Tamiya 1/48 Swiss Bf-109E-3

KIT #: 25200
PRICE: 2500 yen
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2020 limited edition


To improve the performance of the Bf 109E, the last two real prototypes (V16 and V17) were constructed. These received some structural improvements and more powerful armament. Both were the basis of the Bf 109 E-3 version. The E-3 was armed with the two MG 17s above the engine and one MG FF cannon in each wing. A total of 1,276 E-3 were built, including 83 E-3a export versions. The Bf-109E-1 and E-3 were built concurrently on the same production line with 60% of production being the cannon armed E-3.

The Swiss built 89 E-3a variants and used them until the end of the war in the interceptor and training mission. The type was kept in service until 1949.  


Recently, Tamiya has started doing limited edition releases of some of its kits. The first was the P-38H, a rebox of its P-38F/G. This kit included the few bits that were germane to the H over the earlier boxing and came in a plain white box with a sticker on top. It also had a single marking option. Unfortunately, Tamiya used a warbird as an example and the markings are not appropriate for a P-38H, but the earlier version. This time around, they have simply placed their standard Bf-109E-3 kit in the box with a new decal sheet to cover two similarly marked aircraft. Tamiya did not take into account the different control stick and the different guns used by the Swiss built planes. This means that builders will either have to ignore the differences or do a bit of extra work to provide them. Here is a photo of the gun bulge area on a Swiss plane. You can rob a Spitfire control column to get close to the one the Swiss used.

Tamiya's 109Es have been around and while and are by far the best building of the type in this scale. The Hasegawa kit is a bit more petite in its presentation and the very fussy to build Eduard kit has more detail, but is a pain to build.

This kit provides separate flaps and slats and you can pose the canopy open. The cockpit is well done and sufficient for most modelers. You are provided a decal for the instrument panel if you wish it and you have a pilot figure to occupy the seat. The kit also provides a centerline rack for a drop tank or a bomb, but I don't think that the Swiss used either one.

For instructions you get the standard Bf-109E-3 versions along with a large full color camouflage and markings guide. The two different serial options are in RLM 70 upper with RLM 65 undersides. You have the option of painting on the red and white bands or using decals with them already printed. You will still need to paint the nose white. Decals are very nicely done and should react well with your favorite setting solutions.


So there you have it. Another boxing of the Tamiya's fine Bf-109E-3 kit. It is a shame they did not provide the different bits to make a proper Swiss aircraft, but any modeling with sufficient skills can duplicate them. Unless you really want these decals, perhaps one of the standard, and less expensive boxings would be preferable.



October 2020

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