Special Hobby 1/72 Bf-109E-3

KIT #: SH 72443
PRICE: @$20.00
DECALS: Three 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.

These aircraft are the ones that fought in the last months of the Spanish Civil War and the first year of WWII in Europe.


While hobbyists have never had a lack of E model 109s, most of those have been of the E-3/4/7 version. The only other dedicated 109E-3 that comes to mind is the Tamiya kit, which is widely available and fairly nice as expected from Tamiya. However, Special Hobby has a slightly different idea of what is expected in a kit, and that is a lot of detail.  This kit comes with an engine. This means a number of separate fuselage panels so the builder needs to take care in construction if building it without all the nose panels open. One thing is that they have developed separate sprues for the different variants. In this case as well as the E-1 boxing, the sprue dedicated to the wings is different to take into account the differences.

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. All E models had their interiors painted RLM 02. 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. 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. There are five options with the first being the box art plane with the fuselage sides in RLM 02 as flown by Werner Molders in France during 1940. Next, with an all white nose, rudder, wing and stab tips, is Uffz Karl Wolff's plane from August 1940, also in France. With an all yellow nose and rudder is Oblt 'Pips' Priller's plane from July-Oct 1940 in France. Like the first option, it has a non-standard upper wing pattern. The first of the 'clean' fuselage planes is that of Ofw Anton Hackl in Norway during mid-late 1940 This plane has a yellow rudder and yellow segment to the spinner. Finally we have Heinz Bar's plane during the summer of 1940. This aircraft has the upper scheme in RLM 70/71 with no additional color on the airframe. Special Hobby provides a variety of resin bits via the parent company, CMK and canopy masks as well. The decal sheet is nicely done and provides a full stencil suite.


Those wanting a simple kit will have to look to the Tamiya kit 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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