Trumpeter 1/32 Bf-109E-7

KIT #: 02291
PRICE: $57.00 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes photo etch parts


In late 1938, the
Bf 109E entered production. To improve on the performance afforded by the rather small 441515 kW (600700 PS) Jumo 210, the larger Daimler-Benz DB 601A engine was used, yielding an extra 223 kW (300 PS) 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-7 was the final production variant of the E series, 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.

To be honest, were this kit not available for about 30% of its selling price, I would have passed it up. Trumpeter has an unenviable reputation of an inability to produce a completely accurate aircraft model and while I am sure this one has an error or two somewhere along the line, I'll leave that up to those who live for finding glitches.

The kit comes with a nicely done photo etch fret that is used for the seat harness, head armor, rudder pedals, oil and coolant radiator grilles, wheel wells, tank strap and a few other areas in the kit. Several of these p.e. options are duplicated in plastic so if one wants to stick with styrene, one can.

As one expects from Chinese kits, there is a lot of detail. This kit has a full nose and wing gun bay and while the builder may not want these areas exposed, the parts still have to be pretty much installed. This is especially true of the full engine that is provided. If you do not install the engine, you have no way to attach the exhaust and prop. Now it does not mean that the complete assembly has to be done, but at least the major portions do. This is particularly true of the engine as you can see it through various openings in the cowling.

You would expect a high level of detail in a modern 1/32 kit and you get it as you have seen from the above paragraph. The cockpit comes fully equipped with fully detailed side panels. An interesting option is a full radio suite to fit inside the fuselage. The radio access door is a separate item so those with a flashlight can see the work you have done in there. Inside the fuselage halves is all the framework you would expect as well.

Both the nose gun compartment and wing cannon are nicely detailed with removeable access panels. A first for me an any scale 109 is that the fuselage fuel tank that sits under the pilot's seat is included. The kit comes with separate flaps, slats and ailerons, but it seems these are to be posed closed or the neutral position. There are no slat tracks.  For things under the fuselage you have a choice of either a drop tank or a bomb. Since the decal options are for fighter-bombers, the bomb would be the most appropriate.

Landing gear are well detailed and include photo etch for the brake lines. Tires and wheels are separate with the tires being molded in rubber/vinyl. This is true of the tail wheel assembly as well. The rudder is also a separate item, but thanks to the rudder actuating rods, can only be posed in the neutral position. The canopy is the later, more heavily framed version as appropriate to the E-4 and E-7 versions. The kit comes with three prop hubs. There is the very pointy closed hub, the one that is a bit more rounded, and the version not used on the E-7 with an opening in the middle. However, inclusion of this hub means you can build this as an E-4 if you wish. Just be sure to leave off the bomb rack or drop tank rack if you wish to do a Battle of Britian E-4 as these earlier planes were pretty much not modified until after this period of time.

Instructions are well done and include any pertinent painting information. RLM02 was standard at this time for the interior and the wheel wells as the RLM 66 requirement was not mandated until November 1941. Markings are for two planes. One is the box art aircraft from 8./ZG. 1 in Russia during mid-late 1942. It is in RLM 71/02 over RLM 65 with the usual Russian Front yellow bits. The other is from Schlachtgeschwader 1 at Kharkov in 1943. This one is in RLM 74/75/76 with the entire cowling in yellow and no lower wing yellow bits. The decals are quite well done and the full color color and markings guide has a variety of paint options. I found it odd that there was no listing under Model Master for most of the RLM number paints as they are clearly found in the Testors paint line.

One thing of which we have no lack is 1/32 Bf-109E kits. Recently (as in the last few years), we have had this and the Cyber-hobby/Dragon, as well as the Eduard kit released. It is probably this abundance that made it possible for me to grab this one on special. If you are looking for a 1/32 109E, this may be a kit for you.


My thanks to me for my sharp purchasing skills at getting this one on sale.

April 2013

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