In-Box Review
Bf 110D/E
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

After turning their attention to 1:48 for while, Dragon have returned to their impressive 1:32 Bf 110 and re-released it in a new "2-in-1" nightfighter boxing. The new release offers parts for both the Bf 110D and 'E, but it's important to note that this isn't a double-kit - you can only build one model.

Nevertheless, the box that arrived in the post is pretty colossal and very sturdy. Almost all the sprues are bagged separately, and the accessories are taped in individual bags to a sheet of card to protect them. The first impression is the sheer number of sprues - and it does get a bit confusing because quite a few of them share the same letter (for instance, there are 5 x "Sprue N"s) but it all makes more sense when you look at the sprue chart provided in the instructions and see they are actually moulded as one large runner and just separated for packing purposes. Even so, there are still 13 main sprue groups on the diagram, so it's clear this is going to be a reasonably complex model and, all in all, Dragon's Bf 110D/E comprises:

405 x grey styrene parts
20 x clear styrene parts
13 x etched brass parts
33 x metal wire parts
3 x metal tubes
Decals for 5 x aircraft

Let me start off by declaring my small involvement with the preparation of this kit, joining Dragon's existing advisers Jerry Crandall and Mark Proulx in supplying links and references etc.

I won't go into great detail describing again the parts that are shared with Dragon's previous largescale Bf 110C and Bf 110D. The main items are unmodified from the previous versions, so although the later Cyber Hobby 1:48 models have introduced worthwhile features such as separate leading edge slats and landing flaps, it's been uneconomical to retro-engineer them into their big predecessor. Nevertheless, the standard of moulding is still quite exquisite, with not a trace of flash and a level of surface detail that, 2 years on from its initial release, still looks fantastic with its crisp and subtle panel lines and restrained rivet detail, along with very nicely done fabric surfaces. The cockpit detail is excellent and the kit features a pair of very nice DB 601s.

So, what's new?
Before describing the nightfighting equipment, the most obvious additions are new fins, wheels and nose intake for the Bf 110E, which I have no doubt will appear in its own right before long. The fins are moulded in the same style as the originals and feature rudders with enlarged trim tabs. The undercarriage has been updated to include larger diameter mainsheels with new style hubs. The hubs are very well detailed with moulded-on brake cables. A new tailwheel is provided with, again, a larger diameter tyre plus an oleo scissor. The undercarriage details seem to match that described by John Vasco in his excellent book on early-variant Bf 110s very well, and although the drawings he includes show treaded tyres, photos of operational Bf 110Es mostly appear to show smooth tyres as provided by Dragon.

The nose air intake is provided as a separate part that matches the contours of the original nose precisely. One welcome change is that the nose has been modified slightly with the addition of an engraved cut-line on the inside to allow you to separate the top section correctly. The internal trunking isn't provided, so you'll have to make that from scratch if you want to model the nose open to reveal the nicely detailed guns.

Seeing in the dark
The kit includes a number of new parts specific to the nightfighter variants. Flash suppressors are provided for the nose guns in the form of short length of metal tube. Only 3 are included, the remaining MG 17 in the staggered arrangement not projecting from the nose. Some photos in John Vasco's book show a small unidentified item under the nose between the 20mm cannon ports and this is also included by Dragon.

The major addition is an impressive set of radar aerials and the FuG 202 set. The aerials are provided in two forms - styrene or metal. Both share a nicely moulded set of main "antlers" and mounting bracket, but you have the choice of moulded styrene dipoles or individual metal items, ready cut to length. The receiver is very nicely moulded and seems an excellent match for the unit shown online HERE..

Instructions and decals
The assembly guide takes the form of a large fold-out sheet of instructions. This is a bit cumbersome on the workbench and I would have preferred a booklet-style, but the 12 stage assembly is clearly drawn and seems to follow a mostly logical sequence. Where I'd take exception is over the wisdom of attaching items like the canopy and many smaller external details prior to completing the basic airframe. Colour details are picked out in most cases during assembly with a chart showing Gunze Sangyo and ModelMaster matches.

One of the few areas open to criticism with Dragon's first 1:32 Bf 110s was the complete lack of any stencil markings, so it's great to see that the designers have taken that on board and this time have included a very comprehensive set along with a placement diagram. The stencils, along with the rest of the kit's decals are printed by Cartograf to their usual very high standard, with perfect registration and minimal carrier film. The finish is very flat, which is unusual for Cartograf decals in general but what they always seem to produce for Dragon and, as usual with Dragon kits, no swastikas are provided.

Markings are included for five aircraft, all sporting an overall black finish:

1. Bf 110D, G9 FM, 4/NJG 1, St. Trond, 1942
2. Bf 110D, G9 DR, 7/NJG 1, St. Trond, 1942
3. Bf 110E, 3C EN, 5/NJG 4, France, 1942
4. Bf 110E, 3C LR, 7/NJG 4, Mainz-Finthen, 1942
5. Bf 110E, 3C AR, 7/NJG 1, Holland, 1942

Dragon's new Bf 110 nightfighter looks set to build into an excellent, striking, model that stand out in any Luftwaffe collection. It's obviously not a beginner's kit, simply on account of the large number of parts and the level of detail included. That said, I've been surprised by some reports I've read online where modellers tackling the earlier kits in the series have complained of difficulty actually squeezing everything together - although leaving London forced me to abandon my own build of the Bf 110C, I'd completed the fuselage and hit no real problems and test-fitting the wings didn't indicate any pitfalls ahead. Highly recommended for fans of Luftwaffe aircraft with a bit of experience and plenty of room on their display shelf.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Superbly moulded and detailed. Excellent quality decals, including stencils this time.
Lows: Quite a complex kit, so maybe a bit too ambitious for inexperienced modellers.
Verdict: Dragon's 2-in-1 kit looks set to build into a highly impressive model of an early Luftwaffe nightfighter.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: 3210
  Suggested Retail: TBC
  PUBLISHED: Aug 23, 2010

Our Thanks to Dragon Models!
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


wow this looks amazing! I guess another '110 is in my future. I'd love to compare and contrast this to the revell kit...from the sprue shots alone its apples and oranges.
AUG 23, 2010 - 02:15 AM
The RoG kits aren't even in the same solar system. Having built the RoG G-4 nightfighter, I would warn everyone to avoid them like the proverbial plague. Nice review, Rowan! Cheers.
AUG 23, 2010 - 06:24 AM
I really like the look of these big 1/32 110 kits. Is anyone who knows this a/c and has the kit in a position to say if Dragon will eventually be able to release a "G" nightfighter from the molds? That's the kit I'd like to build. The "E" would be OK but I don't fancy being limited to an all black a/c. Any advice re a potential "G" model would be appreciated. Gary
AUG 23, 2010 - 12:08 PM
Hi Gary If I remember rightly, Dragon have mentioned doing the 'G in future, but I haven't seen any CAD shots yet so it may still be a way off. All the best Rowan
AUG 23, 2010 - 08:33 PM
Looks mighty impressive but... I really don't know why Manufacturers still give us kits with fixed control surfaces, knowing its more or less the first thing modellers wil want to tweak. Probably a money thing, but then they give us all sorts of other goodies instead. Still I suppose its a blessing for the AM guys. K
AUG 23, 2010 - 09:53 PM
IIRC 'E's saw use in other colrs besides all black in the NF role. Plus having an E kit opens up a LOT if African schemes.
AUG 24, 2010 - 01:32 AM
Yes-- and no. The biggest and trickiest difference (from a manufacturer's standpoint trying to get the most mileage out of molds) with the G version is the hump-backed engine nacelles. In my case, I could not bring myself to scratch them in my build from the RoG kit, and no AM conversions were available then. Dragon will have to redesign the wing sections, which might allow them to detach some of the control surfaces and improve the kit. The fact that they now include stencils with this kit shows they do listen to suggestions from consumers and critics. Given the time it took for this version to appear, I would not expect the G version to come out (if indeed it does) until 2012. There is this conversion with DML kit. Pricey but it saves waiting. I haven't seen the set and don't know what its level of accuracy or execution or quality is.
AUG 24, 2010 - 03:54 AM
Thanks for the replies chaps to my "G" question - especially Bill for the comprehensive and informative reply. I don't want to go the resin conversion way and will probably wait and see what happens. I would be willing to do an "E" but would want a nightfighter with the radar antenna - and - a scheme other than all black (If they ever did "E" nightfighters other than all black?) Might just wait and see what the aftermarket decal companies come up with before I jump in and get one. Gary
AUG 24, 2010 - 04:18 AM
This set includes the radar array (3 if I'm not mistaken). The Luftwaffe experimented with at least four major radar configurations I know of (little antennas, big ones with little ones, and just big ones, and finally big ones mounted on a single pole). This book is essential if you're going to build a G (available here among other places): I don't know of any non-black nightfighters at this stage in the war. Eagle Cals has a set for Falke that's all black. I believe he flew Fs.
AUG 24, 2010 - 04:27 AM

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