This build report is part 4 of 4. To check out the finished build, additional pictures, and previous build reports, be sure to check out the completed build page!
Welcome back to the Eduard Bf 109E-7 Build Report! Now that we’re in part 4, the Messerschmitt is very much in the home stretch. In this post, I’ll cover off on the decals, weathering, and finishing touches.
Prior to the 109, my only experience with Eduard decals were those included with their Yak-3 Weekend Edition. They, to borrow a phrase from a coworker, sucked very hard indeed. The colors were muted, the sheet yellowed, and the decals thick and unresponsive to setting solvents.
In recent years, though, Eduard has undertaken to improve the decal situation, particularly with their Profi-pack boxings. Packed with marking options and printed by Cartograf in Italy, they’re often regarded as among the best kit decals in the industry, and that was certainly the case with these. Thin but not fragile, with brilliant color register and very, very little silvering. Honestly, it makes me with that Eduard sold their decal sheets as standalone items…I’d almost certainly pick up a sheet for my Cyber-Hobby 109E-4.
One problem with the decals was that they were literally too good. As vibrant as they were, they really stood out, especially for an aircraft operating in the harsh conditions of North Africa in 1941.
To tone the decals (and the paint scheme) down a notch, I oversprayed the entire kit with heavily-thinned Tamiya Buff (XF-57).
On top of this, I applied a ProModeller dark dirt wash, then wiped the excess of the panels, leaving it in the panel lines. This was followed by some post-shading using a heavily thinned mix of Tamiya Flat Black (XF-1) and Flat Brown (XF10). I also added some chipping with Model Master Aluminum and a silver Prismacolor pencil.
Around this time, something annoying happened. I overdid the chipping on the prop blades, so I reached for my bottle of Gunze RLM 70 to drybrush the worst of it away. And discovered that Gunze drybrushes about as well as Tamiya paints…that is, not at all. Fortunately, I also had some RLM 70 in Model Master enamel. The shade’s don’t exactly match, but close enough.
After all this was dry, I sprayed Tamiya Flat Clear (TS-80) over the entire kit in light, misting coats.
Stains, Pigments, Final Attachments
When the dull coat dried, I went back and added exhaust and gun stains with Tamiya Smoke (X-19) topped with some Doc O’Brien’s Grimy Black weathering powder. I also applied sparing amounts of MIG pigments Gulf War Sand and Beach Sand to the undersides, wings, and cowl area to simulate dust buildup. These were fixed in place by dabbing over them with Mona Lisa Odorless Thinner.
After the pigments, I started attaching the final pieces. The counterweight and rudder actuator that I broke off were glued back into place, and the pitot tube was reinstalled on the underside of the port wing. I ended up having to widen the mounting hole for the tailwheel strut with the Dremel, since the Eduard Brassin replacement is wider than the stock strut.
But the biggest headache came from the main gear. As with the rest of the kit, the fit isn’t bad, but it is vague. And when you’ve got something the size of a 1/32 scale aircraft, even one as small as the 109, resting on a vague fit, that doesn’t strike me as a recipe for success. I managed to get everything sitting the way I wanted, but I must confess, I’m afraid of just how sturdy that bond is.
The canopy went on simple enough, but the small PE arm that connects from the rear canopy the main canopy was a bear to wrestle into place. I need smaller fingers.
Last but certainly not least came the aerial wire. I’ve been using nylon monofilament for my wires, but this time around I decided to try stretched sprue. Basically this involves:
- Cutting lengths of spare sprue from leftover sprue trees
- Holding said sprue over a candle and rotating slowly until it begins to melt
- Pulling the sprue apart. Much like proper nacho cheese, it will string out but not break. By pulling faster, you get minutely thin runs of stretched sprue.
- Glue the stretched sprue to the radio mast and tail using CA (I loaded my touch-n-flow with CA accelerator and used it as a pinpoint applicator. Worked like a charm).
- After the CA has set up, light a match, blow it out, and hold it under the sprue wire. The heat will cause the sprue to contract and go taut.
I’ve been terrified of this technique for years, but now that I’ve tried it, I doubt I’ll ever go back to monofilament for rigging radio wires again. Some white glue insulators, Model Master steel paint, and a little bit of drying time later, and the 109E-7 was done!
Here are the results.
Thanks for looking! If you have any questions or comments, by all means leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them in a timely fashion…