by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
BackgroundFittingly in what has been the best summer we've had for some time in the UK, Cyber-Hobby have released a new version of their popular largescale "Emil" in the form of the Bf 109E-7 Trop.
It's always something of a shock to open a new kit and see one's own name on the front page of the instruction sheet, but it serves as a very flattering reminder that I must declare a small interest in the development of the original kit, having made a number of suggestions prior to its release. In the case of the 'Trop, however, my only contribution was to point Dragon towards the relevant Gunze Sangyo paint numbers.
The kitThe new version arrives in a good, very solid, top-opening box, and Dragon seem to have simplified their packaging somewhat compared with previous releases, as the accessories aren't mounted on a separate card inlay. That's fine by me, as they are still bagged for protection and it helps save resources in a small way.
The kit comprises:
217 x grey styrene parts (with marked as 31 unused)
7 x clear styrene parts (2 spare)
2 x "DS" vinyl parts
49 x etched brass parts
Decals for 2 x paint schemes
The moulding of the review kit is really excellent, crisply detailed, with not a trace of flash or sink marks, and ejector pins have been kept out of harm's way. The surface finish consists of neatly engraved panel lines and embossed fasteners, with a nicely subtle depiction of the ribs on the taught fabric-covered control surfaces. Some modellers may bemoan the lack of riveting, but I'd prefer to add it if I so chose, rather than have the chore of filling an overdone effect.
As I found in my build of the original kit, the general fit is excellent, and construction of the airframe is very straightforward - the only exceptions being the control surfaces, which are mounted on fiddly little brass hinges and are too loose, so I'd go for the simpler option and cement them in place.
The overall accuracy of Cyber-Hobby's Emil has been widely acclaimed by most reviewers. One of the few points I picked up on was that the trim tabs on the elevators are placed incorrectly and need moving inboard by one set of ribs - a simple fix.
A few detailsWith around 40 parts devoted to the cockpit, you are ensured a nicely busy "office". The moulded detail on the instrument panels is very nice and will repay careful painting. The instrument faces are moulded with neatly raised details which will stand out if dry-brushed, but you may prefer to use decals such as Airscale's for an even better effect. A nice touch is that the kit includes decals for data plates on the panels and sidewall equipment.
I always had a nagging doubt that the pilot's seat is a tad narrow across the shoulders, and seeing it afresh only reinforces that opinion. Dragon have included an etched harness - a little basic compared with the best aftermarket items, but the thought was there. One thing you might want to correct, though, is the odd triangular hole in one of the lap belts, where I presume the CAD instructions went wrong and cut a recess instead of leaving a raised layer representing a strap.
One thing that the designers have missed for the 'E-7 is a fuel line passing through the cockpit for the drop tank. This is understandable, as it's seldom seen in original Emil cockpit photos (Eduard missed it in their recent 1:48 kit too), but it's worth adding to distinguish the version.
Moving up front, Dragon include a 14-part assembly for the nose guns and their bay, followed by a very nicely detailed 30-part DB 601 engine installation. This is basically taken direct from their earlier Bf 110, with new mounts for the '109. Another nice touch is the inclusion of decals for the serial number (but, of course, the actual number will be pure speculation in almost all cases).
Dragon have tackled the dust filter attachment totally differently to Eduard, attaching it directly to supercharger intake the side cowl, but I'm not convinced either have it correct (Eduard have it fitting over the standard intake fairing). I'll just need to keep sifting through photos before I can say for sure.
The wing MG-FF cannons are a simple assembly, but very nicely moulded, and the flexible inserts for the mainwheel wells are a point of inspiration - let down only by having the sprue attachment in a visible spot. It's hard to hide neatly in this soft material, so surely it could have been placed where it would show?. The landing gear itself is effectively done, with separate brake lines and very crisp, deep, hub detail.
The kit contains a well detailed 300 litre drop tank and ETC rack. A 250 Kg bomb and rack are also included, although shown as not for use. However, I think they are appropriate to an 'E-7 if you wish, and the instrument panel features the necessary lower fusing controls.
Finally, the clear parts are beautifully moulded, very thin and distortion-free, with crisp framelines.
Instructions & decals The instructions are printed as one large fold-out sheet that breaks assembly down into 21 logical stages. The diagrams are well done, and Gunze Sangyo paint matches are given throughout. A lot of modellers moan about Dragon's instructions, but I have to say I don't really have any real problem with them. True, I've definitely seen clearer layouts elsewhere, but I can't say I find them confusing - just a bit cluttered. It doesn't help that there are no actual divisions between the stages, so it all tends to flow together.
Decals are provided for a pair of attractive if, dare I say it, rather predictable colour schemes:
1. "White 10" flown by GŁnther Steinhausen, I./JG 27, Libya, 1941
2. "Black 2", II./JG 27, Libya, 1941
Both feature the classic desert camouflage, so it seems a shame that the designers weren't a little more adventurous and offered a couple of the many really interesting non-standard schemes too.
The decals are custom printed by Cartograf to their usual high quality. It's really good to see Dragon now including swastikas, albeit split in two for the sake of political sensitivity. A comprehensive set of stencils is also provided, along with a placement diagram.
conclusionThe Dragon/Cyber-Hobby Bf 109E is a very fine kit - arguably the best 1:32 rendering (alongside Eduard's) of this iconic fighter. It builds generally easily and is packed with detail, making it a good choice for modellers with a little experience. Recommended.
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