Eduard 1/48 Bf109G-2 ProfiPACK
By Chris Cowx
I will avoid a complete rundown of the history of the Bf109 series, since most here probably already know as much as they care to about this classic aircraft. Let it suffice it to say that as the most produced military aircraft of all time and perhaps THE iconic Luftwaffe fighter aircraft, the Messerschmitt Bf109 has been well served by historians.
Eduard's kit released represents the G-2, the first of the truly mass produced Gustavs. It was introduced, along with it's pressurized counterpart the G-1, as the next in the series after the "Friedrich" or F series. The Friedrich has long been considered the last of the true dog fighters and the most elegant and pleasant of the 109's.
The Gustav series marked the introduction of the DB605 engine series and was the point when the aircraft became more of a multi-role aircraft. The G-2 still owed much to it's DB601 powered older brethren, but each succeeding model added more equipment, heavier armament, etc. While the aircraft became faster and better armed, and maintained general parity with it's opponents, it also became more and more of a handful to fly.
The Bf109G-2 served wherever the Luftwaffe was, starting in the spring of 1942. They flew over Malta, Stalingrad, Leningrad, the Channel Coast, North Africa and the entire Eastern Front. They flew with many of Germany's allies as well, most notably Finland. The Finns continued the Messerschmitt tradition of dominating Soviet air power despite being outnumbered. That the Bf109G operated in such a broad range of geographies means that there is a huge variety of markings and camouflage schemes to choose from.
The G-2 was one of the variants that tends to cause the least grey hair among aviation historians. There is not a lot of variation (gun pods, wheels, tropical filters and related equipment) compared to say, a G-14. There were two sets of upper wings, one with bulges and one without, and this pretty much caters to all of the various equipment that a G-2 could carry. Eduard's Bf109G-2 kit is a generous contributor to the spares box. Various rudders, propellers, drop tanks and ordnance will all be handy to have. I also like the extra late War canopies, at the very least for spares in case of mistakes!
Impressions in the box are excellent. The molding is very fine, with sharp details, thin edges, full riveting and of course no flash whatsoever. The finish is very smooth without quite having the glassy finish of some Tamiya kits. There is a fret of color photo etch, primarily the seat belts, radiator faces, instrument panels and some smaller cockpit details. It is a small fret, but the details are calculated to get the most bang for the buck. Between the PE and the excellent plastic there is not much more needed for a museum quality model, straight from the box.
There is a set of pre-cut canopy masks included. The instructions are in the same format that Eduard has been using for the past decade or so. They are printed with some color to clarify some points in construction, with full color markings guides in the back. They are clear and easy to use and will be a pleasure to work from. If ever a kit screamed "build me" from it's box, this is it!
The kit is a bit more complicated than say a Hasegawa kit, but it is well thought out. The slightly larger parts count is due to details like separate cowling piano hinges, five parts for the horizontal tail surfaces, three for the fin/rudder, three pieces for the supercharger intake, etc.
The engineering is smart and the result is both better detail and also some functional benefits. For example the control surfaces are positionable. They have a recess for the elevators and rudder to sit in, formed by each part's bevels. The flaps and radiator outlets are posable and the mounting tabs are a nice touch.
The panel lines are as perfect as I could ask. They are crisp and deep enough that they will show up well under paint, without being overdone. The rivets are there and they are perfectly in scale. This kit has the entire aircraft riveted, rather than just doing the rivets on the cowling and other prominent areas as some kits do, . They will barely show, under a coat of paint, just as they should.
I appreciate Eduard's new "slide molding" technology. This allows gun barrels, vents and exhaust stacks to be molded with the ends indented. This is generally sufficient to create a hollow effect and is an excellent start if you wish to drill them out further. The fabric detail is quite crisp, with the rib tapes and even stitching represented. It will be slightly over scale, but I think it will look good under some paint. Overall, Eduard's 109G-2 is as near to perfect as you will likely get.
The cockpit is also very nicely represented. The plastic is well done with the smaller parts such as control sticks, trim wheels, etc all molded commendably thin. They look very much in scale and don't have the flat look that photo etch can have in such items. The instrument panel and some side consoles are in color p/e, which eliminates the need to paint, but I would not hesitate to use the plastic parts. They will look just as nice if well painted and the panel has a very nice 3 dimensional effect that would look good with some instrument decals and a drop of clear gloss in the faces.
One major detail that is different from most other 109 kits is that there are no separate sidewalls: the detail is molded directly on the inner fuselage halves. This gives a more "in scale" appearance, with a bit less of the thickness you see in some kits. The p/e detail bits includes the trim wheel chains, canopy braces and the microphone wire.
These small items are well planned to give maximum benefit without bogging down the builder with a bunch of tiny metallic fly specks that only he will know is there. My own choice would be to paint the instrument panel and consoles, to keep the 3 dimensional effect, while using the chains and seat belts That is just my preference, and if one prefers the painted details on the photo etch then you can go that way. The instructions leave it up to the modeler,and so will I!
One piece of pretty slick engineering is the clear plastic molded fuel line. This is a very prominent feature of all 109s. It was painted bright yellow with a clear part for verifying fuel flow. If you leave the clear section bare and paint the rest, it will look great. I must say, having a 1" thick high pressure fuel hose running about a foot from my right elbow would not give me much comfort in a combat aircraft! Overall, a brilliant effort that can be done with all plastic or can be enhanced with the p/e.
The wheel wells are a real highlight of the kit. These have been done to various levels of detail in the past, but Eduard has put as much effort here as anywhere else in the kit. The plastic has the fabric dust shields molded in, and the openings into the wing interior are also properly represented. There are four pieces to each wheel well interior and the wing upper surfaces have the correct bulge in place to accommodate the tire. This eliminates the "flat roof" look from inside. The wheels themselves, always a kit trouble spot from the standpoint of accuracy, seem pretty good. They also have separate hubs to make painting easier.
The fit of the gear leg is pretty positive, which will help alignment and make a sturdy model. The gear doors are commendably thin and have a good positive attachment point. This model will look good sitting on a mirror on a contest table, or overturned in a crash diorama!
The clear parts are both gorgeous and plentiful! There is every combination of canopy and antenna that was used, each rendered in beautifully thin plastic. The framing is crisp, the glass is distortion free, and the rivet detail that I praised above is continued onto the framing. There are also clear parts for the wingtip lights, which can be glued in either before painting or after. I have nothing but praise for the clear parts, well thought out and well executed!
The kit comes with 5 marking options. They are all are colorful, interesting and they are from various theatres and units. Two of the options are in winter whitewash, one is in desert markings, another is in two tone green and last of course, the ubiquitous mid War RLM 74/75/76. Interestingly, 4 of the five options have the under wing 20mm cannon gondolas. The decals are extremely complete, with full stencils and all other markings supplied. The instrument panel is also supplied as a decal, though I would punch out the instruments individually and put them in the dial faces. As expected, the decals are thin, in register and colorful From the look of them, they should work as well as any aftermarket available.
In case you have not guessed, I am impressed with this kit. Very impressed! It has detail, fit, surface detail, accuracy and excellent clear parts. A nice feature is that you can choose what level of difficulty or what materials you wish to work with. Some dislike p/e intensely, others love it. No matter what you choose to do, with the usual care and attention, the result will be gorgeous.
It will make a fair modeler look good and a good modeler into a rock star. Highly recommended! I would like to thank Eduard for the review sample.