This review is another fulfillment of white card of the model kits not covered yet on Aeroscale. Although the ICM kit is available on the market for good few years nobody have taken a closer look onto the box content. Some reviewers and modelers says this kit is a copy of Tamiyas product but I can't confirm or deny this. Some attributes seems to confirm this, other disclaim. At some points it may be a copy in the aspect of quality. Let's take a closer look then.
The box contain actualy just one sprue of light grey plastic and one small with clear parts. General design of kit was surprisingly good for me. I especially like panels lines of ICM release – engraved, shallow and sharp. This is really strong point of this kit. Side wall details are casted together with fuselage halves. For my taste these details are much too shallow in comparison to real plane but from the other hand I realize we can't jump above technology of plastic kits production. There's a plenty of aftermarket sets to improve interior if you only wish to use them. A serious disadvantage of ICM Emil are flashes, these are almost everywhere. On larger parts can be easiely removed by simple sanding but on tiny details, like tail wheel or aileron stabilizing weights, will require a lot of patience to be removed without doing harm to part. Rudder is made as separate part which will save some time for those builders who will decide to make is as swing aside. Nice features of the kit are control surfaces, originally covered with fabric. These may seem a bit too overdone for some but under thin layer of surface primer and paints I'm sure will get smoothed look. Another good looking details of this model kit are wheels and wheel bays. Wheels have detailed rims and rather delicate pattern of tyres. Wells may look as simplified but this is just as on the original plane.
The engineering of the sprue tells me something that we can find the same tree in other ICM releases of Emil as there are plenty of details appropriate also for its earlier variants, like different spinners (with the opening for a gun or full), canopies (early and late) or air intakes. As this is a Trop
variant we can find a tropical air intake with a dust filter. Producer have provided this part only as “opened” which is more appropriate for planes in flight
configuration. On the ground it should be closed to allow to suck the air in through the filter, however I have seen a photo or two showing it open even on ground. Anyway, for me this is far-fetched theory and I would be really much more content having this intake closed. Another important feature of Trop
Emils was ability to carry a drop tank under the fuselage. This means we should have parts with the rack and drop tank in the kit. Well, we don't. This parts will have to supplied from aftermarket sets or cannibalized from other kit. The last thing which I do not like are gun barrels on the fuselage – made together with the engine nacelle. I does not look very good. You can easily remove them, drill the holes and use some aftermarket or even scratch-build ones. It is not difficult or expensive but improves the general look of the model.
Assembly and painting instruction are rather simple but absolutely enough. If course it need some study before starting the build, but this is rather typical. Painting schemes, provided on a separate sheet, are printed in the shades of grey so if you would like to know how these machines were looking you have to find it in your own references, however machine of Lt. Franzisket is reproduced in colour on the box. Colours are given only according to Model Master palette. It's OK, but it would be useful if ICM would give us at least RLM numbers next to Model Master. I don't use MM paints so I have to check cross-reference charts to find out which colours are suggested. When we speak about colours I have probably found an error. Producer suggests to paint the cockpit interior with RLM02, which is OK for early war Luftwaffe planes. The problem is that for the planes produced since late 1940 this colour should be rather dark grey – RLM66. This thing requires some more careful study but I just want to warn you before believing in everything what the instruction says.
Another omission in the instruction refers to assembly process. I think that the instructions for all Emils released by ICM, especially including the early ones, are based on the same drawings and differs only in details (like canopy or spinner). When we take a look at the original photographs showing air intake under the engine we can notice some kind of horizontal “bar”. This is typical feature of early
Emils E-1 and E-3. Since E-4 it was abandoned. In the instruction, in step 5, we should pass over part no. A15 and rework a bit intake side walls if you want to get your E-7 more correct.
Decals are not very good asset of this set. Looks that mine are already few years old because white fields of balenkreuzes, chevron or on JG27 emblem got yellowed. I hope you can see it on the close-up picture. In the natural light is is even more significant.
ICM have provided two painting options of JG27 machines:
- Messerschmitt Bf 109E-7/Trop, Oberleutnant L. Franzisket, Gruppen-Adjutant I./JG 27, Gazala (Libya), October 1941
- Messerschmitt Bf 109E-7/Trop, Leutnant W.Schroer, 8./JG 27, Gazala (Libya), April 1941.
Beside the individual markings and balkenkreuzes producer have also provided the most important stencils and technical markings. Unfortunately the carrier film encircles markings very widely so you must watch out and most probably use decal agents to avoid silvering.
According to other reviewers and opinions of the modelers who have already build this kit or its other incarnations, it is a good ratio of price to quality. They also say that the kit have a good fit of parts. Build reports which I have seen only confirms that. With some simple improvements, which mostly can be scratch-build, you can easily build a good looking Bf 109E. I would only advice to use some aftermarket decals as those provided by ICM look a bit risky for using and may shatter all your efforts.