1/32 Dragon Bf110E of 5.NJG 4, 1942
The Me Bf110 needs no introduction for most modelers; the distinctive twin tail, twin engines and slender fuselage made for a very handsome looking airplane, albeit one that was a failure in its original intended role of Destroyer in the face of single engined opposition. It found a new purpose in the developing role of night fighter, a role in which it excelled at for the rest of the war.
I’ve had the Dragon Me Bf110 sitting in my “someday” stash for years, well someday finally came! I cleared my desk and began what I thought was going to be months of work…
This kit was released not that long after Dragon’s ill-fated P-51, but is leaps and bounds over that kit. Dragon learned a bitter lesson about doing it’s research and it Really shows. Rowan Baylis, Jerry Crandall and Mark Proulx all had a hand in the developement of this kit and it is a beaut, the moldings and detail, especially the cockpit and landing gear and wheels, are first-rate and the inclusions of metal and pe only enhance the value you get out of this kit. The only (minor) complaint I would have about this kit is that they used slide molding to create the hollow ends to the machine guns and cannon, why not do the same for the exhaust? I wound up using a set from Quikboost.
On the other hand the instructions are typical Dragon; incomplete, confusing and needing better assembly diagrams. Be aware during assembly to look Very carefully at each diagram, the angles showing some of the parts are very confusing and waaaay tooooo busy, it’s easy to miss a part or determine it’s position. I used an article in Tamiya Modeling Magazine Jan 2009 issue by Brett Green to lift the veil from some of the more confusing aspects of the instructions and it really helped. The biggest issue I found was the placement of the main landing gear. The instructions have you install them attached to the firewall as a complete assembly, except the front reinforcing bulkheads (parts 1, 9, 6 and 4 get in the way…so I left those 4 pieces out until the LG assy was set up and rock solid and added them carefully later.
I built this kit pretty much oob, with the only aftermarket parts being the exhaust. I opted to not show an exposed engine, so the engine assembly fitting can be a bit fiddly but take your time and use some patience and it works out fine. I assembled the cockpit as a complete tub and it fit with no issues, again, just a matter of dry fitting and it all slotted into place! FYI…I looked all over to find a decent color pic of an actual 110 Instrument panel for detailing; in the end I had an excellent reference right in front of me! Eduard’s Bf110 IP model! Instead of using decals for the instruments I just used a dry brushing tecnique and I’m pretty happy with the result.
In almost no time I had the bulk of the assembly done. I used Eduard masks for the canopy, and I wanted to try masking and painting the basic marking. Maketar makes a comprehensive masking set for the Dragon 110 and I cannot recommend them highly enough! The kabuki tape masks work perfectly, including the masks for the tail swastika. If you haven’t tried these masks yet, they are very easy to apply, just take your time and make sure the edges are sealed and you will be amazed at how well these masks work!
I use Tamiya paints almost exclusively on this build. The base “black” is a 50-50 mix of flat black and red-brown, which gives more of a scale effect than just plain flat black. I then weathered the finish with Nato black, Rubber black and a mix of Nato black and Buff to vary the shades, and mottled various shades of black over the airframe. After removing the marking masks, I was stunned at how well the masking worked, and I will use that technique from now on! After that, a couple of coats of Future and on to the detailing.
I used the kit decals for the remainder of the build, and I was very pleased with how well they performed. Done by Cartograf, they are very sharply printed with almost no excess carrier film. I opted for the garish shark mouth bird from 5.NJG4. As can be expected, adding each side of the mouth took careful placement, multiple applications of some Mr.Mark Softer decal solvent and judicious use of a sharp scalpel blade to make everything look right, then some touch up with some Testors enamel red. In order to highlight the panel lines, I used Tamiya’s grey panel wash, going slowly on small sections at a time and wiping off the excess with a q-tip soaked in Turpenoid. After all is done I gave it a couple of coats of Tamiya Acrylic flat with a bit of flat base added, which gave me a nice satin finish. Overall I am very happy with how the finish came out…Dark and Sinister, like a hole in the darkness…
Overall I am very impressed with this kit and hopefully sometime in the future Dragon should grace us with a G-4 version! We can wish right!?
12 additional images. Click to enlarge.