Revell 1/32 Bf-110C-4/B

KIT: Revell 1/32 Bf-110C-4/B
KIT #: 85-5523
PRICE: $ 26.95
DECALS: Two Options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver
NOTES: Re-issue and a huge bargain.


     One of the well‑known "facts" regarding aviation development during the Second World War is that the Messerschmitt Bf‑110 series was "a compromise in conflicting requirements, resulting in a mediocrity," with a combat performance that relegated it to being considered a "humiliating failure."  As with many well‑known "facts" of this type, there is a kernel of truth in the charge; but when it is examined in detail it is shown to be a judgment based on wartime priorities of propaganda, and further proof that if a lie is repeated often enough by a sufficient number of “experts," without it being pointed out as a lie, it becomes "the truth."  The truth about the Bf‑110 series is that there are few aircraft in the history of aircraft development that have been more maligned more unjustly.

      The "kernel of truth" in the charge against the Bf‑110 lies in the pre‑war propaganda the airplane was subject to, and its incorrect deployment during two months of the Battle of Britain.

Termed a Zerstoerer, or "Destroyer", by the Luftwaffe, the prewar image of the Bf‑110 was that of a long‑range bomber escort penetrating deep into enemy territory and brushing aside all opposition.  Employed in this capacity during the Battle of Britain, the Bf‑110 was shown to be unable to compete in terms of maneuverability against the Spitfire and the Hurricane, with the single‑engine Bf‑109s being called in to defend the escorts as well as the bombers.  In truth, no Second World War twin‑engine fighter could hold its own in a dogfight with a well‑flown single‑engine fighter; the most successful, the P‑38, was only successful when it stuck to dive‑and‑zoom tactics against its opponents and stayed well away from the close‑in high‑g maneuvering of a dogfight.

      In fact, the primary design role of the Bf‑110 had been that of bomber destroyer, and in this role it was outstandingly successful, from its first interception of 18 RAF Wellingtons off the Heligoland Bight on December 18, 1940, when four of the eight bombers shot down were credited to the Bf‑110s of I/ZG76, toMarch 31, 1944, when 200 Bf‑110s went up against 795 Lancasters and Halifaxes attacking Nuremberg and shot down 94 of them. Two Bf‑110 pilots had scores over 100 ‑ Heinz‑Wolfgang Schnaufer(121) and Helmut Lent (102) ‑ with a hundred others having scores over 30.


     Revell’s 1/32 Bf-110 series was first released in 1974 - 33 years ago! - and was in and out of production over the years, with production seeming to have ended long enough ago that this “rare kit” has commanded some pretty stupendous prices on EvilBay in both the early Bf-110c and later Bf-110G night fighter versions. This past summer at the IPMS-USA Nats, I had the opportunity to pick up the Bf-110C kit for a “bargain “ $60 (a friend who knows these things assured me it was indeed a bargain), which in the end I didn’t take.  I think that dealer knew something and was unloading his kits, because this past weekend I walked into the local hobby shop, and there was the kit, with a full-boat retail price of $26.95!!  Truly a bargain not to be missed, so I was soon walking out of the shop with the big strong box (I know that seems an oxymoron with Revell kits, but it is big and it is strong) under my arm.

      Upon opening the box at home, I was truly amazed.  The kit is essentially Terra Incognita to me, since I wasn’t doing 1/32 kits the last time it was commonly available.  It’s really nice!  The 33-year old surface detail is contemporary: fine engraved line panels, nice restrained fabric detail. (In lieu of an overall shot of all the sprues I'm showing a representative one. Ed)

      Comparing the kit to the new state-of-the-art Eduard 1/48 Bf-110, this old kit holds up.  There are certain crudities to the way the cockpit interior is done, and there is a lack of detail (which can easily be scratchbuilt) in the wheel wells, but past that there is nothing to complain about.  In fact, using the Eduard photo-etch set for the Bf-110G kit, one can provide all the detail needed.  The canopy really needs to be posed open, so that certain inaccuracies there will be downplayed by the viewer of the completed model.

      Decals are provided for two Battle of Britain Bf-110Cs - a fighter from 3./ZG 26, and a fighter-bomber from 2./EGr 210.  Both were extensively photographed, so doing markings research is easy.


     With an application of modern modeling technique, this kit can be turned into a show-stopper with only the Eduard photo-etch set needed to make it truly outstanding.  Definitely a case of “And everything old/is new again...”  My old friend the late Dave Thompson told me that the kit was “mostly right” and that’s what you find here.  For those who just really really really believe that “too much is not enough,” Jerry Rutman makes a very nice resin cockpit for the Bf-110G that could easily be modified for the Bf-110C, as well as a set of accurate wheel wells.

      Highly recommended for Luftwaffe 1/32 fans, and at this re-release price it’s a serious bargain.

 Review kit courtesy of my wallet.

Tom Cleaver

November 2007

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