- Published on Saturday, 17 March 2012 00:01 Peter Buckingham
1:48 Bf 109E-1 ProfiPACK
Catalogue # 8261
Available from Eduard for 29,92€
I have waxed lyrical over kits at the review stage many times. Mostly, the kits 'follow through' and are equally good when it comes to the all-important building stage. The obvious example being the 1/32 Tamiya Spitfire Mk.IX where the kit reviews went ballistic as were the compliments that later showered upon Tamiya when the builds began to appear. Credit where credit is due, especially at today's prices as there is nothing worse, in my view, than spending much hard earned cash and untold hours of bench work only to find that the expense and time cannot fully justify the build quality of a modern kit. Yes, sometimes the fault(s) lie in the hands of the builder, but this is not always the case.
Two recent examples where I have been a tad disappointed have been with the Zoukei-Mura 1/32 Ta152H-1 and currently, the Dragon 1/32 Bf 109E-4. The Ta 152 was generally very good but I had issues with a panel fit to the starboard wing in which there was nothing (or so I believe) I could have done wrong, it just did not fit properly – when the back was flush, the front was out and vice versa. This was a very long panel and required much delicate filling work. The other issue was the fit of the completed engine and bearers to the firewall – exactly as per the instructional build. I won't go into the nitty gritty, but suffice to say that I was recently delighted to read a magazine review in which the builder (very experienced) came across the very same problem and resolved it in exactly the same way. Having said that, my Ta 152 did build up into a very pleasing model and I have also heard that other builders have experienced no problems at all! C'est la vie!
With the Dragon 1/32 Bf 109E-4, the plastic parts are beautifully moulded and generally the fit is very good. However, with the engine build in particular, there are two pieces that have specific location pips to be placed onto the crankcases. Unfortunately, there are no location holes for the pieces to go into, just a vague directional arrow so you can take your pick of locations where to place them and just hope they do not interfere with anything else later on. Do kit designers ever make their products? I do wonder sometimes. OK, we are modellers and it is not the end of the World – we can easily overcome these problems, but why should we have to when we are paying top dollar for the product in the first place!
Why have I taken the trouble to mention all of the above? Because,(oh dear!) I am about to again wax lyrical over the contents of yet another plastic injection moulded kit! This time it is Eduard's latest 1/48 kit #8261 – the Bf 109E-1, the ProfiPACK edition.
However, I have to declare an interest here, although from the foregoing it might have already registered - I am a Luftwaffe fan but this will not cloud my judgement. Regular readers of the reviews on www.scaleplasticandrail.com will realise that we 'tell it like it is' as we are beholden to no-one and as such, respected by manufacturers and readers for our honesty - possibly why the site has become so successful in such a short time. It was with trepidation, therefore, that I opened this latest Eduard box of goodies, quickly looked at the fuselage moulding and then breathed a sigh of relief.
Trepidation? Those of you who struggled with the fit of the engine/bearer assembly and subsequent alignment of the cowling/casings to the fuselage of the Eduard 1/48 Fw190A will know what I mean. This Bf 109E-1 fuselage moulding is thankfully moulded full length, albeit with just the bottom half of the engine casing in situ! Phew! The vibes are good straight away – no front end attachment almost as an afterthought here.
So let's see what we actually get in the box. Two re-sealable clear plastic envelopes, each containing two sprues easily recognisable in Eduard green plastic and although I don't like to see multi-sprue packaging in one envelope having experienced travel damage in the past, this is a minor point, and in no way detracts from the overall quality of the plastic parts and the mouldings – they are truly magnificent.
Take the fuselage and wings for example, not only are the etched panel lines of scale depth (subjectively), Eduard have somehow managed to replicate even more delicacy into the rivet 'lines' and, having regard to my 'waxing lyrical' mode, I am getting quite excited about the finished model after some very thin coats of paint have been applied - it should look superb. The same goes for the 'fabric' covered airframe parts – Eduard have managed to 'soften' these surfaces with a scale-like cloth texture which is very nicely done. However, the eagle eyed amongst you will have noted that the ribs on these fabric covered parts such as the ailerons, tailplane and rudder show what looks like 'stitching'. If I was to be 'picky' (heaven forbid) I think this is, perhaps, too detailed and needs to be 'toned down' a tad by the deft use of a fine sanding stick.
Also, I wonder why Eduard missed off the jacking holes on either side of empannage in front of the tailplane? It is no problem to drill them of course as it is easy to locate their position, but it does seem strange. Checking my references they should be there - unless someone can tell me differently.
Flash? What flash! Ejection pin markings are where they should be, somewhere where no one can see them – well done Eduard.
Now for the all-important cockpit. As this is a ProfiPACK, there are two frets of Photo Etched accessories which include Eduard's now well-known instrument panel sets. I love these as they always make the overall effect of your pride and joy that something extra. My intricate painting skills are just about rubbish so I need all the help I can get in this department. Couple this with the coloured seat belts and you have two of the main subjects of any cockpit sorted. If you do not want to go the P/E route on the instrument panel then you have the option of a plastic fascia and decals for the instruments – the decals are good too – the sheet upon which the instruments and main markings are printed are from Cartograf, the other sheet with the stencils is from the Czech Republic! More on the decals later.
On the second, unpainted P/E fret, rudder pedals are included, but having inspected the plastic parts, I don't think I would bother to use the P/E ones as it is very difficult to see them in situ anyway. Also on this fret are the radiator fronts, 'operating' chains for various flying surface controls along with a very nice (and often missed) open canopy retaining strap and fitting. I like that.
As with most kits these days, the modeller is given the option of posing the model with open engine cowlings/casings, and in addition, with this marque in particular, to display the workings of the fuselage mounted MG 17's. This is where modelling becomes a compromise. Because of the necessity of the plastic thickness to manufacture the individual parts, something has to give. In cases like the 1/48 Bf 109, you cannot build the complete gun assembly with flash shrouds AND then fit the top fuselage engine casing. Tamiya achieved something like this in 1/32 with their uber thin magnet fastened casings for the Spitfire, so I guess it could be possible to replicate this in the larger scale. However, if you want a closed 'shop', there is a 'faux' MG 17 assembly to fill the bill but if you want to display the real McCoy, then some beautifully moulded MG 17's with hollowed barrels, plus flash shrouds for more realism, are there waiting for you.
Enter stage left – the DB601 engine, and what a little peach it is too. If you are going to show it then a tad more wiring and plumbing would certainly not go amiss. I've got the feeling that there will be quite a few of these displayed 'all showing' on the competition tables in the next few months. If there is just one shortcoming, then it is possible that the engine is slightly scale undersized, but having regard to my previous paragraph, you can understand why this is so. By the way, don't forget there are twelve separate exhaust pipes to fit and each has a recessed outlet to give an impression of being hollow – I wonder if some builders will go for an aftermarket 'siamesed' option here - I don't think I will. Lovely propellers with moulded-on pitch mechanisms and a choice of two spinners (check your references) complete the front end.
My piéce de resistance of the external parts has to be the wheels and tyres – they are just beautiful! The tyres are moulded 'whole' and even have the maker's name of Metzeler and the tyre size moulded onto to the sidewalls! You have to pinch yourself to realise that we are talking 1/48 scale here. Add to that separate six spoke wheel halves and hubs and you have an assembly that is equal to, if not better than, any resin after-market product. Superb.
The clear parts for the three piece canopy set are OK, but I would have preferred to have seen them slightly thinner, but this a very minor criticism. Eduard have also included a paint mask set for the canopy - but how about going the extra mile and supplying masks for the inside as well Mr Eduard. I am sure most builders will be displaying their model with the cockpit wide open, so 'every little helps'.
The instruction book is a typical Eduard production – A4, 16 semi-gloss pages with clear, black, self- explanatory line drawings taking you through to completion. This is followed by five pages of full colour profiles depicting four aircraft (two versions of the same aircraft) plus a stencil layout. By the way, Eduard has even included a small Errata sheet showing that they had missed Part E46 from the original drawings. Attention to detail - other manufacturers please note!
- Ofw. Kurt Ubben 6.(J)/Tragergruppe 186, Wangerooge, Germany, March, 1940
- Hptm. Hannes Trautloft, 2./JG77, Juliusburg, Germany, September, 1939
- 6.JG52, Husum, Germany, 1940
- Fw.Artur Beese, 9./JG26, Caffiers, France, August, 1940
- Fw. Artur Beese, 9./JG26, Caffiers, France, August, 1940
As I have already mentioned there are two decal sheets – one large(ish) and one smaller. The larger of the two contains all the main markings including complete swastikas for the countries that don't mind (all in a tear off section) and the option of 'split' swastikas for those that do! We are in the 21st Century aren't we? This sheet is printed by Cartograf of Italy and there is not much more one can say about that apart from the fact that when inspected, the instrument gradations on the IP can be read under a magnifying glass! The smaller sheet is printed in the Czech Republic and has all the stencils thereon which, I am sure, will perform equally well, but I wonder why Cartograf didn't do the complete package?
So what do we think?
Wow! What a little cracker. There I go waxing lyrical yet again, but somehow I think that Eduard will come up with the goods on the build of this one but readers on this site will be the first to know! If I was a betting man I would put money on it. The current UK price for this kit is in the region of £22. Value for money? Even with my minor criticisms - oh yes!
And by the way, if you aren't satisfied with what you get in the box, Eduard has a 'detail up' P/E set #48720 for those super detailers out there! We shall be talking about this set later.
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Our thanks to Eduard for the review sample. To purchase this directly, click THIS link.