Messerschmitt Bf 110F in 1/48...
...a lovely new kit from Eduard
Kit Ref #8207, a new Profipack 1/48 kit of the Messerschmitt Bf 110F. With this series you get the kit which also includes painting masks, and most importantly I always think, the etch frets that carry the pre-printed instrument and radio panels plus seat belts and other small detail fittings for the model, the cockpit in particular.
One of the most significant features of the Bf110 was the long cockpit glazing and in 1/48 thus means lots will be visible on the completed model. On the basis I have been a modeller for over 50 years now, I find myself feeling we are so lucky to have the kind of detailing we get in kits these days, and this is a super example of those improvements. The first thing you notice when you open the box is just how full it is with parts sprues. An indicator that there are other 110 variants in the range from Eduard are the number of unused parts that you will have left over to put in your spares box, even two main fuselage halves. The build starts with that marvellous cockpit and with the pilot's position. There is a cockpit floor and seat, complete with the pre-coloured etch steel seatbelts, plus the side consoles that even have etch detail not only for the instrumentation, but even the throttle levers. The instrument panel fives you a choice of one with raised instruments you can hand paint, a flat one with a printed transfer, or my favourite, the pre-printed etch parts which are beautifully done. There are even etch metal rudder pedals. Behind the pilot's position are the two floor mounted MG FF cannon, and the swivel seat for the gunner, so he could twist round to reload the ammunition magazines for the cannon, or face to the rear where he manned the rear firing MG 15. He also had the radio to operate, and these elements also have etch coloured panels which look so good. Add to this stowage of spare drum magazines for the two cannon as well as the distinctive twin drum magazines for the MG 15. This rear section has sidewalls to fit before you join the front and rear elements of the cockpit together and then fit them within the two fuselage halves. Only with this done do you add the MG 15 mounting to the rear of the cockpit. More armament comes next with the four nose mounted MG 17 machine guns. The detail in these will allow for an interesting display of the model with the cover removed for servicing the weapons by ground crew.
The instruction then use space to illustrate all the masking for the panels of the cockpit glazing, even though that itself is not yet fitted. You will need to have made firm decisions on which of the build options you are going for, as assembling the wings mean you have to drill out certain holes depending on which one you are making before you joining the halves together. The next stages involve the two engine nacelles and the undercarriage wells, plus the radiators. Before fitting the undercarriage itself, the wings and the tailplane are fitted to the fuselage. Then add the undercarriage itself, the undercarriage doors and the appropriate set of exhausts for you chosen option. Then you get to the long cockpit canopy which has more detail to fit to it, and it can be assembled with crew access panels open or closed. Personally I think the open option is irresistible so that all that marvellous internal detail can be easily viewed.
The final elements depend on your choice of marking options with belly pack, small wing mounted bomb racks, and back to etch details for the radar aerials mounted on the nose.
So, let's consider the colours and marking options.
A. Bf 110F-2 flown by Oblt. G Tonne, the CO of 11./ZG 1 at Belgorod in the Soviet Union during June 1942. A mix of splinter camouflage and mottling to the fuselage sides, the yellow ID band on the fuselage and the undersides of the wing tips, it is distinctive thanks to the large unit 'Wasp' design on both sides of the nose, and the option illustrated on the box art.
B. Bf 110F-2 W.Nr. 5080 flown by W Frost with 13.(Z)/JG 5 at Kemijarvi in Finland during the winter of 1942/43, which has the temporary winter white overpainting on all upper surfaces.
C. Bf 110F-2 flown by Ofw. T. Weissenberger of 6.(z)/JG 5 flying from Kirkenes in Norway during June 1942. Splinter camouflaged upper surfaces and the yellow ID marking under the wing tips and the engine nacelles and an impressive set of kill markings on the tail.
D. Bf 110F-4 flown by Oblt. M. Bauer, the CO of 11./NJG 6 at Zilistea in Romania in June 1944. This is one of two nightfighter options with the nose mounted radar aerials. The colour scheme is the simplest and at the same time a little unusual, as it is an overall RLM 76 grey though with the lower starboard wing in night black.
E. Bf 110F-4 flown by Ofw. R. Kollak of 7./NJG 4 based at Juvincourt, France in June of 1943. Another nightfighter option with the nose mounted radar aerials it has a splinter scheme on the upper surfaces, mottled fuselage sides and an impressive shield squadron badge on the nose. Again, this has kill markings on the tail plane as well.
The final page of the 20-page instruction booklet gives a good clear illustration for the positioning of all the airframe stencils, another common feature of modern aircraft kits, not a feature we expected in my early days of aircraft models. All in all a lovely model, and one I am really looking forward to building.
Thanks to Eduard for this example