|1/48 Messerschmitt Bf-110G-2|
|Kit Number: 8205|
|Reviewed by Floyd S. Werner, Jr., IPMS# 26266|
The Bf-110 was an aircraft that sounded like a good idea but in practice it was a failure. Or was it? The Bf-110 was found wanting in the Battle of Britain and was pulled from combat and production had even ceased at one point in favor of the Me-210, but you can't keep a good aircraft down. The heavy armament and long loiter time made the 110 a good anti-bomber aircraft, at least until the Allies had long range fighters. The twin engine design also meant that there was some additional security making the aircraft an ideal ground attack aircraft. It also was a good night fighter, until other aircraft were introduced. The Bf-110 was a jack of all trades and a master of none. It was good enough to do the job though.
Molded in Eduard's standard RLM 02 plastic, the kit had some minor flash on a few parts such as my wings, but nothing dramatic. It wasn't on everything just some parts and never in a place where it was difficult to clean up. All of it was easily taken care of with a few swipes with a sanding stick. There are nine sprues of the RLM 02 plastic, two sprues of clear plastic, two pieces of resin, one photo etch and one pre-painted photo etch fret. Also included in the box are canopy masks and decals for five aircraft. The decals are printed by Cartograf so you know they are great quality.
A word of caution, the instructions call for an RLM 02 interior color but the correct color should be RLM 66.
The Eduard aftermarket
I used the additional Eduard photo etch set (Stock # 49462) designed for the Eduard kit. This set includes three frets of photo etch. One is pre-painted and is in keeping with the kit PE as being expertly rendered. Interestingly, there are some parts included for the cockpit that are completely different than the plastic kit parts. The additional PE set gives you a more accurate G-2 cockpit than the kit parts. The majority of parts included are for the interior or the wheel wells. Also included are some parts for marking option D which are not included in the original kit. There are also plenty of armament parts including the fins for the bombs. Since it was designed by Eduard when they were making this kit all the parts fit.
You first have to decide which aircraft you want to do as it will make a difference in what parts you'll use and what holes to open up. I was going to do Option D with the big 37mm gun under the belly, but I lacked the references for the big gun and the associated additional cockpit fuel cell so I went with most colorful markings, Option B, the Wespe from Italy 1943..
The next step is really important when using the aftermarket PE set, study the instructions and develop a plan. Once I was certain what needed to be added and where they would go it was time to dive in.
The cockpit is broken down into a front and back section. I tackled each cockpit as a subassembly. I assembled the plastic and unpainted PE parts first and painted them RLM 66 before adding the pre-painted PE. The instructions call for RLM 02 interior colors but this is not correct after mid-late 1941. The pre-painted PE parts, both kit and aftermarket, fit like a champ and added nicely to the look of the interior. You may not like them but you cannot replicate the detail that is already painted on. I love them.
I immediately noticed that this kit was marvelously engineered. Some have questioned if it is over engineered, but I think that it is engineered to the complexity of the real thing. It really is a complete package and other than the PE set from Eduard it totally removes the 'need' for aftermarket. You will have a hard time finding a better looking interior. Be careful if you are building Option D as there are some differences that aren't included in the kit. The additional PE set does provide one piece for this option that isn't provided in the kit. I had no trouble with the interior, but it did take constant studying of the kit and PE instructions to ensure that the PE was used where it was suppose to be.
I strayed from the instructions a little and added the side walls to the fuselage instead of making up a tub. I wanted to make sure that I had a seamless top side. This caused no problems though.
Putting the cockpit in the fuselage halves and joining them showed an overall good fit. There are two separate panels that need to be added to the belly. Don't forget them as they have to be added from the inside. The belly of the aircraft is a weak spot. I suggest, because I didn't do it, that you add some styrene supports similar to what you would do for a vacuform kit because there is plenty of flex in the belly panels. It didn't have a problem, but this would have helped provide some piece of mind.
The nose gun cover is an area that you need to decide whether you want to display the guns bay open or closed. I chose closed. If you decide to do this you only need to add the guns to the nose assembly. I added mine without a big problem but promptly broke off the guns. Quickboost to the rescue but that would come later. The fit of the nose, upper and lower, was not the greatest and required some sanding to fair them into the fuselage. Of course this required that the area be rescribed. Not too much trouble but it was a pain to have to do it.
First off I opened the proper holes for the armament in the wings for my particular model. The join of the wings was very good. I didn't have any issues. Since I was using the additional PE parts I had to leave out the support struts.
The nacelles were another story. I removed the oil cooler flaps in preparation for the PE parts. There was another area that required some care. There are some tabs on the inside of the cowlings for the locating lugs. I glued the cowling together and allowed it to dry. Then I used a Dremel tool and ground out the lugs. This allowed the forward bulkhead to fit properly into the cowling. Couldn't quite figure out why they did that.
Offering up the cowling to the wing shows that there will be some gap on top. I clamped and glued the cowling as best I could to minimize the gap then filled the area in with Apoxy Sculpt. This took care of the worst fitting part of the kit.
There are two resin pieces for the tropical filters so I took this opportunity to add them to the wing and nacelle. They fit okay but did require a little putty to fair them. Be careful with the one as it is directional. It will go on either way but it fits much better when you put it on correctly.
The internal structures for the wheel wells are provided on the additional PE fret. I thought this would add some visual interest. The fit of these PE parts was not as good as I would have thought they would be, but they definitely added to the wheel well look. After things were assembled it turned out not to be a big deal as they looked great.
The wing to fuselage join was not as good as I would have expected. I had to shorten the mounting stubs on the wings, but even this left a gap that had to be filled with Apoxy Sculpt. I don't say this as a bad thing, but you will have to us some modeling skills. Not everything can be a snap fit.
Odds and Ends
The vertical and horizontal tails were added together and then to the fuselage. They fit perfectly.
Once they were set up it was time to add the landing gear. As the landing gear would be provide clearance for the PE parts on the flaps and oil coolers I elected to add them now. I thought the landing gear would be fragile but they are quite robust. The landing gear is also a complicated assembly on the real thing and the model replicates this completely. This makes sure that everything lines up. I was concerned until I brought it all together and found the fit was perfect and alignment was perfect as well.
I thought I would have a problem adding the gear doors after the model was painted so I elected to add them as well. The PE parts for the wheel well fit really well and aligned with gear door attachment points. Now this was definitely not the way I normally build an airplane model but this was not a normal build. This was lifelike. You might say I used the same procedures as armor guys in that I build as much as I could and then paint.
There was no problem adding the PE oil cooler flaps and cowling flaps. There was other PE that I added as they would be difficult to add later and not mar the finish. It proved no problem and actually worked out well.
Now with everything added that could be added safely it was time to head off to the paint booth.
The painting process starts with a quick wash with grease cutting dish detergents and rinsed with warm water. This was followed up by wiping the model with Polly-S Plastic Prep.
I decided to add the canopy, or at least part of it, to make the paint scheme seamless. This is where Eduard surpasses every other manufacturer, the Express Masks. I love these things. They make it easy to mask the canopy, especially something as expansive as the Bf-110 canopy. I know they are not in the weekend editions of these kits but they should be as masking the canopy would take an entire weekend. I attached parts of the canopy with Tamiya Extra Thin cement. The rest were taped from the inside or tacked down with some white glue.
To start with the canopy area was sprayed with RLM 66 because it would be seen on the inside of the canopy. This was followed up with coat of Alclad Grey Primer to check for hiccups. There were a couple but less than I thought would be there. I cleaned up the areas and reprimed.
I like to preshade AND post-fade my finishes so with that in mind I applied some Tamiya Black along the panel lines and rivet lines. On top of that I also squiggle some color all over the model. This will prevent the patchwork look common to preshading. The first color up is Tamiya Flat Yellow which I like to use instead of RLM 04 as it looks faded. I added it to the under cowlings and wingtips. A band of Tamiya white was added to the fuselage. I allowed this to dry overnight prior to masking with Tamiya tape.
A personal mix of Tamiya paints were mixed to represent RLM 76. This was added to the belly and the fuselage sides. I allowed this to dry overnight and masked up some areas that needed it. A coat of Gunze RLM 75 was sprayed over the upper surfaces and mottled onto the fuselage sides. I tried a new thinner from Gunze, leveling thinner. I have to say that the results were spectacular. The paint did not dry in the tip of the airbrush while airbrushing. The paint laid down perfectly with a nice sheen for the decals. I then added some white and more thinner to paint cup and added dots to add some visual interest.
Masking with Tamiya tape, I decided to try some Lifecolor RLM 74. The results were good but the only issue was that I did not have any white to 'weather' the finish. Since I had lot of success with the Gunze I used their RLM 74 to add the visual interest. It worked really well.
Since I built up the landing gear and doors prior to painting it was time to mask them off. I held my breath and masked again with Tamiya tape, which I placed on my palm and pulled off to remove some tack. A coat of Gunze RLM 02 was added to the gear and wheel wells. The tape was removed very carefully and I was remarkably pleased with the results. All the other masking tape was removed and everything was allowed to dry overnight.
Other minor parts were painted like the props and spinners. A coat of Gunze clear gloss was added to the entire model in preparation for the decals.
Printed by Cartograf the kit decals are beautifully printed and in perfect register. The decals responded well with setting solution. I used Walther Solvaset, especially around the wasp emblem. Everything fit well and reacted well to the setting solution. The decals really wanted to stick. A word of advice add some spit to the surface to break up the surface tension. There is another issue. The color profiles have an additional fuselage plug that the model doesn't. As such this causes a problem when you use the picture to place the separate letter decals. I didn't notice this until after I had applied setting solution to my S. I should have added the 9 first. This would have allowed me to notice the difference. So my S and 9 are a little too close but not too objectionable to me. The rest worked great. The Wasp is a three part decal which fit pretty well. I did have to touch it up a little bit here and there but nothing drastic.
After a coat of Dullcoat to seal everything we can start the weathering. The weathering actually started out with the preshading, then there was the post fading. Now it was time to formally start the weathering process. The first thing I did was to use a Sin Filter, Grey for Dark Yellow over the entire model. Front to back on the wings and top to bottom on the fuselage. This breaks up the monotony of the paint coats. Next a wash of Burnt Umber artist oils thinned with Turpenoid was added to the panel lines and the rivet patterns.
The next step was to add the paint chips. I used a combination of silver pencil and the sponge technique. Some Mig Pigments were added over the upper surface colors. In this case it was Faded Panzer Grey. A very thinned Tamiya Dark Earth and Flat Black was sprayed on the area of the exhausts. With that the weathering was done.
There wasn't a whole lot left to add. I opted to use True Detail wheels instead of the kit ones. The True Detail wheels are smooth tread and bulged which I liked a lot. The True Detail wheels also look thicker as well. I weathered them with Mig Pigments. I tinted my wing landing light with Tamiya Clear Yellow prior to adding it. Unfortunately for me, it didn't fit as well as I would have liked, not bad but not perfect. I should have added it sooner and sanded it flush with the wing. For those of you who want to add Moskit exhausts to your model, they won't fit. So I was left to go back and build the kit exhausts. Guess what they didn't fit great either. Pay attention to the bevel on the horizontal piece. The exhaust stacks should fit on the larger side. I didn't pay attention so I ended up having to sand the horizontal piece to fit. Nothing dramatic but I was ready to finish this baby at this time.
It was time to remove the canopy masks, God I love these masks and they worked great. The canopy parts were added with Tamiya Extra Thin Glue and white glue. The side windows were the hardest to add.
About the only thing left was the bombs so, how can I screw this up? I cut off the fins for the bombs as per the additional PE instructions. They have an alignment tool to get the fins correct angle which is a nice touch. It worked as advertised on the SC 250s but when it came to the SC50s I managed to screw up two of them so bad that they were no longer useable. I was in a hurry and just didn't pay attention. Now what to do? Verlinden to the rescue. I had some resin bombs from the Bf-109 underwing set so these substituted for the kit ones. Oh well I can't do great stuff all the time. This was my fault and not the kit's. I screwed them up all by myself.
The Quickboost guns were added to the nose area, antenna mast and an EZ Line antenna brought the model to a finish.
The entire build took quite a long time, for me at least. This is a very detailed kit right out of the box, but the addition of the extra PE parts make it an exceptional model, but as I said it takes some time to build. Some will question the large amount of small parts, both plastic and PE, but it is hard to argue with the results. They are beautiful. Some have stated their opinion that this kit is over engineered. I don't share that opinion. I do think that this model is not for a beginner, but an average modeler should have little problem building a beautiful model right out of the box. I was disappointed with not being able to do Option D with the 37mm cannon, but I quickly got over that
The additional PE set is definitely for the experienced modeler and not for beginners. There are a lot of small PE parts that are beyond many modelers capabilities. I used about 90% of the PE parts and thought they added to the final look, especially the cockpit and wheel wells. You will need a Small Shop Bug or something similar from The Small Shop (http://www.thesmallshop.com/) to use the PE sets effectively
I enjoyed the build, even though it took a while to finish. I think when I build it again I will do it with the gun cowling off as my fit was less than optimal here. Some modeling skills were all that was needed to fix it, but it was annoying. Other than that it was a fun build, though long for me, and looks great finished on my shelf. I like it and I'm sure I'll build another one. That is the best recommendation I can give a model.
Thanks to Eduard for the review copy. You can pick yours up at www.eduard.cz or at your local hobby shop. If you order from Eduard tell them IPMS/USA sent you.