The large disadvantages of the earlier Bf109 E-1, E-3 and E-4 variants, were their short endurance and inability to carry any bombs. Further development led to the new E-7. The main modifications consisted in fuel system changes and installation of the external fuel tank rack for a new 300L external tank which increased the endurance by 50 minutes. Installation of a tropical filter and other equipment led to the creation of the new E-7 Trop. Although they were soon replaced by the Bf109F, the Tropical Emils became to be one of the phenomena of the air-war over the mediterranean and especially in North Africa.
(Source: kit instructions)
When Eduard released their 1:32 scale Bf109 E kit in it's E-4 variant (see review here
), it got it's share of critiques, mainly because of a clearly wrong canopy hood but also for some other details. While in the first place the Czech manufacturer's reaction was defensive, they soon had to accept the fact that they indeed had made an error. In the more recent E-3 boxing (see review here
) a first attempt was made to ameliorate the kit by modifying the wheels but the canopy problem had not be adressed for the simple reason that it is was of a different design on the real aircraft. This time it's different, since the E-4 and the E-7 had identical glazings, Eduard had no choice but to start from scratch and design new clear parts to please the Luftwaffe specialists amongst the modelers... and I'm happy to report that they have succeded in their task!
Eduard's new 1:32 scale Bf109 E-7 Trop kit comes in a mediume sized top opening cardboard box. Inside the content is the following:
- six sprues of pale olive injected plastic parts.
- one transparent sprue holding the clear parts.
- two photo etched frets of which one is pre-painted.
- one sheet of masks (with a separate instruction sheet).
- one instruction booklet (with a corrective sheet).
- one decal sheet.
The plastic parts are very nice with finely engraved panels lines and even finer rows of rivets which will look good under a wash of heavily diluted paint. I found no sink marks, no traces of flash and no ejector pin marks in the wrong places.
The additional photo etched parts add an extra touch to the model. Especially the cockpit interior benefits from them with some nice pre-painted instrument panels and seat belts. The underwing radiators get some nice grills as well. Surprisingly there is nothing for the engine which is rather basic in detail so if you want to show it on your model, some scratchbuilding will be necessary. But the Eduard kit can also be build with the engine panels closed of course.
As mentionned above, the clear parts are all new and... all right. Indeed, this time, the guys at Eduard did a good job and the Czech manufacturer should receive some kudos for having listened to the complaints of the modelling community. It is not common that a model kit producer makes such significant changes to one of his new kit, hats up! A sheet of pre-cut masks is provided excusively for these new transparent parts.
The A4 size instruction booklet is composed of 16 pages and comprises the history of the aircraft, a parts layout, a color table (Gunze range of Aqueous and Mr.Color paints), 7 pages of building steps, 4 pages of marking and painting guides and one page with the stencil data. The quality of the instructions is excellent throughout and everything seems easy to follow. A corrective sheet is included for the placement of the clear canopy parts. However, it is funny to see that the drawing still shows the wrong narrower parts, but fortunately this won't have any influence on the finished model.
The marking and painting guides in the Eduard kits are amongst the best one can find in plastic model kits. With the excellent decals provided, printed by Cartograf, it is possible to choose between five different aircraft:
A - 3./JG 27, Ain-el-Gazala, Libya, 1941
B - Stab I./JG 27, Ain-el-Gazala, Libya, 1941
C - 2./JG 27, Ain-el-Gazala, Libya, 1941
D - 2./JG 27, Ain-el-Gazala, Libya, 1941
E - I./JG 27, Ain-el-Gazala airfield, Libya, Summer 1941
The first three (A, B and C) wear the well known and very attractive (for the modeller) camouflage consisting of RLM78 Blue on the underside and RLM79 Sand Yellow with spots of RLM80 Dark Green on the uppersides. The last two (D and E) are unusual as they still wear a continental camouflage of RLM 71/02 over RLM65 with RLM71 stripes to darken the fuselage sides. It is to note that the painting and marking profiles for the last aircraft (E) isn't present in the instruction booklet and therefore must be downloaded on the Eduard website (direct link here
Eduard have produced a nice kit with this 1:32 scale Bf109 E-7 Profipack box. The fact that they have eliminated some of the earlier problems makes it an even better one. Despite being not perfect, it is by far the best model of Messerschmitt's famous "Emil" in this scale.
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