Special Hobby 1/72 Bf-109E-1 'Condor Legion'
|KIT #:||SH 72459|
|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.
In the last months of the Spanish Civil War, several of both types were supplied to the Condor Legion and later turned over to the Spanish.
While hobbyists have never had a lack of E model 109s, most of those have been of the E-3/4/7 version. Although some were marketed as an E-1, the panel lines did not meet that designation. SH has produced a variety of 109Es though not yet an E-7 and this is the machine gun armed E-1. One thing I noticed while going through the instructions is that 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.
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. There are three options, all in RLM02 over RLM 65. All have white rudders and white upper and lower wing tips. The exhaust area leading back to just past the trailing edge of the wing is in black. The first option is the box art plane of Oblt. Hans Schmoller-Haldy in March 1939. Next is Lt. Karl-Wolfgang Redlich in 1938/39. The final option is Hptm. Siebeit Reents, also from the 1938/39 time frame. 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 elsewhere for that. 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.
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