In-Box Review
Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Boxtop

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Despite the perennial popularity of the Bf 109, the "Emil" - so famous for its role in early battles of WW2 and beyond - has been largely overlooked as a 1/32 scale kit in recent years. As far as I know, the only mainstream kits produced were Hasegawa's 109E-3/'E-4 (which also appeared in the UK under the late lamented Frog banner) and Matchbox's 'E-3 - both dating back to the 1970s. Over 30 years on, and a new kit produced to the latest standards has long been overdue - and Eduard have stepped up to the mark with a brand new series of Emils, starting with the Bf 109E-1 which has never appeared in this scale before.

The kit arrives in a very solid conventional box and, as we've come to expect from Eduard, the presentation is excellent - the main sprues are packed in two bags, the clear parts are in a separate zip-lock back and the etched details come with two layers of card to preclude any chance of them being bent in transit. The instructions take the form of a full colour 19-page A-4 booklet printed on high quality paper. The kit comprises:

162 x pale olive styrene parts (plus 12 spare for future versions)
5 x clear parts (1 spare)
50 x etched parts on a pair of frets - one of them pre-painted
A sheet of painting masks
Decals for 4 x colour schemes

The moulding is excellent - with one exception in my kit. The cowling isn't completely formed, so I'll contact Eduard for a replacement. I'm pretty sure this must be a one-off, because I've seen shots elsewhere showing the part correctly moulded. I can't really criticize Eduard's quality control either, because I examined all the parts and even took a photo of the cowling(!) - and still didn't notice the fault until I started the build and began to work on sub-assemblies.

Getting back to first impressions, I found a very slight trace of flash in a couple of areas, but what really impresses is the surface finish. This comprises lightly engraved panel lines and a few raised panels and fasteners, plus beautifully delicate embossed riveting which puts most most efforts to shame. Fabric surfaces feature ribs and stitching - perhaps a touch heavy - but the overall effect should look superb when painted and weathered. The main components for the airframe are quite thin and Eduard have been rather clever in the way they've tried to avoid moulding any heavy detail on the inner faces that might cause sink marks - e.g. the tail wheel mounts are separate parts to fit into the tail. Ironically, the only place they have strayed from this tactic is for the main undercarriage locators and these have produced a pair of shallow sink marks, but they'll only take a moment to fill.

The major parts don't have many locating pins, but a basic test fit is encouraging, with the main parts lining up well and a nice tight fit at the wing roots. The kit features separate control surfaces, landing flaps and leading edge slats. A very nice touch is that Eduard haven't relied on separate panel inserts for the 'E-1's wing armament configuration - an entire new wing is provided, so there's no danger of any poor fit.

The details throughout look set to be very impressive. The cockpit is built up from a mixture of styrene and etched parts - 47 or so, depending on whether you go for pre-painted etched or moulded plastic instrument panels. Personally, I'll definitely go for the multi-layer etched versions, because the pre-painting is excellent (they don't suffer from the speckled effect that's occasionally visible) and the bezels on the plastic alternatives are moulded plain with no decals for the instrument faces included. The cockpit also features an 11-part etched seat harness.

The kit can be built with a closed cowling or to display a well detailed engine and nose-gun assembly. There are 21 parts for the DB 601, plus individual exhaust stubs with hollowed out ends. The gun bay features ammunition containers and a neatly moulded deck for the pair of MG 17s. Some wiring is moulded on and purists may want to replace this with soft wire and stretched sprue. The undercarriage is nicely tackled with separate wheel hubs and tyres, crisply moulded gear legs plus separate brake lines. The wheel wells have moulded ribs on the inner surface and inserts for the liners, while the nose and wing radiators feature etched faces. I note that Eduard have already announced an etched aftermarket set for the kit, so we can look forward to additional details beyond those provided in the standard kit.

The canopy parts are beautifully produced - crystal clear, with crisply defined framing, an optional armoured headrest, and a smaller details like hand grips are included. The sprung restraining cable is an etched item, which might look a bit 2-dimensional in this scale, but will serve as an excellent pattern for a wire replacement. A set of painting masks is included.

Instructions and decals
As noted above, the instructions are supplied as a large booklet. The drawings are very clear and the assembly sequence seems logical, with Gunze Sangyo colours keyed to most details. There's a full page stencil placement diagram and each of the 4 featured colour schemes is treated to a colour 4-view painting guide:

A. "Yellow 11", Fw. Artur Beese, 9./JG 26, Caffiers, France, August 1940 (also depicted on the front page with speculative yellow tactical markings).
B. "Red 1", Hptm. Hannes Trautloft, 2./JG 77, Juliusburg, Germany, September 1939.
C."Red 13", Ofw. Kurt Ubben, 6.(J)/Tragergruppe 186, Wangerooge,, Germany, March 1940.
D. "Yellow 2", 6./JG 52, Husum, Germany, 1940.

The decals are supplied on two sheets and the printing by Cartograph looks superb, with perfect registration and minimal carrier film. Swastikas are provided in two forms - full and sliced in two, depending on market restrictions. There's a very comprehensive set of stencil; markings included on the second sheet.

Eduard's first 1/32 scale kit looks a real beauty! Although the construction looks pretty straightforward and it's not overly complicated in terms of the number of parts, I'd recommend it to modellers with a little experience because of the use of etched details in a number of areas. I'll be getting the kit straight onto the workbench this weekend, so watch out for the build log to follow.

I've started a Build-Log HERE.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Generally very well moulded and well detailed with a superb surface finish. Excellent quality etched accessories and decals for 4 aircraft.
Lows: One part was incompletely moulded in my kit, but I've seen it looking perfect in shots elsewhere, so I don't believe it's a widespread problem.
Verdict: Eduard's Bf 109E-1 looks an excellent kit. Not really one for beginners, but modellers used to working with working with etched parts can look forward to a stunning Emil.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: 3001
  Suggested Retail: $74.95
  PUBLISHED: Feb 14, 2009

Our Thanks to Eduard!
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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.


Thanks for the review, not sure yet but maybe i will break my non 1/32 scale stance just for this one. There was also a Matchbox 1/32 109E as well remember, so actually the Hasegawa kit wasn't quite the only game in town before- but admittedly a lot harder to get than the Hasegawa one. Andrew
FEB 14, 2009 - 08:59 PM
Hi Andrew I'd completely forgotten the Matchbox kit (I built the Spit at the time, but didn't get the '109)! Thanks for the reminder - I'll update the text. All the best Rowan
FEB 14, 2009 - 09:13 PM
Hi Rowan, Thanks for the review - you really should link it to your blog, and visa versa. I'm really looking forward to following your blog on this one - the 109 is one of my fav wingy things Rudi
FEB 15, 2009 - 12:54 PM
Hi Rudi Good idea - I'll do it now. All the best Rowan
FEB 15, 2009 - 09:55 PM
Of course this also means you have to finish the blog!
FEB 15, 2009 - 10:49 PM
Of course this also means you have to finish the blog![/quote] Dohh! All the best Rowan
FEB 15, 2009 - 11:50 PM
Yeah, what was that New Years Resolution? Don't Buy more kits than I build. Let see... I have finished 3, and haven't bought any. I can get one Thanks Rowan.
FEB 16, 2009 - 11:50 AM
It's here.
MAR 12, 2009 - 01:19 PM
Nice one Carl! Eduard have just sent through a sample of their photo-etch upgrade set for the kit, so I'll be adding that to the mix for my build where I can (in a few places, I've already got too far) as soon as I've reviewed it this weekend. Even at first glance, it answers a couple of the questions raised by the standard kit and adds plenty of detail overall. (See... I knew being prevented from making real progress on the kit by work would actually prove handy in the long run! ) All the best Rowan
MAR 13, 2009 - 09:25 AM

Click image to enlarge
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  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Parts_D
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Parts_E
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  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Parts_J
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Etch_1
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  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Colour_1
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  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Colour_3
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Decals_1
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Decals_2
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Surface_1
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  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Cowl
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Tub
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Sidewall_1
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  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Seat
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Oxygen
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Instruments
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Engine
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Exhaust
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Gun-Mounts
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Parts_MG17
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Propeller
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Mainwheel_Leg
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Mainwheel_Hub
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Mainwheel_Tyre
  • Ed_Bf109E-1_Tailwheel