The Bf 110 went through many technical changes throughout its career. It entered the war as a heavy ecort and attack fighter and remained in service until the last days of combat as a nightfighter in the G-4 version, thanks to a heavy forward firing armament and radar. As such, it was the nightfighter role that would prove to be the most significant for the Bf 110 during the course of the Second World War.
Night air combat was very different from that of daylight dog fights not only due to physical conditions, but also through the necessary development of specialized tactics. Instead of acrobatic maneuvering and jockeying, it became preferred to slowly position behind the target, get in close, and hit hard. Naturally, acquiring a target in low light presented the need for entirely new approaches on its own. Aircraft during this timeframe needed new armament and electronic equipment to maximize usefulness. generally, there was no great use for single-engined developments, although there were successful evolutions of the Bf 109 and Fw 190 in this role (see Eduard Fw 190 Nightfighter "Dual Combo" kit review here
The bulk of the night fighter role was carried out by twin engine types whose original role was either that of day-fighter or, more likely, as bombers (Ju 88, He 219, Me 262 and others). The Bf 110 G-4 was the most prolific of all of them. The required equipment for the G-4 was an on-board radar system, mainly the FuG 202, FuG 220, FuG 212 ( SN-2) and FuG 218. Part of the basic armament was often the installation of 30mm MK 108 cannon in the nose and 20mm Schräge Musik cannon (slang term for "Jazz Music", prohibited in Germany at that time) used when the target was above and slightly ahead of the attacking fighter.
(Source: kit instruction)
Eduard's new Bf 110 kit is packed within a medium sized standard "ProfiPACK" cardboard box. The box is packed to the brim with no less than 12 sprues of plastic. The record of the previous G-2 boxing (see review here
) is therefore broken! Unfortunately, I have noticed that one small part was missing on one sprue (S8, the rear part of the supercharger intake). I believe this must have happened during the packing process because the two plastic bag are barely big enough for all the plastic sprues. Maybe it would have been better to use one more plastic bag. Anyway, I hope it was just bad luck and that the other kits aren't affected.
I won't comment too much about the overall qualities of the kit, since it is comparable to the previous Bf 110 boxings. Please refer to the above mentionned G-2 review for more details.
The new Bf 110 G-4 kit comprises:
- 10 sprues of pale olive styrene parts.
- 2 sprues of clear styren parts.
- 2 photo etched frets (one pre-painted).
- a set of painting masks.
- a decal sheet for 5 X colour schemes.
- an instruction booklet.
When examining the parts layout diagram on the instruction sheet, one can notice that many parts won't be used during construction of the model (highlighted in red on the accompanying photos). The kit is such a big spare parts provider because it shares many sprues with the initial boxings of the Bf 110 kit. In fact, only the sprues labelled "N", "T" and "V" are exclusive for this boxing:
- Sprue "N" holds different vertical tailplanes (with bigger rudders - vertical tailplanes with smaller ones are also present on sprue "R"), a different bomb rack, a different support for the pair of 30mm MK 108 cannon and two different nose configurations (2 X upper and lower panels). One being not used in this kit, I wonder if they will be used in an other Bf 110 G boxing or even in a Royal Class edition?
- Sprue "T" is mainly composed of the parts to do the FuG 220 SN-2b/c/d nose radar antennas (early and late type of mounting are included), but also the 30mm MK 108 cannon, the 20mm Schräge Musik cannon, the air entries and exits for the exhaust flame dampers etc... I was curious to see if PE radar antennas would be included but it is not the case. In fact it isn't necessary since the plastic parts are very fine. It is also to note that 20 radar antennas are provided (parts T11) while in fact only 8 are needed. Now don't tell me that the people at Eduard don't worry about the modellers!
- The third "all new" sprue ( "V") has two fuselage halves (with additional armor plates in front of the cockpit) and the exhausts equiped with flame dampers.
The quality of the new sprues is very good as you would expect from Eduard. The surface of the plastic is finely engraved and also features nice reliefs. I found almost no traces of flash and no sink marks on the exclusive G-4 parts. There is a lot of flash on the trailing edges of the wings though (sprue "N"), but nothing too dramatic as some light sanding of the parts will quickly solve the problem.
The clear parts are very nice and every display combination is possible: all closed, all open or a bit of both. Part U1 will have to be used this time, since it has the holes for the pair of 20mm Schräge Musik cannon. Fortunately, Eduard have provided a sheet of masks for the canopy. If only one time you have to use this kind of product in your modelling life, it's probably for the complex greenhouse of the Bf 110!
Two PE frets are present in the kit to enhance the already high level of detail of the kit. One is pre-painted and has mostly parts destined to the cockpit (instrument panels, rudder pedals, gun sights, rear gunner seat netting, seat belts etc...). The other features grills for the engine radiators, inside details for the cockpit access windows and the rectangular sheet metal guard (placed so to deflect the 30mm shell casings away from the starboard engine - for marking A only).
Instructions and decals
The 16-page color-printed A-4 instruction booklet is composed of a detailed History of the Bf 110 and it's G-4 variant (though it's written G-2), some construction warnings, a parts layout diagram, a clearly illustrated assembly guide (spread over 9 pages) and the paint and decal guides (5 pages). Colors are given for the Aqueous Hobby color and Mr. Color range of paints.
With the decals provided, it is possible to do four different aircraft:
A - Me Bf110 G-4, Hptm. Wilhelm Johnen, 7./NJG6, Neubiberg, 1945.
B - Me Bf110 G-4 6./NJG101, Fritzlar, 1945.
C - Me Bf110 G-4 Stab II./NJG1, langensalza, 1945.
D - Me Bf110 G-4 Wr.Nr. 110087, 4./NJG3, Kjevik, 1945.
All the aircraft are of course equiped with nose radar antennas but variant D has an early style of mounting. Option A was camouflaged in overall RLM 76 with RLM 75 blotches and had white rudders. Option B had a spectacular decoration which will represent a real challenge for the modellers to reproduce, as it consists of an irregular "snake" pattern of RLM 83 applied over the RLM 75 upper color and RLM 76 side color. The aircraft also carries yellow tactical markings and white spirals on the propeller spinner.
The drawings for options C and D are misleading: in the presentation text, it is written both aircraft are painted in RLM 74 and RLM 75 upper colors over RLM 76 undeside color (with black on the starboard wing on opion D). But the upper views only show the RLM 75 color. It seems as if the RLM 74 has been omitted by the artwork designer at some stage. An arrow indicates H69/37 color (which is the RLM 75 color in the Aqueous Hobby color/Mr. Color range of paints, though it is written RLM 65 in the paint table on page 2!) for the Lighter areas and H417/117 (RLM 76) for the darker areas!? there is also no paint chip represented for the RLM 74 color and no traces of it in the color table. Confused? I am too! It's frustrating to see that Eduard always manage to include some errors in their instructions, it's as if it's made on purpose...
The decals printed by Cartograf are splendid. Stencils are provided as well as representations of the instruments that were located on the inner sides of the engine nacelles. These were propeller pitch control indicators and engine performance instruments, though they should be placed behind a small window to look more realistic.
Eduard have again produced a very nice kit of an important aircraft. No doubts the whole Bf 110 G-4 "ProfiPACK" package will represent a big challenge, but the finished model will surely be an impressive replica once finished. Recommended to modelers wanting to tackle an ambitious project.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AeroScale