Pegasus Hobbies 1/48 Bf-109E-4
KIT #: 8412
PRICE: $10.95 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Snap kit

HISTORY

In late 1938, the "Emil" entered production. To improve on the performance afforded by the rather small 447-522 kW (600-700 hp) Jumo, the larger Daimler-Benz DB 601A engine was used, yielding an extra 223 kW (300 hp) at the cost of an additional 181 kg (400 lb). To test the new 1,100 PS (1,085 hp, 809 kW) DB601A engine, two more prototypes (V14 and V15) were built, each differing in their armament. While the V14 was armed with two 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17s above the engine and one 20 mm MG FF in each wing, the V15 was fitted with the two MG 17s mounted above the engine only. After test fights the V14 was considered more promising and a pre-production batch of 10 E-0 was ordered. Batches of both E-1 and E-3 variants were shipped to Spain for evaluation, and received their baptism of fire in the final phases of the Spanish Civil War.

E-4

The E-3 was replaced by the E-4 (with many airframes being upgraded to E-4 standards starting at the beginning of the Battle of Britain) which was different in some small details, most notably by using the modified 20 mm MG-FF/M wing cannon and having improved head armor for the pilot. With the MG FF/M it was possible to fire a new and improved type of explosive shell, called Minengescho▀ (or 'mine-shell') which was made using drawn steel (the same way brass cartridges are made) instead of being cast as was the usual practice. This resulted in a shell with a thin but strong wall, which had a larger cavity in which to pack a much larger explosive charge than was otherwise possible. The new shell required modifications to the MG FF's mechanism due to the different recoil characteristics, hence the MG FF/M designation.

The cockpit canopy was also revised to an easier-to-produce, "squared-off" design, which also helped improve the pilot's field of view. This canopy, which was also retrofitted to many E-1s and E-3s, was largely unchanged until the introduction of a welded, heavy-framed canopy on the G series in the autumn of 1942. The E-4 would be the basis for all further Bf 109E developments. Some E-4 and later models received a further improved 1,175 PS (1,159 hp, 864 kW) DB601N high-altitude engine; known as the E-4/N this first appeared in July 1940. The E-4 was also available as a fighter-bomber with equipment very similar to the previous E-1/B. It was known as E-4/B (DB 601Aa engine) and E-4/BN (DB 601N engine). A total of 561 of all E-4 versions were built, including 250 E-4, 20 E-4/N, 211 E-4/B and 15 E-4/BN. 

THE KIT

These kits are designed for the youngsters and so are understandably not very fiddly. In fact, fewer than two dozen parts total and most of the bits are rather beefy compared to what you'd get in a Hasegawa or Tamiya kit. However, the kit appears to be quite accurate in terms of shape, something that the more advanced modeler would appreciate.

There is a compression of parts into a single piece that you'd expect to find in a snap kit. The cockpit is pretty well one piece with a large control stick and instrument panel. The landing gear is incorporated into the gear doors and there is a beefy wheels up set offered to enhance play value. These parts have some sink areas that those who are more fastidious will want to fill.

Attachment points on all the parts are very large as befits a snap kit. The wings have the control surfaces and lower wing tips molded on the upper wing, providing a relatively crisp trailing edge. Exhaust snap in place as does the three piece prop/spinner assembly. The single piece canopy is also beefy and thick so don't spend a lot of time on the interior detail, which is surprisingly complete for this type of kit.

Instructions are well drawn and provide six construction steps. There is no color information during assembly, but a note in the painting guide states to do the interior in RLM 02 with a black instrument panel. RLM 02 should also be used on the landing gear and gear wells. The lone markings option is for Galland's 109E-4 in RLM 71/70/65 with a yellow nose and rudder. I'm thinking that should be RLM 71/02/65, but decide for yourself. No stickers this time, just a nicely done water slide sheet without the swastika or any data markings.

CONCLUSIONS

A great kit for the new modeler or the old-timer who wants something easy but accurate to wind down from a difficult or complex build. Those wanting to use up remaining markings on a decal sheet or simply try out some new paint or techniques without worrying about messing up a 'good' kit will find this to be a real boon.
REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Bf_109_variants

March 2011

Thanks to me for picking up this one.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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