That Eduard Emil
This is the Eduard Bf109E, done as an E-7 flown by JG-27 during Operation Marita, the Luftwaffe’s foray into the Balkans in support of the ad hoc invasion of those countries by Germany. I built this one for two reasons, the first being that I’d managed to find the kit on a consignment shelf and was able to buy it for cheap, and I wanted to model a JG 27 aircraft as used in the East. That’s a relative rarity as Luftwaffe units go, but portions of the unit did play a role in the Balkans campaign and in the earliest days of Barbarossa so I had to have an example on the shelf. Michael Turner will understand that one. As an aside, I also wanted to find out if the Eduard Emil was as bad as the smart money said it was.
The bottom line here is that all those folks who stated the Dragon offering is a far more accurate and better kit of the 109E are correct. Britmodeller, as well as other publications, have listed the issues the Eduard kit possesses and they are legion, but the kit is far from unbuildable and I think it looks pretty good once it’s done (unless you have one of the earliest releases with the gomed-up canopy, of course). That said, I did change or rework a handful of things, but my personal laundry list was tiny indeed when compared to all the negative comments that have been printed about the kit. In point of fact, and also in my opinion and my opinion only, you can perform just a few minor changes and end up with a pretty fair model, albeit one that’s not entirely accurate. Consider that I didn’t measure much of anything on the kit (HERESY—STRING HIM UP!) because I knew about the issues going into things and didn’t have a museum-quality model in mind when I began the project, and here’s what I thought were the absolutes:
The Elephant in the Room, at least in my world, are the wing’s leading edge slats, which are far too wide in chord and throw off the entire look of the airplane in consequence. Fixing them is simple, fortunately; all that’s required is to cut off the extra material at the back of the slats and glue it into the wing’s slat bay (which is depicted incorrectly on every 109 kit, as well as every A-4 Skyhawk kit ever made, but that’s a story for another day) to use as a filler. Putty and fair it in, clean up the slats, and you’re done. That one thing will improve the visual appearance of the model considerably.
Next in line is the landing gear, both main and tail. The issue at the back of the airplane is a minor one but it needs to be corrected: Eduard apparently copied the tailwheel tire off the Emil in the RAF museum, which has an item from a garden tractor on it since original Bf109E tailwheel tires are somewhat difficult to obtain these days. A few minutes with sandpaper will fix that problem.
The main gear is a different story, but it’s also simple enough to address. First off, the landing gear is a bit longer than it ought to be and gives the airplane the wrong “sit”. I took out an eighth of an inch from the oleo proper to fix that one, and then replaced the extraordinarily indifferent main tires and wheels with a resin set from the spares box—they might’ve been Aires, or maybe they weren’t, but they look like they’re supposed to and constitute a significant improvement to the model’s appearance.
Wing dihedral can be a little wonky too, and it’s super-easy to model the kit with an almost flat wing if care isn’t taken during assembly. Pay attention when you attach the wing to the fuselage and that problem becomes a non-player.
The kit wants you to build up a fair percentage of the engine so you can display it, although it honestly isn’t that good. I ended up using the block, mostly because you can see part of it through the cowl vents up in the nose of the airplane, and the exhaust stacks. I also sanded down the front of the engine so it wouldn’t foul the cowling, and I might have used part of the gun deck too, although in hindsight I’m pretty sure I didn’t.
Finally, and in the realm of why did Eduard, of all people, DO that; the interior is lacking a lot of detail even in the kit’s ProfiPack iteration. That’s right, ya’ll. Eduard, the king of the aftermarket interior in so many ways, produced a marginal effort at best for their Emil. It’s simple enough to go in there and improve things, although I have to admit I didn’t do that. In that same vein I also didn’t put the windshield frame handholds on the model. I meant to because they’re so visible on the real airplane but I didn’t. Maybe someday…
The painting was primarily accomplished using Mr Color and, as is so often the case over here, the decals were from the spares bin and what was provided with the kit. Weathering was kept to an appropriate minimum, and stretched sprue provided the antennae.
The model came out ok in that it has the appearance of a Bf109E (you can’t mistake it for anything else, which is a good thing), but the Eduard offering isn’t the kit to be used if you’re after accuracy. The Dragon kit is far easier to deal with, far more accurate in so many ways, and doesn’t cost all that much either. On the other hand, there’s no reason to throw away your 1/32nd scale Eduard Emil just because of its poor reputation. It doesn’t take all that much work to make a decent model out of one if you’re looking for a clothes horse for your collection.
Build what you’ve got, right?
3 additional images. Click to enlarge.