Dragon 1/32 Bf-109E-4/B
|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 This was superceded by the E-4 which introduced a heavier canopy with an armor plate behind the pilot and a reinforced wind screen.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. Specifically built for the fighter bomber role, the E-4/B was normally equipped with a bomb rack and saw considerable service in the Eastern Front, operating alongside the E-7/B.
The E model was sold to several other countries and soldiered on with the Luftwaffe in North Africa and Russia well into 1941/42.
Yet another 1/32 Bf-109E variant, this time in a Dragon box. However, the plastic is the same as you get in the various Cyberhobby boxings. e the detail-junkies in the crowd as they have with their Bf-110 kits.
This is the Bf-109E-4/B version and includes not only all the E-4 bits, but also items that were part of the E-7 version, some of which were retrofitted to the earlier models starting in October of 1940. You really need to keep in mind that the bomb rack and drop tank were not initial E-4 items and were introduced during E-7 production. I have left the scan of the earlier E-4 kit up as the sprues are exactly the same, with only two small pieces used on the /B kit that were not required of the standard E-4. 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.
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. There are two markings options with this kit. Both planes are actually rather colorful, though all that color comes from paint as the decal sheet is rather bland. One is the box art plane from JG 27 and the other is that interesting segmented camouflage that one has seen in other kits in other scales from JG 54. The decal sheet includes the usual segmented swastikas, but these seem to be missing the white surround so you should get replacements. The rest of the sheet is good to go and either option will look nice when done.
Dragon/Cyberhobby continues to grow the catalogue for the 2nd generation 109 with this one and one does wonder how many more they can do. It would be great to see a series of Jumo engined planes as they have pretty much the same wings and stabs. This kit is little more than a new set of decals and a manufacturer name change. If you like these 109s, then I'd recommend this one to you.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer.
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