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Japanese Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4, Tamiya 1/48

My first “Empire of Japan GB” build

One of the active Groups is Louis Gardners Empire of Japan Group Build. I am not going to give the full historic tour here – that is for the interested to go and research for themselves, but suffice to say that there was some German influence on Japanese R&D.

Those that have followed some of my builds know that I have a thing for 109’s, and what a great excuse it was to make a Japanese 109!


The kit is the good old Tamiya 109, with a few changes.

One thing I did, was to leave the window open to let in some fresh air.



The Instrument panel is the kit-decals with plenty of Micro-sol used to make them appear almost painted on


The full build is available in Groups – link here; https://imodeler.com/groups/the-empire-of-japan-1919-1946/forum/topic/messerschmitt-me-109-e-3a-1-48-eduard/

(the title in the link is misdirecting as it originally was to be the Eduard kit, but rather soon I found out that the Japanese 109’s were E-4’s, and the eduard kits in my stash were all E-3’s)

Do join one of the groups – it is highly reccomended, but be warned, it may be addictive!


34 responses to Japanese Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4, Tamiya 1/48

  1. Nice job, Erik! Sure looks odd seeing those red circles on a Bf-109.

  2. Agree that a 109 looks odd without the usual crosses.
    Your build however is looking great, Erik.
    Nice detail is that open window.

  3. That’s a wonderful build, my friend @airbum, that I had the joy to follow along….
    ….an 109 in Japanese markings?…..How cooler can it get?
    Congratulations! This is simply stunning!

  4. @airbum, from the moment I knew you were contributing to the EOJ GB I knew there would be a 109 in the programme. 😉 Indeed, the Germans exchanged early Me-109 with Japan as a knowledge sharing move. I really like this completed build, very unique but nontheless historically relevant! Thanks for sharing, my friend!

  5. Nice job Erik! This turned out great. I love the paint scheme and mottling. Nice photos as well.

  6. A very unusual build, looks great! I wonder if there were any Zeros in German markings.

    • Robert (@roofrat), thank you. I have no recollection of ever hearing about Japanese planes in German markings. A lot of German planes flew with Japanese markings, not least passenger planes and Bf 108’s and other stuff. I have a small collection of germans in japanese colors that I would like to make, but Japanese in German – that would be something else!

  7. Magnificent Werke Erik !!!! @airbum
    This is unusual indeed. It does look quite different, (and very good), with Japanese markings in place of the German crosses. I have been following along from the beginning. It was a fantastic build to watch come together, and it’s up to your usual high standards. I want to personally thank you for all of your comments and good will towards all of the other builds. Guys like you have made this EoJ the success it has become. Thank you my friend !!!

  8. Crossed the finish line in pristine shape! Love the scheme, and FINALLY, a “different” 109!!

  9. Very sharp work Erik, I really like this.

  10. Very interesting paint scheme. Never thought I’d see a 109 with meatballs. What a great idea. Terrific build!

  11. Beautiful Emil, Erik, a change of pace seeing a 109 in those Japanese markings. What makes it extra special, the 109 is still in a Luftwaffe color scheme pattern. Maybe later in time the Japanese may have repainted them to a more Japanese scheme. Man I wonder also if any Zeros were shipped to Germany for evaluation. Good question. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chuck (@usucsn), thank you. There are pictures of a different pattern, but so far none as Japanese as the real stuff. I am looking forward to FineMolds kit as they seem to have a somewhat different setup regarding colors. A Zirkus Rosarius Zero? That would be something else!

  12. Erik @airbum I really like the oriental look of this Emil, and I must say that the mottling is magnificent, very look alike to several other similar European Emils that are well known. The open side window is a great detail. Thumbs up!

  13. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    Beautiful and visually striking build Erik.
    This is a very good and clear example for anyone to see and grasp that there is more to modeling than meets the eye.
    God one Erik.

  14. I think I totally missed this build, Erik (@airbum). The model looks awesome, and the unexpected paint job is just icing on the cake.

    • Better late than never my friend 🙂
      Thank you George, my friend (@gblair), indeed there is so many builds in the groups section now and then that it is easy to miss one or two, but lots of fun there! Regarding this one I just discovered that the masking tape is still present on the small triangular windows – dang. . .

  15. Nice work, Erik! Sure looks different with a Japanese markings.

  16. Very eye-catching scheme for your Bf-109, Erik – a pleasure to examine closely – as your excellent close-up photography allows. Knowing the size of the Tamiya model in 1/48 that is really fine mottling. I would have to use my Custom Micron to get such small mottles so consistently well-formed, at least with acrylics. If I may ask, what airbrush did and pressure you use? I am very impressed with your airbrushing skills. I also like how you have the side “window” open. I haven’t seen this done so much with 109 models; it is a nice touch that adds realism and interest.

    • Colin (@coling), Thank you. The mottling was done with a dual-action H&S Infinity, so the pressure was whatever I pressed the trigger to – the compressor was as far as I recall around 10, but as the press on the trigger can adjust the pressure too, I guess somewhere around 5-8? I have to admit I go more by feel that actual settings. I shall try to make a note the next time 🙂
      The open window not only adds interest, the thin even plasticsheet also makes it a lot clearer, even outperforming vac-form in my opinion. (I have a few vac-form canopies that will be used in later builds for comparison)

  17. Erik @airbum, this turned out Stunning. Well done!

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