Sunday, June 10

Eduard Bf109E Royal class kit in 1/48th Part I: The special extras…

The guys at Eduard have scored a bit of a home run with their new 1/48th kit of the Bf-109E kit – it is full of great detail, accurate and is laden with many extras which add to the value and kudos of owning such a special edition kit of such a popular plane. There are heaps of reviews around all saying pretty much the same thing, so we thought that we would show you the kit built so you could get a much better perspective from someone who actually makes it!  First off we thought we would show you the instrument panel in 1/4th scale and then a look at the thermal mug the kit supplies as special extras – these are on show in this review

This kit contains:
·         Two kits of the Bf109E in 1/48th
·         Features like masks and Brassin wheels (constructed and reviewed her by us here)
·         Extensive external and internal coloured Photoetch sets to better detail the kit
·         A super decal sheet with 12 sets of markings for your aircraft.

 Today we will review the “Extras” in the kit – the 1/4th scale instrument panel and the silver thermo cup. (No assembly required for this one) We will build the model in Part II.

First of all in this kit there is a laser etched metal coffee thermocup with engraved artwork of Bf-109E. The authentic looking WWII style manufacturers plate on the rear of the cup is individually numbered (– recently there were even auctions for the more popular numbers)
This is a lovely bonus for the kit – I liked mine so much so I have been “ambushed” drinking my only tea (white with one sugar) photographed by my missus – the shot looks a little phoney but I assure you it’s me!
The cup is a lovely little bonus which I have already unfortunately started to use to house my paintbrushes – it is that good I don't want to ruin it as an everyday cup (excessive use with lots of tea) so for now it is on the shelf. Some might say it is a waste but I want to keep this as a special thing. Testament to how much I like it.

The second bonus in this kit is the brilliant 1/4th scale instrument panel of the Bf-109E kit.

The instrument panel for the royal class kits has already been done by Eduard in their Bf-110 kit. It was well received (coveted even) and the few I have seen made are very impressive. I decided that not to build mine would be a crime, so here we go...

The kit of the panel contains two sprues of black plastic and one of metal photo etched with another sheet of coloured PE placards. This is added to with a sheet of clear transparencies for the dial glass and lastly a decal sheet for the dial faces themselves. All of these parts are supplied in clear bags to keep them safe.

The black sprues contain the entire base for the instrument panel, the instrument bezels and the parts for the Revi 12C gun-sight, along with the connecting cable and plug connection.
The clear sprue houses all of the instrument faces with a few other clear parts like the “glass” on the gunsight. The clear plastic here is safe inside the bag supplied and it was perfect when I received mine.
The decals are on one sheet and contain enough for the whole instrument panel, there are one or two extra decals for the smallest of decals and they perform very well while on the plastic. Not to get too far ahead in the review my decals separated very quickly (10-15 secs.) and to get the best out of them use the sliding technique to keep some of the longer thinner decals from twisting. The decals are clear and all printing is in register and the whites are strong.
The photo etch placards are clearly printed and give an excellent addition to the decals. The writing looks just like the panels in the pictures of the real thing and they do give a touch of authenticity to the kit. Their appearance gives a neat look to the panel - just like they do in their smaller scale P/E kits.The uncoloured PE serves as brackets and levers for the instrument panel and replaces plastic parts to keep the parts looking as thin as possible.
The instructions are pretty clear but please do yourself a favour and get some reference pictures – and note that there are plenty of restored birds on the internet with new parts! All in all I found the instructions OK to follow with the help of reference pictures to double check myself with.

Constructing this kit could have been really quick – but I went on holiday half way through the build ( I made sure I took some reference to read) and I also made sure I took my time with it – trying to get it as correct as possible. The colours came into question, I wanted to make mine look as unremarkable or as typical as possible, not too much colour and I did try to keep the panel as much RLM66 + black as I could.
The first thing I did was undercoat the parts with a thick grey spray paint from the Halfords auto range – this stuff sticks tight and allows the paint on top to do the same. I decanted it and sprayed it with my Harder & Steenbeck Infinity CRplus airbrush. 

The rough cut after sanding and burring - then the real "Pleather" surface I came up with I was most happy with
One part I noticed was awry in the sprues was the head protecting leather padded guard on the Revi 12 gunsight. The one supplied on the kit was smooth and square – I went to work on mine with a rough file and pointy metal spike to rough up the whole thing, and rounded off the edges to give it a rough look. This was brought out more by splattering rough drops of paint on the surface to make them leather look. The black paint I then coated it with was dry brushed with progressive shades of brown to make the surface look worn. This to me was the part of the kit that came out far above my expectations – but that’s no reason to stop here!!

The instrument panel was given a coat of Tamiya “German Grey” which is roughly the same as RLM 66 then the lighter Tamiya grey shade went for a “Top down” shoot with the airbrush to show a lightened effect from the upper surfaces like you would see in real life.
The instrument bezels and switches were all painted in Tamiya “NATO Black” which I think gives a great approximation of scaled down black colour. I  wanted an only slightly new(ish) looking panel and I found this still let you see the joins in the plastic a little better than a jet black would. It cut down on the weathering effect I needed to apply as well.
The Revi 12C gunsight is very well detailed and looks very much like the real thing. I disregarded the instructions calling for this to be a copper colour in some areas, as I thought the colour was too strong and not like the pictures I had. Whilst I know some of these sights were painted a silver colour I kept mine RLM66. Some silver flakes with a pencil to show slight wear and I was happy with the finish. The two glass sights for the gunsight went on with superglue and some RLM66 on the “metal” surfaces. I cannot say that this was the easiest process as they are at odd angles and the PE sight on the front doesn’t really fit in so well in my experience - I did have a few cups of tea in my new cup between making it to keep calm -  praying for nothing to break!

The secret for me to making this gunsight as realistic as possible was spraying a very thick undercoat to seal any gaps and the great pitted look I got with the headrest – now I went onto the panel itself.
After a coat of RLM 66 I identified the Bezels and other parts that would need to be “black” and I stuck them down with tape and gave them some Tamiya “NATO Black” with my airbrush. This black as I mentioned is not as dark as usual black and showed a not such a fresh colour for a used looking appearance.

Whilst this was drying I went to town with the excellent placards of photo etch – these are superbly printed and you can read everything on them (with a German-English dictionary) they really look good on this panel.

The instrument panels that needed to be blue and yellow were easily and neatly coloured with paint pens – this left a neat and quickly applied colour to the instruments. I did not want to go to town here so I just made two colours as suggested and left the rest black. Not all were the same colours so I went with what I found in most pictures.
Next came the decals. As I have mentioned earlier these – once soaked in water separate very quickly (15-20 secs.) so get ready to slide them off or you will potentially have some twisting problems  – if you keep on it and set up a bit of a chain they can be applied very fast indeed.

I found one mistake on these decals - only one which can be easily rectified – the Turn/ bank indicator is miss-spelt – “DRAHT” instead of “DREHT” – this however is covered by the dial when it is sitting on the deck anyway!! So no real foul there and a nice recovery. 
From the picture you can see the tricky way that Eduard have made the three bottom bezels printed on the reverse side to the front so they stick to the inside of the “Glass”, a nice bit of thinking. Also the inside of the bulged compass  glass there is a decal that stretched across inside it (following the glass contour)– after some careful placement it looks great as well.
After this the instrument panel pre-painted PE dials went on with just one small dot of superglue in the provided space marked with a white dot. The pictures here show just after application it was a bit “Hot” on the decals – this died down though. I would however next time use wood glue as you had to wait a while to cover the dials with the plastic transparencies – otherwise they will scar- you can take my word for it!
The transparencies seemed a little large to fit but fit they did once housed inside the bezels -  two spots of glue on each of the locating pins was all that is required – once this is done you should be ready for the major assembly.

This is how the kit goes together – an easy construction which took me a day or two because of a punctuated schedule. The measurements of this are 16cm high x 19cm wide x 7.5cm deep – I do think I will grab a framer friend of mine to add the mounting touch to it – this kit deserves it!!

All in all these are the extras that come along with the Bf-109E Royal Class kit (don’t forget the Brassin wheels we made up already) they are for me even more appealing than the kit in some ways – but they do leave me hungry to make this instrument panel in smaller scale – I will need a decent cup of tea first though – and I think I know just the vessel!!

Great stuff Eduard – next the Bf-109E in 1/48th kit in Pt II – but which version?
Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Eduard for the Royal class kit – and the fun I had making the IP!