Cyber-Hobby 1/32 Bf-109E-3
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Based on the earlier Jumo powered 109s, the E model saw the introduction of the more powerful DB.601 engine, providing between 1,000 and 1,100 horsepower. It was enough to transform the previous model into a much more potent fighting machine. Aside from the new cowling and the movement of the coolant radiators under the wings, the E model 109 was, in most respects, the same airframe, making it a relatively smooth transition on the assembly line.
The E model was built in four major variants. The E-1 and E-3 were built concurrently with the E-1 having all machine gun armament and the E-3 having two MG FF cannon in the wings. This was superceded by the E-4 which introduced a heavier canopy with an armor plate behind the pilot and a reinforced wind screen. It was al so cannon armed like the E-3. The E-4 style canopy was often retrofitted to the earlier versions. This is the subject of this kit. The last major E version was the E-7. It generally had a closed off spinner which had an opening for an engine mounted cannon that was never fitted to the E model. It also had plumbing added for a drop tank and fittings for a bomb rack under the main fuselage. This variant started seeing unit service in August of 1940. Often the earlier versions were retrofitted with this option, though none were so fitted in time to participate in the Battle of Britain, where the additional range would have been most welcome.
The E model was sold to several other countries and soldiered on with the Luftwaffe in North Africa and Russia well into 1941/42.
This particular kit is basically a reboxing of their previous E-4 kit, but with the required bits to do an E-3. In this case, it is pretty much the earlier canopy. Cyber-hobby has done their magic in terms of detail and provided a kit that should please the detail-junkies in the crowd as they have with their Bf-110 kits. As I always like to save a bit of computer memory space, I have used the sprue image for the previous E-4 release. There is no difference at all in the sprues provided for this one, nor are the photo etch bits different.
Because the sprue is the same, if you wanted, you could build an E-4 from this boxing or even the E-7. In fact, several E-3s were retrofitted with the E-4's canopy and head armor and I think that some were even given the plumbing to carry the drop tank, which was introduced during the E-7 production run. But for the most part, the E-3 had the earlier canopy set up and did not have a drop tank or bomb racks installed. Check photos. The kit includes two etched frets with one having to do with cockpit bits like the harness, and some of the control hinge parts. The other fret continues with the control hinges and has the large strap for the drop tank.
Anyway, this kit has probably the most detailed cockpit of any of the 1/32 109E kits on the market. The cockpit floor includes spars to help with the proper fitting and angle of the wings. The kit is designed with a complete engine, which are the same sprues used with the Bf-110 kit as the engines are basically the same. The kit includes full engine mounts, separate oil coolers and a detailed lower cowling. The engine can be displayed with or without the cowling parts attached and is cemented to the fuselage in the latter part of construction. There are full wing cannon with separate covers. Flaps and slats and ailerons are also separate with some of these parts having etched metal hinges. This was something I didn't like about the early big scale Trumpeter kits so it will be interesting to see how this works out on this one.
I found it interesting that the inner wheel well area is made of DS plastic. The real area is, I believe, either leather or canvas and could be easily removed to gain access to the wing structure. The landing gear legs include separate brake lines made of plastic, which looks a lot more realistic than photo etch. The etched metal hinges extend to the rudder and elevators with this kit having not only an elevator bell-crank, but also lines leading from it into the fuselage.
The cockpit canopy has two different styles of armor plate and can be posed open if one wishes. This includes the small spring cable that one sees in photos to hold the canopy open. As one of the options is Galland's plane and since his eyesight wasn't the best, it had a telescopic gun sight, which is included in the kit. As mentioned, the bomb and fuel tanks are not really germane to this variant and while included, should not be used unless you have photos that say otherwise.
Instructions are superbly drawn with the usual Gunze and Model Master paint references. Since it seems there is always at least one glitch, it would be worth while to verify the part you are about to cement. Cyber-hobby sure did not skimp on the markings options, providing nine of them. 'Yellow 7' of 3./JG3, 1940; 'Black <<' of III./JG26, 1940; 'Red 1' of JG27, 1940; 'Yellow 11' of JG27, 1940; 'Black <-' of JG26, 1940; 'Black 5' of 1./JG52, 1940; 'Black 1' of 5./JG51; 'Black 11' of 5./JG3, 1940 and RAF captured 'DG200', 1940 Most are in RLM 71/02/65. The decals look to be very well done and though lacking a complete swastika, provide all the insignia and data markings you need for one of the nine options.
For years we have had but two rather elderly E model 109s in this scale; one from Hasegawa and one from Matchbox. Now, we get two very well done kits from Eduard and Cyber-hobby. Both have a lot to offer and I guess it depends on one's likes or dislikes as to which to pick. The Cyber-hobby has more detail than what is offered with the Eduard kit in terms of having the full engine and greater detail in the cockpit as the major selling points. Frankly, I can't think of any 109 fan who wouldn't be pleased with this kit. I think that this one will be the choice of many 109 modelers for those reasons and it will make for a beautiful display piece when one is done.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer.
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