Eduard 1/32 Bf-109E-3

KIT #: 3002
PRICE: $74.95 MSRP
DECALS: Five options
NOTES: Patience will net you a very fine replica


The Bf 109 needs no lengthy introduction on my part.  Regarded as one of the finest fighter aircraft of the early and middle years of the Second World War this aircraft, in all of its’ versions, has a devout following of admirers worldwide.  The E, or ‘Emil’ version, is arguably the most well-known version of this fighter.  From it’s early exploits in France and the Battle of Britain to Operation Barbarosa and the early defense of The Third Reich the Bf 109E matched all challengers and made a good if not historic account of itself.


Upon opening the sturdy box you are greeted by six grey/green sprues with the parts (including an engine and open cowling gun hatch) that have fine recessed panel lines, very nice fidelity of detail and no flash.  There is also a drop tank and mount that are not applicable to the E-3 version (save this to dress up the old Hasegawa kit!).  However there are the ever-prominent mold lines that seem to be in every Eduard kit.  So, a bit of clean up here will be necessary.  There are also a clear sprue with the 3-piece separate canopy, gun sight and front windscreen armor plating (which is not used on this version), a canopy mask set and a pair of small pre-colored PE frets along with a 17 page color instruction booklet and two decal sheets (one of stencils and the other being the national and airframe-specific markings).  There is quite a bit of plastic here and the potential certainly looks very fulfilling.


 I jumped ahead and started with the assembly of the wings.  Make sure to take care in lining up the main gear supports (parts E15 and E20).  Placement of these two parts is crucial in making sure that the main gear is at the proper angle once the aircraft is completed.  Also of note is the precarious way that the cannon barrels lay trapped between the upper and lower wing halves.  So, some careful eyeballing and patience will be required here.  I used Plastruct liquid glue and attached them to the lower wing so that I could finagle the barrels into the proper angle.  I have found that Eduard’s plastic is able to withstand bending so if you have the angle off a bit of persuasion can work. 

The PE radiator screens are very delicate and can bend easily so care is recommended when handling the.  I used Loc-Tite super glue to keep them in place and then painted the inside of the radiator covers Model Master RLM 02.  PE parts 37 are a nightmare to place inside of the covers and after multiple runs at it I gave up.  Minor cleanup around the leading edge seams was done and then the wings were set aside.  The tail planes were also assembled and set aside at this time as well as the separate flaps and slats with the underside of the slats being painted MM RLM 02.

 At this time I moved along to the cockpit assembly and painted the applicable parts with MM RLM 02.  The mounting tab for PE parts 40 and 34 is too short so I drilled a hole where the tab would be and glued a small piece of wire to act as a tab for these parts.  I did deviate a bit and decided to keep the molded detail on the control box on part F1 instead of using the PE piece.  The switches are only replicated as paint marks on the PE piece and I preferred the look of the molded switches on the plastic part.  One could see about drilling small holes and using wire to replicate these on the PE part.  However, since the PE part is pre-painted I fear that the paint would flake off.  Anyhow, upon assembly I dry brushed the cockpit with Testors Silver and Steel and then used Citadel Armor Black for a wash on the sidewalls and floor.  The seatbelts do assemble just as the instructions show but make sure to take your time…you only get one shot with super glue!  Eduard gives you the choice of PE or molded plastic instrument panels.  Sadly they do not include decals to use for instruments if you choose to forgo the PE parts.  I went with the PE parts and used Crystal Clear for the gauge faces.

 The assembly for the chin scoop gives you a choice of screens and the whole affair goes together quickly and easily.  I painted this MM RLM 02 and set it aside.  Eduard does recommend that you add part E18 at the end of build but that really will not work…ask me how I know.    I would add it at this time while it’s easier to glue it into place.

 -“To show or not to show…that is the question!”-

 Moving along to the included engine assembly I was both thrilled and disappointed at the detail.  The surface detail of the engine block is very good.  The smaller details leave a lot to be desired IMHO.  The supercharger looks squared off and is very incomplete.  The lower section of the motor has the heads molded as part of the block and is highly inaccurate.  Basically what you get is a glorified engine plug that you can look at but cannot display outside of the aircraft.  Please see the comparison pictures to the Matchbox, Verlinden and Eduard offerings (left to right) and form your own opinion.  I decided to display my “Emil” all opened up and painted the engine and accessories the appropriate colors.  Assembly here was straight-forward with no surprises.  But I found the method of trapping the completed assembly between the fuselage halves a bit of a hassle for a few reasons.  First, the fit of the lower intake scoop assembly would be compromised, making fitment a real chore.  Second, the fuselage, once assembled, tapers ever so slightly to an angle thus throwing off the proper placement of the exhaust stubs in their respective covers.  This is very noticeable at the backside of the exhaust section and looks wrong.  And if you try to favor the motor to one side or the other then it becomes even worse.  So, after all of that work, I decided to close everything up and will use the engine in my forthcoming Matchbox ‘109E build.  I did break off the exhaust stubs and mounted them onto the supplied strip and put them into place in the exhaust ports.  These were painted MM Flat Black then dry brushed with MM Rust, Testors Steel and MM Metalizer Burnt Iron.  I glued the firewall and gun cowling area into place, painted them MM RLM 02 and the glued the fuselage halves together.  Fit here was alright, by and large.  There is some filling and sanding needed on the lower section of the nose.  I also deduced that my port fuselage half was slightly warped.  This would become a hassle later on. 


 At this point I mated the wing assembly to the completed fuselage.  The wing root had no gap whatsoever!  There was a sizeable gap though where the lower fuselage area meets the lower wing.  I used Squadron white putty to blend and fill this area.  Remember the warped port fuselage half?  Well, it created a small step at front of the wing root that I sanded down.  I then added the cowling and side panels at this time with the warp in the fuselage throwing off the fit of the cowling.  Argh!   And do you recall the slight taper of the fuselage that I mentioned earlier in this build?  Well, this all conspires to make closing the front end up a real chore.  Should you choose to go this route take your time and sand/trim in small increments.  I had to sand the front (i.e. nose) of the cowling to get a flush fit with the spinner.  Before gluing the cowling in place I glued the pair of cannon muzzle covers into their respective ports.  I then added the gun barrel insert, painting it MM Metalizer Burnt Iron and the dry-brushing it with Testors Silver.  Also due to the slight taper a spreader bar was mad from sprue and glued in place to widen the backside of the cowling for a better fit.  Note that the port side panel will need to be trimmed along with the lower portion of the fuselage where it mates to the panel.  The fit here is iffy and once you glue the supercharger intake in place you will need to sand and trim to get a flush fit here.  I used Plastruct liquid cement to get everything to stay together and still be able to manipulate it as need be.  Plus you’ll need it to fill the gaps between the panels.  After wrapping this up I went to glue the gun cowling into place and promptly discovered that the gun tray would need to be completely torn out to do this!  Are you kidding me?    The instructions clearly show that you mount the engine firewall and gun tray into place.  So, this snafu I’ll kindly leave at Eduard’s feet.  Furthermore fit of the gun cover is very bad with the fuselage being just a hair wider than the cover.  So, some trimming and super glue go this into place.  Eduard may give you the option of buttoning things up but it’s just not a simple thing to do. 

 So, to wrap up the building I added the upper instrument panel and gun sight.  The prop and spinner were painted Floquil RLM 70, assembled and set aside.  The landing gear were cleaned up, assembled and painted MM RLM 02 and also set aside along with the main wheels.  The rims are a two-piece affair and are vastly improved over the earlier E-1 and E-4 versions.  The tires and rims were painted Testors Flat Black with the rims being given a coat of Testors Gloss Coat.  A light dry-brushing with MM RLM 66 was given to the rims.  The canopy was masked using the supplied masks and then tacked into place with 5-minute epoxy…except it was not going to be that easy.  The rear canopy section rode just a bit higher than the rest of the canopy and was short-shot just slightly at the lower point where it meets with the canopy railing.  So, I left it as it was and decided to fight with it after the paint was laid down.  I painted the canopy framing MM RLM 02 at this time.


 I decided to go with decal option C which is White ‘7’ flown in the spring of 1940 with Staffel JG 2 under the command of Legion Condor veteran Oblt. Otto Bertram.  I really like the earlier style national markings on a BoB era Emil.  Plus the Staffel marking of “Bonzo” on the nose is pretty neat looking.  Even my wife thought it looked cool!  I prepped the model with a wipe down of rubbing alcohol and then used Floquil RLM 65 for the underside and fuselage sides.  Once this was dry I then masked off the model (with 3M Blue masking tape) and used Floquil RLM 02 for the topside.  Final masking was then done for the RLM 71 color…except my bottle of MM RLM 71 had dried up! 

Being 220 miles away from my LHS I reverted to mixing up a batch to match the MM color.  I used an approximate 65/25/10 mix of MM RLM 78, MM RLM 80, and MM German Uniform Feldgrau.  Suitably pleased with this I sprayed it on and let the paint dry overnight.  The following day I used Testors Gloss Coat to get a smooth surface for the decals.  Eduard’s decals are thin with excellent registry and opacity.  They also can withstand a decent amount of movement and abuse for those of us that are a bit ham-fisted.  I used Solveset to snuggle them down with no adverse affects.  The wing walk stripes are a real hassle to line up though and my port side decal suffered from my frustration.  It’s as lined up as I could get it!  Anyhow, once the decals had dried I painted the gear bays Floquil RLM 02 and the trim tabs with Testors Flat Red.  To wrap up this section I used Testors Flat Coat to seal the decals and give a proper finish.

 At this time I snapped the tail planes into place (no glue needed), added the tail plane supports glued on along with the flaps, slats, rudder PE rudder actuators.  The tail wheel/landing gear was glued into place but the fit on the main gear is a bit loose.  It’s best to use a liquid cement to make sure that they are set at the proper angle and I would let the aircraft sit overnight (as I did) to make sure you have a strong bond.  The main wheels were weathered with pastels and glued to the main gear.  The prop/spinner was tacked into place with a small amount of Blu-Tac. 

 The flaps and slats were glued into place as were the main gear covers.  The middle and rear canopies were removed and I trimmed the corners of the middle canopy so that the rear section would settle down where it should be.  The PE canopy wire was attached and the center canopy piece tacked into place with liquid cement.

 Weathering was kept to a minimum as Bertram was stationed in Bassenheim and not at the front.  Pastels were used for the exhaust and cannon/gun stains.  A light dry brushing with Testors Silver was done around the cockpit opening and canopy edges.  The wing lights were painted using Tamiya Clear Red and X-5 Green.


 The three figures were modified Tamiya and Matchbox pieces.  The feldwebel and the commander figures were modified with different arms and hands.  The commander’s cane was constructed from wire and a small piece of polished hollow aluminum tubing.  The pilot figure is from the Matchbox kit.  I cut off and repositioned his legs, added different arms and a new head from the Tamiya figures.  A cigarette was added to his right hand by drilling a small hole and gluing a wire in place.  This was painted white and the very tip painted black.  Flight goggles were made using a Tamiya goggle with copper wire for the strap.  These are hanging from the gun sight on the aircraft.  Paints used were a combination of Testors, MM, Polly S and Floquil. 


This kit is, without a doubt, the finest Bf 109 ‘Emil’ to date.  The older Hasegawa and Matchbox ‘Emil’s are certainly capable of being built very nicely…with much aftermarket help.  The Eduard kit, while lacking detail in the engine assembly, is a complete model that requires no additional parts to be “brought up to snuff”.  The five decal choices and PE sets just add to the value.  However, it does suffer from a few issues.  Where the kit does fall short is in both the fit and a lack of complete fidelity/accuracy in the engine assembly.  The instructions are not entirely correct with regards to building the cowling and gun areas closed.  A select few of the PE pieces are either hard to properly place or are really not even needed.  And the fit of the canopy is not very good in either the open or closed position.  These issues can be remedied though by the competent and patient modeler.  In doing so a good model may become an outstanding model.  I highly recommend this model for both a moderate and experienced modeler.


Modeling the Messerschmitt Bf 109B/C/D/E; Green, Brett, Osprey Publishing, 2006.  ISBN: 1-84176-940-1, pp 4-6, 10-19, 43-47.

Warplanes of the Third Reich; Green, William, Doubleday, 1970.  Catalog card number 88-29673, pp 540-547.

German Aircraft Cockpits 1911-1970, Cohausz, Peter W., Schiffer Publishing, 2003. ISBN: 0-7643-1873-X, pp 236-241.

Osprey Masterclass: World War 2 Luftwaffe Fighter Modeling, Coughlin, Geoff, Osprey Publishing, 2000.  ISBN: 1-84176-060-9 

The Great Book of World War II Airplanes, Grinsell, Robert, Zokeisha Publications, 1984.  ISBN: 0-517-459930, pp 444, 445.

 Review kit courtesy of Eduard via Tom Cleaver

Lee Fogel

February 2010

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