Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109E-4/7trop
|KIT #:||09110 (Jt 10)|
|PRICE:||2000 yen when new|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
When the Bf-109 was developed, it was planned to put the biggest available engine onto the smallest airframe that would do the job. The Jumo engine was the best available initially and the Bf-109A-D were powered by this engine. It provided a satisfactory fighter that did well when in combat in Spain. However, it suffered from rather meager armament. Having been designed for a motor canon (one that fired through the motor), these early planes were never fitted with it due as much to issues with the canon as anything.
With the availability of the more powerful Daimler-Benz engine, the E model was the result. This also did not have the canon, though it was initially designed with it. That would have to wait for the F. Instead it had either four machine guns (two cowling and two wing mounted) or two machine guns and two cannon. The cannon were mounted in the wings and standard for all of the E series save for the E-1. The E-4 had an improved canopy with a bit more power and the E-7 introduced the drop tank. Both the improved canopy and drop tank plumbing were retrofit into older airframes. By the time of North Africa, all 109s sent to that theater had these features.
This is one of the earliest modified Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109Es. The initial boxings (those with a Jxx number) had an issue with a too skinny upper cowling and rear fuselage. Since this could be fixed by removing material from the tooling, that was done. So word to the wise, do not spend your $$ on the J-3 boxing.
This kit also has photo etch in it, which was a fairly new deal back in the early 1990s. That is for the intake splitter, head armor, and the radiator screens. The cockpit is fairly well appointed, though any resin set will provide crisper detailing, and thanks to the basic simplicity of the 'pit, even resin will not be too taxing. There are full fuselage interior panels with the trim wheels. Rudder pedals are separate and one has nice detailing on the instrument panels. No seat harness is included and will be useful as the seat is quite visible.
The cockpit assembly and nose radiator assembly are trapped in the fuselage halves. Wing has a full lower section with upper halves. There are separate slats though there are not any slat tracks and the slats simply butt join. Flaps are also separate items. The machine guns fit into the upper cowlings and that is a later addition as they want you to install that at the same time you attach the piece that allows the prop to spin.
Landing gear are well formed and this boxing includes options for a bomb rack or an auxiliary fuel tank. Note that plumbing for the drop tank was standard in the E-7 and retrofit to the E-4. A tropical filter is included that fits in front of the standard supercharger intake. The windscreen, canopy, and backlight are separate to allow you to pose the canopy open.
Instructions provide Gunze paint references and you are provided with four options. One is the box art plane with JG 27 and will be a fun scheme to paint for those who enjoy somewhat complex schemes. Two other JG 27 planes are included with one of them being fairly well known in desert colors with green splotches on the surface. The well known one is red 8 with a similarly painted red 3. The fourth option is free of mottles and in a low demarcation line desert camouflage scheme with LG 1. This is your ground attack option, hence the S9+IS codes. Hasegawa decals are nicely printed, but they are a bit thick, need hot water, and the whites are really off-white.
I have built several Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109Es and have enjoyed every one. While most folks are fawning over the more recent Eduard kits, those are quite fiddly to build. The Tamiya kits are also good builders, but have some rather odd detailing that some do not like. Well, I like both the Hasegawa and Tamiya kits and can easily recommend this one to those who are fond of the type.
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