Eduard 1/48 Bf-110E
KIT #: 8203
PRICE: $49.95 MSRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Dan Lee
NOTES: Includes photo etch fret, masks and a resin wiener dog.

HISTORY

The twin engined Bf-110 was one of the few aircraft that served the entire length of WW2 in many roles (similar to the Junkers Ju-88.)  In some ways it was a testimony of the design, but also the inept R&D organization of Nazi Germany who failed to have any coherent plan for developing the next generation replacements for itís front line equipment.

After the Battle of Britain, most of the Bf-110s were moved to the Eastern Front to serve as fighter bombers.  The Bf-110E was a development of the Bf-110D fighter bomber because the Luftwaffe wanted it to carry a heavier bomb load at a longer range. 

The Dachshunds of the Dackelstaffel aka Flying Dachshunds

1(Z)JG77 (as it was originally designated as) was called the Flying Dachshunds due to the three Dachshunds who became the unit mascots.  The long haired one was called Barnsee (Bear), a short haired one was called Herdia (named after their Norway base) and the last one was called Lockheed (named after the unitís first kill, a Lockheed Hudson.)  Lockheed was used as the model for the unitís emblem, a Dachshund chewing on a Soviet I-16.  As noted, the dogs sometimes flew with the aircrew on missions.

Lockheed died in April of 1945 when he and a pilot were killed in a Bf-109 crash.  Unfortunately, Lockheed was found to be the cause of said crash.

Summarized from the Eduard Insert

THE KIT

See Tom Cleaverís Preview of this kit.

CONSTRUCTION

As per usual, construction began with washing the parts with some soapy water and a gentle scrub from an old soft toothbrush.  Once dry, I started with painting many of the internal parts with Gunzeís H70 RLM 02 paint before assembly.

The Bf-110 front Ďpit is fairly straight forward, even with the PE, to assemble while the rear cockpit is probably the most complex cockpit assembly Iíve built.  It is best to follow the Eduard instructions (a big shock I know) when working on this sub assembly.   Some of the detail seemed excessive like the 7.92mm magazine racks located underneath the rear gunners position as it is hidden, but there are folks who will probably enjoy building it.

Once all the cockpit sub assemblies were completed, I inserted them into the fuselage.  Still smarting from the fit problems (self caused I suspect) with the Eduard FW-190, I decided to test fit the fuselage parts several times as well as deal with any potential problems ASAP.  Confident that everything would fit without issues, I began to glue and ended up with a similar fit problem that I had with the Eduard FW-190.  I paused so I could swear using combinations of words that could peel paint.

It turns out that I had a gap of .5mm to 1mm in the nose and around a .5mm gap on the underside of the fuselage as well as slight step.  I donít where I went wrong but obviously I did something wrong so I suggest anyone who builds this kit to be weary of the fit.  The problem with the Eduard Bf110 and the FW-190 is that if you have a slight alignment issue early on, it creates more fit and alignment problems further down the line.

At this point, I assembled the wing as per instructions and attached the wings to the fuselage.  Make sure that you test fit here as well as the wing attachment holes may need some sanding to get the wing to fit.

I decided that it would be a good idea to assemble the engine nacelles.  The one thing you should watch out for is that the engine nacelle parts sit too low relative to the rest of the nacelle that forms the wing piece causing a step.  I thought that pieces of 10 thou thick plastic card would be enough to deal with the step.  I was wrong (again) because the step was still there after I glued everything in.  Iím guessing I should have used 20 or 30 thou thick card instead.  In the ďnot in the instructions and too damned late to do anythingĒ file, I did not realize this till after the fact, but Eduard provides two plastic bushings that can be glued to the inside of the nacelles just behind the holes for the props.  These parts will prevent the props from tilting down if you donít glue them on.

The last thing I did was glue on the horizontal stabs, but not the tails as it would make painting rather difficult then put the model back in the box and let it marinate for a while as I worked on more forgiving models.

I returned to the kit after several months and started sanding all the seams.  The rear seams of the fuselage I limited the amount of sanding and filling as the seams along the fuselage are there (a small joy for me when building Messerschmits because Iím not a fan of sanding/filling.)  However, the remaining seams more than made up for it being a PITA stemming from the small alignment problem with the cockpit.

It got worse when I glued the assembled nose with guns onto the fuselage and was not surprised to see a rather large gap.  I used CA glue without accelerator to fill the seams and then sanded it down (twice.)  At this point, I opted keep the forward gun bay open because it would be easier to dress up the gun bay than to sand and fill it (by this point I was really starting to get tired of sanding/filling.)  There was the gap at the top of the nose (forward of the cockpit) that needed to be dealt with.

You should add the part that contains the rear gunnerís mount at this time.  I didnít till just before painting and discovered that some sanding/filling were required.

The next seams I dealt with were the engine nacelles.  They didnít have the best fit and I ended up using Mr Surfacer to fill the big gaps along the underside of the wing and pretty much everywhere the nacelles mated to the wing.  I used Q-tips with lacquer thinner to remove the excess.  As mentioned earlier, at the top of the wing where the nacelles attached to, there is a rather large step.  I ended up doing the same thing I did with the nose, thin beads of CA glue carefully applied, air dried and then carefully wet sanded (repeat several times.)  It took a good hour of work on each seam to get it right.

At this point I used various grades of micro mesh sanding pads to polish out the numerous scratches along all the seams.  It was there I discovered minor but annoying divots/dimples in the filled areas and needed to do some rework filling/sanding.  Once all the seams were done to my satisfaction, I wiped down the model with a wet rag in preparation for painting.   The lost detail was redone with a needle in a pin vise.

COLORS & MARKINGS

The markings I selected belong to a plane from ZG77 aka Dachstaffel which was shot down over Russia in 1942 and flown by one Lt Felix-Maria Brandis.  It is notable because it is the same markings as the Bf-110 seen in the Berlin Technology Museum (however it has props for a Bf-110G as the parts were salvaged from the remains of several different planes.)  That wasnít the reason I selected this particular plane but rather did for sentimental reasons as intelligent, neurotic and goofy Dachshunds are the dog of choice in my family.

Eduard provides similar to Tamiya tape canopy masks which are very useful for a major greenhouse canopy like the Bf-110.  It saves a lot of work.  The canopy bits were sprayed with Gunze RLM 02 for the interior and Poly S RLM 74/75 for the exterior colors.

This particular plane was done in a standard RLM 74/75 and 76 with RLM 02 mottling and RLM 04 on the underside wing tips.  I have to say that painting the plane was a relief compared to assembly as mid WW2 Luftwaffe camo is fairly painless to paint.  The plane was masked and panel lines were preshaded using MM Acryl Gloss Black.

Of the three paints, the lightest shade is RLM 76 which went on in three really light coats to let the preshading show through.  I let it dry for a week as MM Acryl has a bad habit of being lifted off with Tamiya tape.  I masked the plane using Tamiya tape and 3M Blue Tape for the overspray areas.  Poly S RLM 74 was sprayed on without too much difficulty. then I used Post It Notes to mask off the RLM 75 sections and carefully sprayed that.  The RLM 04 areas were masked off and sprayed with Poly S RLM 04.

To my dismay, some of the paint lifted off when I removed the masking from various parts.  I mumbled obscenities under my breath as I repainted the affected areas.  The paint was left to cure for a few days before I sprayed on the mottling.  The Gunze RLM 02 was thinned a little more than usual (paint:thinner ratio was 1:1) and sprayed at 7 PSI.  Unlike past mottling attempts, this didnít clog my airbrush nozzle (I used Poly S paints in the past) and it turned out very well (for me) as it only took about 10 minutes to do unlike the hours (!) it usually took with all the screw ups.   Once dry, I sprayed on two light coats of Future as a gloss coat for decals.

The props were painted at the same time, but not assembled.  The four color scheme (RLM70 for the prop blades and half the hub, aluminum for the blade roots, white for the other half of the hub and yellow for the tip of the hub) involved a lot of masking before assembly.  I donít recommend that you do this with the fully assembled prop unless you like making things difficult for yourself.  The aluminum and yellow were hand painted using Citadel paints (two light coats that were thinned with water for the yellow.)

The Eduard decals are a lot better than previous ones as they donít stick to the model once placed.  Everything went on without a hitch.  I added most of the stencils as well, but not all of them as I was getting impatient and more interested in just getting this kit done than making it ďperfect.Ē

Once the paint was dry, the plane was then subjected to a watercolor wash of black/burnt sienna/raw umber with two drops of dish soap all up and down the seams.  The excess wash was removed with lots of slightly wet Q-Tips.  I didnít want a real dirty aircraft as European front aircraft in general were much cleaner than their Pacific counterparts.

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

The landing gear were assembled and painted RLM 02 before installation.  There were lots of mold markings to be removed.  The wheels were two piece affairs which were glued, filled, sanded and painted without much difficulty.  I airbrushed the hubs gloss black and hand painted the aluminum rims and wheels (although Eduard does provide masks for them.) 

The landing gear is apparently very accurate, but sometimes accuracy makes for more difficulty.  It turns out that this is a fiddly assembly and not surprising with what happened so far.  One of the things required to assembly the landing gear is patience (in particular if you use standard liquid glue instead of CA glue) to hold the main landing gear strut in place at the correct angle till the glue joint is strong enough to hold it by itself.  I had to change the build order.  After difficulty keeping the main strut in place, I put the assembled and painted gear strut on first without the extension arm because it was easier to do.  Once the landing gear was joined but the glue was still flexible, I added the extension arm (parts J34 and J38).  To do so as the instructions say you should do is an exercise in frustration.  I worked on the landing gear for almost an hour just to get it ďsort ofĒ right and this proved to be easier.  The actual assembly is stronger than it looks though.  Once together it is fairly strong.

The props were then assembled.  I carefully aligned up the prop hub parts so the paint matched before gluing.  When I installed them, I noticed one was drooping so I glued it on with Krystal Kleer.

I added some 30 gauge wire to the gun bays to make it look more alive.  It is not accurate at all, but it looks okay for a non Bf-110 expert (like myself.)  I worked on the bombs which were fairly straight forward and painted them Khaki Green.

The other bits like various antenna, doors, bombs, tail wheel and canopy were glued on.  The only problem I had was I lost one of the tiny aileron counterweights and could not find a replacement in my spares box.  The last touch added was the radio aerial from the starboard tailplane to the mast antenna above the cockpit using invisible thread (with dabs of dried Krystal Klear as the isolators.)

CONCLUSIONS

This kit is not for the novice or person who has only built Tamigawa kits and definitely a challenge for a regular modeler like myself.  Test fit the parts till you are sure that everything will fit.  Like the earlier FW-190 kits, the Bf-110 is not very forgiving if you make a slight alignment error early on or it will add greatly to your sanding/filling work load.

The end result is that the Eduard Bf110 will produce a fine model, but it will take a lot of work getting there.

Post Script:  As noted in Tomís preview, the kit comes with a resin Dachshund.  I was lucky that I ended up with one that looked a lot like my last Dachshund, a short haired red.  I did a simple Penectomy to make the resin dog a female dog and with some careful brush painting, I ended up with a 1/48 resin model of my last dog.  So hereís to you, Minnie.  Memorialized in resin and acrylic paint.

Kit courtesy of my wallet.

Dan Lee

August 2008

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