Airfix 1/72 Bf-109E-7/trop
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Bf-109E-7 was the last major version of the E to be produced, entering service and seeing combat at the end of August 1940. One of the limitations of the earlier Bf 109E was their short range of 660 km (410 mi) and limited endurance, as the design was originally conceived as a short-range interceptor. The E-7 rectified this problem as it was the first subtype to be able to carry a drop tank, usually a 300 L (80 US gal) capacity unit mounted on a rack under the fuselage, which increased their range to 1,325 km (820 mi). Alternatively, a bomb could be fitted and the E-7 could be used as a Jabo fighter-bomber. Previous Emil subtypes were progressively retrofitted with the necessary fittings for carrying a drop tank from October 1940. Early E-7s were fitted with the 1,100 PS DB 601A or 1,175 PS DB 601Aa engine, while late-production ones received 1,175 PS DB 601N engines with improved altitude performance – the latter was designated as E-7/N. A total of 438 E-7s of all variants were built.
The folks at Hornby have realized that the way to do model kits today is to do as many variants as possible from the same basic tooling. So it is with their 1/72 109E series. This particular boxing is for the 109E-7 and so has several differences from the initial boxing. Though not shown in the sprues image, this consists of a separate sprue that includes a bomb and fuel tank rack, the bomb and the fuel tank itself, along with the tropical sand filter for the supercharger intake. There also two types of pointed spinner, one of which is more blunt than the other. The rest of the sprues are just like the base kit.
The kit has an engine block of sorts molded in with the fuselage halves, like you will find with the Tamiya kit. This includes a lower engine section and separate lower cowling. The interior is very much like the bigger scale kit with separate rudder pedals, sidewall detail and harness detail on the seat. There is also a pilot if you wish one.
The kit also has separate flaps that can be modeled in the down position and Airfix has included the aileron mass balances that were missing from their Bf-110 kits. Also separate is the rudder, which you could place at an angle as the leading edge of the rudder is rounded. The canopy can be built in the open position and the three piece construct is quite clear with well defined frames. Typical of Airfix kits, the gear can be built up, though no stand is included. Both the main wheels and tail wheel have a flat spot on them.
Instructions are well done using only Humbrol paint numbers for references. You already know how I feel about this. Since this is a series two kit, you get markings are for two aircraft. One is the box art airplane, a very often repeated scheme of desert scheme plane from 8./JG 27. This aircraft was probably painted in Italian colors. The other is a Bulgarian plane in what is probably RLM 71 over RLM 76 with a yellow nose and rudder. One needs to match the large stripe decal. No swastika is provided for the German option so you will need to rob your spares bin for a historically accurate finish. I should mention that the instrument panel is a decal, which is pretty much the norm for this scale.
109 and Airfix fans will be pleased with this one. I am sure there is some niggling error in it somewhere, but for such a low price, I think that is acceptable. Those tired of forking over $20 plus for the Tamiya kit now have a much less pricey alternative.
Thanks to me for buying this one so you can see what it is like.
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