Just prior to World War II, the concept of the “heavy fighter” as a bomber escort was in vogue with the major air powers. Germany’s contribution to this idea was the Messerschmitt Bf 110. Though initially successful in combat, modern single-engine fighters soon outclassed it. Thereafter, the Bf 110 flew ground-attack and night-fighter missions.
Eduard’s Bf 110E is a gem that outclasses previous releases in this scale. Surface detail is exquisitely rendered, and there is lots of photoetched metal. Decals provide five sets of markings. A canopy mask also is part of this “ProfiPACK” kit.
Most of the photoetched metal belongs in the cockpit, and construction begins there. Even though I didn’t use all available pieces — some were pretty tiny — the prepainted parts make the cockpit look authentically busy. Dry-fit the cockpit assembly with the fuselage; I sanded parts of this assembly to allow the fuselage halves to match forward of the cockpit.
There are two complete fuselages. One is the “standard” length; the other has an extra housing aft of the horizontal stabilizer for water survival gear and is for the Iraqi version. Fit is generally good, but with a couple of areas to watch. The nose cone is slightly larger than the fuselage, but careful sanding will cure this problem. I also had to clamp the assembled engine nacelles to the matching wing fairing to get a smooth join. With the nacelles, the forward walls (parts B27 and B28) of the wheel wells can be easily installed backwards, hindering correct placement of the gear. To facilitate painting and to avoid having to mask the nose guns, I left the nose cone off until final assembly.
One little detail: My references showed the E variant’s pitot tube should be mounted on the leading edge of the right wing. The kit’s pitot tube is for the D version, which is mounted under the wing.
Though all the decal choices appealed to me, I settled on the shark-mouth scheme shown on the box top. The color guide references Gunze Sangyo paints for all colors. After a coat of Alclad gray primer, I pre-shaded the panel lines and a few panels with black. Though this was lost on the lower surface black, I was happy with the effect on the green upper surfaces.
Given the number of frames in the canopy, the kit-supplied precut, self-adhesive masks were most welcome. The decals were excellent, though I did have to coax the shark mouth with lots of setting solution to make it conform to the compound curves of the nose.
When you glue the photoetched-metal antenna (Part PE34) under the rear fuselage, I’d suggest drilling small holes in the fuselage to get better purchase for the tiny attachment points. I did not and, thus, spent much time and effort getting it in place.
Lots of unused parts bode well for other versions of the 110. After spending about 30 hours on this one, I’m eager to build another; it makes a great-looking, accurate model. But before you tackle Eduard’s kit, I’d suggest putting a couple of builds behind you and gaining some experience with photoetched-metal parts.
A version of this review appeared in the February 2012 FineScale Modeler.