Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109E-4/7 trop


J 3




Three versions


Scott Van Aken




The 'trop' version of the Bf-109E was one that was designed for high heat and dry climates. Modifications to the airframe itself were really not that extensive, the major external visual clue being the sand filter for the supercharger intake. For the 109E this was a rather large and boxy affair that attached to the front of the intake on the left side of the nose. On the ground, all air was directed through the sand filters. Once airborne, the forward section of the filter was opened to allow clean air to get through. On later models of the 109, the trop mod also included attachment points for an umbrella along side the cockpit. Finally, there was a small survival kit in the aft fuselage that included rations, water, a medical kit and a rifle.



This was the 109E that put Hasegawa on to its major Bf-109 frenzy. It was also eagerly awaited by modelers who really didn't have have a modern, state of the art 109E in 1988 when this kit hit the market. It had it all; separate flaps and slats, a canopy that could be displayed open, a reasonably well detailed interior, separate under fuselage loads (drop tank or bomb) and a nice etched metal fret for radiator grills and the head armor. It even has the more streamlined prop spinner that was found on many 109E-4/7 variants as well as the sand filter.

However, it wasn't long before the 'ruler police' had at it. It seems that (and correct me if I have this wrong) the rear fuselage was a bit too thin and the forward part of the upper cowling was not exactly right. If I recall, Tamiya glitched the upper cowling as well.

It seems that these problems were ones that could be fixed by shaving material from the mold so Hasegawa went back and corrected the flaws after boxing about a half dozen versions of this kit.

We already know how great the instructions are so no need to delve into those. The decal sheet offers markings for six different aircraft. The decal placement guide only shows three of those, all of them in various North African camouflages and all with JG 27. The decals themselves are a bit thick and the white is actually an ivory color, all typical of Hasegawa-made decals.



It is quite probable that you won't find this kit on your dealer's shelves. Most modelers who are concerned about having a perfect 109 will have passed this kit for the more recent moldings. However, it can be found at swap meets for a reasonable price and if you can, as I did, pick one up. The 'problems' are not really that easily spotted by the untrained eye and you'll have a great kit for less than a new Hobbycraft version.


Review kit courtesy of my kit collection.

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