in August, the outcome of the Battle of Britain might have been different, since a speeding Bf-110 at low altitude was a very difficult catch for a Hurricane or Spitfire without a lot of luck being involved, as happened on August 15.

THE KIT

     Dragon’s Bf-110C-7 is the first large-scale Bf-110 since Revell released theirs in the early 1970s.  The kit is state-of-the-art in terms of mold quality and detail provided. 

     As regards it being a Bf-110C-7, the C-7 sub-type was the first designed-for-the-purpose fighter-bomber with outboard bomb racks for two 100 Kg bombs under each wing.  The C-7 is actually the second fighter-bomber version, and could be distinguished by being fitted with ETC 500 racks that allowed a two 500Kg bombs to be carried.  The C-7 appeared toward the latter stages of the Battle of Britain and was not built in large numbers.

     The good news here is that it is not hard to do any Bf-110C series airplane, since most of the changes in sub-types had to do with things that were not visually noticeable externally.

     The really unfortunate thing is that the decals are almost totally worthless.  The national insignias are the wrong size for a C-series airplane, there is no swastika, and there are no stencils.  About the only good thing is the individual lettering and insignia.

     The good news here is that Eagle Editions has a series of decals out for the Bf-110 that include several versions of the C-series.  These have everything right, including stencils.

     An alternative is to use the decals from the most recent release of the old Revell kit.  The bad news here - and I speak from experience - is that the decals are not very good, being thick, and pretty impenetrable to even Solvaset.  The Eagle Cals are $20 for a sheet that includes individual markings for three airplanes plus appropriate national insignia and stencils, which is a bargain in 1/32.  After my experience trying to “cheap out” with the old Revell decals, I recommend these by Eagle Cals without reservation.

CONSTRUCTION

     Overall, this kit is an ill-fitting pain in the posterior which, if you persist with it, will turn into a very good-looking model in the end.  The trick with this kit is to test fit everything three times before gluing once.  While it appears to be a state-of-the-art kit, it is really a limited-run kit with state-of-the-art molding of parts, though not accurate state-of-the-art molding of too many parts. You get better fit from most MPM kits.

     The three places where things are particularly bad are the cockpit and the two engine nacelles.

     Getting the cockpit into the fuselage and successfully closing it up is an event that can turn the atmosphere over the work bench a deep shade of royal purple, complete with rolling thunder and lightning flashes.  As to the two engine cowlings, do not waste time building the engines and installing them, unless you are planning to display the model with the cowlings off.  As with many kits that have features like open engines or dropped flaps, the model is really designed for the engine cowling to be open.

     The instructions for this kit are particularly frustrating.  They would have you build the entire cockpit, then glue it into the fuselage.  DO NOT DO THIS!  Instead, glue the cockpit side walls to each fuselage in turn (the locating pins are very helpful), making sure each wall is tightly in position along the upper edge, which will then allow you to position the upper decking correctly later.  Once this has been done, attach the cockpit floor to one side of the fuselage.  Be very careful to check that the 20mm cannons are in proper position; it is a good idea to cut off the gun barrels - they can’t be seen anyway, and doing so will insure that the lower fuselage center section fits when attached.

     With regard to the engine nacelles, you will need the front of the engine and the lower radiator face.  But before you do anything with those parts, you have the problem of making the cowling side panels fit.

    The rear sections of the side panels do not fit at all without surgery.  These should be attached in position BEFORE you proceed with further assembly of the wings, which will allow you to work both sides of the parts to get the panels properly in position.  What I finally figured out was that the easy way is to cut off the Dzus fasteners (which are incorrectly aligned for attachment to the other part), and glue them in position, Then sand down the lower edge of the rear panel, test-fitting several times, until you get it so it will both fit and allow the other parts to fit. 

     Once you have the rear side panels glued in position, then you can go ahead and assemble the wheel well and the upper and lower wing halves.  There are no surprises here.

     When that is done, assemble the two front parts of the engine.  You will need to shim with some .010 Evergreen sheet to get this properly centered so the props will fit correctly.  Alternatively, you could just glue the props in place, which is certainly easier.  After you have done that, you can attach the forward side panels.

     Once you have the forward side panels set on both sides of each nacelle, it is time to put the exhausts in.  This is tricky since there isn’t an engine inside to glue them to.  Not only that, but the outer exhausts are molded in such a way that they are extremely fragile and can easily break while being cut off the sprue; the good news here is you have extras of each. The trick here in installing these is to align them properly - they do not follow the curve of the nacelle when seen in planview. They should be at 90-degree angles to the wing spar, and the inner side of the rear exhaust should be about 1/16 inch away from the side of the nacelle.  If you glue them from the inside before attaching the rest of the cowling, this will be pretty easy.  Once that is done, you can proceed to install the rest of the cowling and then set aside the wing sub-assemblies.  Did I mention the exhausts are pretty poor?  Dragon did manage to “drill out” the muzzles of the nose machine guns, but these exhausts are just blocks of plastic.

     The cockpit is fairly straightforward and mostly involves a lot of painting.  The cockpit of the Bf-110C was painted RLM02 grey-green.  I personally wish the kit had supplied instrument decals, but the detail is raised and with care and a 4-zilch 0000 brush, you can get the panel nicely detailed.

     The seatbelts are nowhere near as nicely detailed as those by Eduard, but they will look OK once they’re installed and the model is finished.

     As I said at the beginning, shoehorning the cockpit into the fuselage is a problem.  Once you have the sie walls in position, test fit the cockpit to the side walls and close the other fuselage half.  You may need to sand down the edges of the cockpit floor to get things to fit.  Once it’s in position and you glue it, be very certain that those @#$%$#@!! 20mm cannon are not sticking down out of alignment.  Like I said - if you cut off the gun barrels you can’t see anything when done, and this insures you have sufficient space in there to get things to fit.

     The wing spar part is the one part where you will be glad to have those gun barrels gone as you push and shove to get it in position.  I found that if I cut off the locating pins for this part that it went on much easier, since the locating pins were misaligned

     As regards the nose guns, it’s a waste of time to install them as instructed, you aren’t going to see them anyway.  My suggestion here is glue the nose cap to the fuselage - without the interior part - once you have the fuselage all together.  Cut off the gun barrels and then install them at the end of the project.  You will be far less likely to break them through handling during the rest of construction that way.   

     Once you have the fuselage together - and I used a lot of rubber bands here to accomplish that, something I don’t normally do - attaching the wing and tail sub-assemblies is easy.

     My advice here is once you have that done, do not attach the aileron mass balances, the lower radio antenna or the D/F loop.  By the way, there is a plastic part for the D/F loop that is far and away easier to use than the ridiculous photoetch loop assembly.  The instructions don’t tell you that, but the plastic part is there if you look.

COLORS & MARKINGS

Painting:

     Right around the time of the Battle of Britain, new-build Bf-110Cs started appearing in a lighter color camouflage than the earlier 70/71 over 65 scheme.  This used RLM02 and RLM71 Dunkelgrun over the upper wing and tail, and the top of the fuselage, with a dapple of 71/02 over the RLM65 side surfaces of the fuselage and engine nacelles.  This is a nice-looking scheme, which I did freehand, using Tamiya “Light Blue” for RLM65, Gunze-Sangyo RLM71, and Tamiya “German Grey” for RLM 02.  The prop blades and the two bombs were done in Gunze-Sangyo RLM70.  I gave the model an overall coat of Xtracrylix Gloss Varnish to prepare for decals.

Decals

     The Revell sheet for their most recent release of the old Bf-110 kit has markings for an aircraft of Erpr.Gr.210, which I used here.  As I said above, these are not very good decals, and I had to replace the swastikas and lower wing crosses with decals from the dungeon.  After several applications of Solvaset, the decals finally adhered to the model and I gave it a coat of Xtracrylix Gloss Varnish to seal things.  I’ll say it again here:  get one of the Eagle Cals sheets.

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

     The Bf-110C-4/Bs of Erpr.Gr.210 were delivered to the unit new, and while there was a high level of operations, I don’t think the airplanes lasted with the unit long enough to get dinged up.  I therefore left this model clean other than to give it exhaust stains done with Tamiya “Smoke.”  The model was given two coats of Xtracrylix Clear Flat before I began final assembly.

     Final assembly involved attaching the landing gear, the radio antennas and the D/F look, the aileron mass balances, unmasking the canopy and installing it in the open position, installing the rear machine gun, and attaching the propellers.  The props and the landing gear are fairly complex sub-sub-assemblies, and look very good when completed.  When all this was done, I set the model aside and breathed a big sigh of relief that this time I had beaten the Dragon, rather than the other way ‘round.

CONCLUSIONS

     As I said at the outset, for a kit that is such a pain in the posterior to make, the end result is a very good-looking model indeed.  That said, the Eduard 1/48 kit (as difficult as it is) is easier to do and also looks good when completed.

     When this kit was first announced, the price was set to be around $55.  At that price, I would not complain so loudly about the problems this kit has, but at a price more than double that, it is to my mind unconscionable that the manufacturer could get such simple things as the bloody fit so wrong!  Say what you will about Trumpeter, but at similar prices at least things fit!! The fact that the decals are completely wrong for this version of the airplane shows very poor research on a subject that is far from being “rocket science.”

     Looking at it in the box, this model should be able to be recommended to the average guy who builds mainstream injection-molded plastic kits and has the patience to do a Trumpeter kit with all the parts, but with the problems this kit presents I have to say you should be an “advanced modeler” because you are going to have to fall back on a lot of skills developed for what should be “lesser” kits to get this model completed.  If you follow my map to the minefield you should get through it with less pain than I incurred, with the atmosphere over the table only turning a light magenta on a couple of occasions.

     This model is going to look very cool sitting next to the just-arrived Revell Ju-88A-1 (a kit with its own share of problems, I hear), and the coming Eduard Bf-109E series.  Add in the Hasegawa Spitfire I/II, and all one needs is for Trumpeter to produce a nice scaledown of their very nice 1/24 Hurricane I to have a very nice Battle of Britain section in the collection.

 Recommended to serious Luftwaffe modelers, with caveats.

Review kit courtesy of HobbyLink Japan.

Tom Cleaver

December 2008

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