Special Hobby 1/72 Bf-109E-4

KIT #: SH 72439
PRICE: @$20.00
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The initial offerings of the Bf-109 were powered by the Jumo 210 engine, but it was obvious that the development of that engine was near its end and so Messerschmitt turned to the then-new Daimler Benz DB.600 engine. This was tested in several airframes and it was decided that the next variant would be powered by a Daimler Benz engine.

They settled on the DB.601 as it had a lot of growth in it and provided quite a bit of additional performance to what was basically the same airframe as the earlier Jumo powered versions. The initial Bf-109E models were built as both an E-1 with four machine guns and an E-3 version that had canon in the wings. They were produced side by side at a ratio of 6:4 with six canon armed planes for every four all machine gun aircraft. While the machine guns worked well at first, it was discovered that the canon were more effective and many E-1 airframes were upgraded to E-3 variants. The next version was the E-4 which fixed its armament on that of the E-3. It also provided a stronger windscreen and canopy as well as standardized on armor for the seat and head. Some of these items were retrofit to older versions still in service.



While there has been no lack of Bf-109E-4s being produced in this scale, it was logical that Special Hobby would produce one in their early DB powered 109 series. It is not surprising that the majority of the parts sprues are the same as in earlier kits.

The cockpit is nicely done with the usual number of tiny pieces we have come to expect from Special Hobby. Decals are provided for a seat harness and for the instrument panel. E models had their interiors painted RLM 02, though some will state that later variants were painted RLM 66, even though this was not required until well after the E model was no longer in production. You do need to install the engine to have a place to mount the prop. Also provided are more detailed machine guns for the 'everything open' option and a set that are just the barrels.

Rudder is a separate item though the tailplanes have molded in elevators. On the wing there are separate ailerons, flaps, and coolant doors, but they are shown molded in the neutral position. Those who want to lower the flaps, could fairly easily do so. The kit also provides separate slats and are designed to be modeled open.

The prop is one piece with a separate forward and aft cowling. One is also provided with a three piece windscreen/canopy/rear quarter so you can pose the canopy open. All of the markings options are shown with head armor though I'd check any period photos you might find of these planes to be sure of that. Landing gear are nicely done with the oleo scissors molded in place.

Instruction booklet is well done and in color. Most of the markings options are in RLM 71/02/65 with some having fuselage mottling and others without it. All are fairly well known to 109 fans. There are four options with the first being the box art plane with clean fuselage sides as flown by Gerhardt Shopfel of JG 26 in August 1940 from France. Next is Helmut Wick's plane from JG2 also in August 1940. His plane had fuselage mottling done with a sponge. The third option has its camouflage in RLM 74/75/76 with lots of side mottling and an all yellow nose. This was flown by Wolfgang Lippert in Greece during April 1941. Finally, also with side mottling, is a plane based in Rumania during May 1941. Decals are nicely done and you are provided with a full stencil suite. 


Those wanting a simple kit will have to look elsewhere for this. As mentioned, Special Hobby pretty much doesn't do simple kits as they apparently feel that modelers want a lot of small parts and removable panels. I can assure you that is not always the case. However, this kit has those features and that is the way it is. Anyone with a fair amount of experience building these sorts of kits will be able to make a nice model from it.

February 2022

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