Eduard’s Bf 109E-7 Trop looks pretty stunning in the box.
And then you start building it.
In the first build report, I covered off on the E-7’s cockpit. This time around, it’s on to the main assembly!
A Word About Eduard Kits
I like Eduard. A lot. I’m a big fan of their masks and photo etch sets. Their instructions are some of the best in the industry, and their decal sheets are top-notch (well, the ones that ship with the Profi-pack kits, at least). I also really like how they package their kits in tiers (though I prefer the Profi-packs with their more extensive marking options to the Weekend Edition kits).
But, I have to be honest, I’m not a big fan of how their kits fit together.
Let me be clear about this. Their kits do fit together. Apart from a few problem areas that I’ll get into, I had very little problem with misalignment or gaps.
It’s all in the how. Most kits have pretty positive location indicators. Locating pins or keyed tabs or whatnot to help guide pieces where they need to go. The older Eduard Yak-3 I built a few months ago didn’t use any locating pins, but it was such a simple build that it wasn’t a big deal. With the 109, Eduard shows that they’ve since adopted locating pins, but these are so few and so small that they’re pretty much useless. The best kits can use these positive location indicators to kind of hold themselves together to a degree, which is really useful for test-fitting or for attaching smaller pieces.
The E-7’s fit is much less positive. What would be a full-on pin on another kit is a little nubbin here. This made a few areas (such as the stabilizer supports or the underwing pitot tube) far more difficult to deal with than they should have been.
The Big Parts
The fuselage and wing assemblies build up pretty easily, so I won’t waste too many words on them. If you’ve ever glued fuselage halves together this is all old hat. The seams are a bit rough, and will need some fill and sand work, but there aren’t any major gaps. The only really noticeable problem area would probably have to be the lower scoop, where the two halves just look sloppy.
The wing is a slightly different story. The fit at the wing roots is actually quite good, but there’s a slight step in the leading edge, and the fit aft with the lower fuselage is just awful. Another headache with the wings – you’re forced to install the 20mm cannons ahead of time, so there’s no way to paint them separately and install them toward the end.
Given the design and way the cannon barrels protrude, there’s no reason they couldn’t have been engineered differently.
The stabilizers actually fit really well…but their supports are some of those pieces that have vague fit, so getting them situated is kind of touch-and-go.
Every kit has its trouble spot. With this build, it was the cowl. Eduard designed the E-7 so you could build it with or without the cowl in place. I didn’t want to fuss with building up and detailing the DB601 engine, so I opted for a closed cowl.
This was a mistake.
The cowl fit is terrible. And worse still – the spinner and cowl were out of alignment.
I fought this for a few days, then decided I wanted to go back and build up the engine after all. This necessitated ripping out the propeller shaft plate that got installed when the fuselage was closed up. Only it wouldn’t come out. Despite my best attempts and a broken #11 blade, I couldn’t get it out. But I did almost break the fuselage, so I decided to leave it alone.
On a whim, I tried test-fitting everything again, and lo and behold, the prop lined up perfectly!
I also had to paint and install the exhausts at this time, and dealt with the cowl fit issues by gluing some thick styrene strip inside the fuselage to keep the cowl properly aligned.
A few more detail parts, and the buildup is more or less complete!
Enter the Dragon
Right around the time I started breaking into this kit, I learned about Dragon/Cyber-Hobby’s new Battle of Britain-era 1/32 109E-4. The test shots looked phenomenal, and I managed to pick one up the other day. All I can say is…wow. This Eduard kit is pretty solid, but the Cyber-Hobby E-4 takes it to lunch and buys it a cheeseburger.
I’m actually planning to steal the E-4’s drop tank to use on the E-7, since 1) the E-4 didn’t carry a drop tank, which was a major catalyst for the E-7, and 2) the Dragon tank is probably the single best-looking drop tank I’ve ever encountered in any scale.
For now, though, it’s off to fill-and-sand purgatory for awhile.
Next up, painting the 109…which should be a treat, since I’ll be busting out Gunze-Sangyo Mr. Color paints.