by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
BackgroundThe Bf 110G was first proposed as early as mid 1941, when Messerschmitt suggested fitting the new DB 605 engines to the Bf 110F that was just entering service. At the time, though, the RLM was fully expecting the Me 210 to be combat-ready and decided there was no need to develop the Bf 110 further.
As time went on the Me 210 fell further and further behind schedule as serious design flaws came to light, and the RLM grew increasingly alarmed and reinstated the DB 605-powered Bf 110G in January 1942.
The Bf 110F and 'G were initially produced in parallel. The new version was similarly armed and used basically the same streamlined cowls and spinners, while the airframe and undercarriage strengthened to carry extra weight. From the 'G-2 onwards, rear defence was augmented by fitting a twin MG 81Z under a modified canopy, and forward fire-power was soon also upgraded by replacing the two underfloor 20mm MG FF cannons with a pair of MG 151s.
Early's 'Gs were still armed with a quartet of MG 17s in the nose, but the weapon was increasingly regarded as ineffective against armoured enemy aircraft, so a pair of 30mm MK 108 cannons became the norm.
As well as drop tanks and bombs, the Bf110G could carry a fearsome array of additional weapons in a series of Rüstsatz conversions, including:
Rüstsatz M1 - 2 x MG 151s in a belly pack
Rüstsatz M5 - 4 x 21cm under-wing mortars
Rüstsatz R1 - 1 x 3.7 cm BK cannon a belly pack
The Bf 110G-2 served as both a fighter-bomber and day fighter and, to begin with, performed well against USAAF raids, as its heavy armament allowed it to attack bomber formations from beyond the range of the gunners. That all changed with the appearance of long-range escort fighters and the Bf 110Gs were virtually sitting ducks, weighed down by their heavy cannons and mortar tubes.
Just as in the Battle of Britain, the Bf 110 was no match for single-engined fighters, but this was by no means the end of the type's story - the night-fighter versions remained feared adversaries until the very end. But that's a story for another day - and the next release from Eduard in their Bf 110 series...
In kit formNo matter how you look at it, Eduard's Bf 110G-2 is a very impressive kit. The solid and attractive top-opening box is stuffed with no less than 11 well presented sprues, plus etched and resin accessories. Comparing it with the 1990s vintage Revell-Monogram kit (more of which later) makes the older kit seem positively simple.
The kit comprises:
384 x pale olive styrene parts (121 not needed)
12 x clear styrene parts (3 not used)
65 x etched parts (some pre-painted)
2 x resin parts
A set of painting masks
Decals for 5 x colour schemes
The reason so many of the parts will be headed straight for the spares box is that Eduard have used some sprues from their original Bf 110 C/D/E series kits. So, the basic airframe seems unchanged, with its finely engraved panel lines and embossed rivets, but new sprues provide a reworked cockpit and canopy, a generous assortment of weaponry and, of course, the all-important new cowls and propellers.
As has been widely reported over the years, the most serious failing of the Revell-Monogram kit is its distinctly undersized nacelles and spinners. Happily, Eduard's are much truer to scale, comparing pretty well with the scale drawings I have - see the accompanying comparison photos of the Eduard (pale olive) and Revell-Monogram (grey) parts.
Eduard's earlier Bf 110s came in for a bit of stick from some quarters for their complicated interior. Be warned, the new version is no different! Depending on which armament option you choose, expect to use over 120 styrene and etched parts for the cockpit and nose guns. Of course, the reward is one of the most detailed cockpits available in a mainstream kit.
One point to watch out for is that the instructions call for RLM 02 as the cockpit colour. From reference photos, RLM 66 seems much more likely for the Bf 110G, and in fact the beautifully pre-painted etched instruments and consoles are clearly RLM 66, so I assume it must be a misprint.
A combination of old and new sprues provide a comprehensive set of exterior stores, including: bombs, drop tanks, air-to-air mortars, and both 20mm and 3.7 cm cannon packs.
The new clear parts are crystal clear and capture the shape of the canopy better in my opinion than the R-M kit, being narrower across the roof. Both the pilot's and gunner's sections can be posed open, with delicate etched handles and some interior framing to attach. The framelines are crisply defined, but the designers have missed the interior frames of the fixed centre section (these can easily be added from strips of painted decal).
Points to watch out forAmongst all the high points, there are one or two other items that have slipped by. Once again the flaps are plain and lack a fabric effect. My references state that, from the Bf 110F onwards, larger mainwheels were fitted. Eduard have used the same wheels as in their Bf 110C/D/E kits and they are undersized (as are the R-M wheels) compared with drawings. Additionally, they seem too thin and they are treaded, whereas the photos I've found show plain tyres with a fuller cross-section. Aftermarket wheels will no doubt soon be available.
Surprisingly in such a detailed cockpit, no ammunition feeds are provided for the MG 151s. Also, while the 3.7 cm BK cannon belly pack is nicely modelled, original German drawings show a loading array in the hole in the cockpit floor normally occupied by the MG 151s. Eduard haven't included this, so you'll ideally need to fill the void with a bit of scratchbuilding if you go for that armament fit-out.
Instructions & DecalsThe instructions take the form of a 16-page colour-printed A-4 booklet. Everything is clearly illustrated and the quite complicated construction is broken down into logical stages. Apart from the question of the cockpit colour noted above, a small addendum sheet is included saying to use alternative tailplane parts.
Gunze Sangyo paint matches are quoted throughout, and the instructions include a full-page stencil placement guide.
Decals are included for 5 x colour schemes:
A. 2N MN, 5./ZG 1, Wells, Austria, Winter 1943-44
B. S9 FN, 5./ZG 1, Monte Covino, Italy, Summer 1943
C. 3U EU, 10./ZG 26 (III.JG 5), Gossen, Norway, Spring 1945
D. M8 KM, 4./ZG 76, Prague, Czechoslovakia, Spring 1944
E. 8V IN, 5./NJG 200, Russia, 1943
The decals look excellent quality - thin and glossy, with minimal crystal clear carrier film, and printed in perfect register in the review sample. Swastikas are provided in two forms - split diagonally and printed in full on a section of the sheet that can be trimmed off for some markets.
ConclusionEduard's new Bf 110G-2 looks set to build into a beautiful model. In my view it's the best quarterscale Bf 110G to date and scores in several important areas over the old Revell-Monogram version, but it's not really suitable for beginners. With more versions of the Bf 110F and 'G planned, Eduard look set to have the market tightly sown up with the definitive quarterscale kits of this important aircraft. Highly recommended for modellers with a bit of experience.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.