Bf-109E-3 and Detail Sets

Published: February 17th, 2013     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Floyd S. Werner, Jr., IPMS# 26266
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard
Price: $39.95
Product / Stock #: 8262

Brassin Detail Sets

Eduard's Bf-109E series has released all the variants of the Emil. This is the first time, other than the Royal Class, that the E-3 version is available. The Profipack release is typical Eduard quality with the suitable extra items, such as photo etch and masks. While a good deal and adequately detailed right from the box, what happens when you add all the Brassin items designed for the kit? Well we are going to find out.

I built a Hasegawa 109E with the Verlinden detail set way back when. I remember the poor fit of everything. I hoped this wasn't going to be a repeat of that laborious process.

The Kit

My version of the kit came molded with three dark grey plastic sprues and one sprue in Eduard's RLM 02 plastic. I detected no flash anywhere and there are no mold markings that I could find. The surface detail is without a doubt the best in 1/48th scale. The trailing edge of the wings is very thin, as thin as you can get in plastic. There are rivets. Like them or loathe them, they are very restrained and add an additional dimension to the kit. I personally love them. Besides the basic plastic that makes up an aircraft, you are treated to some extra items that won't be used on this kit, like multiple bomb racks and drop tanks. Good items to have in the parts bin.

There is a clear sprue as well. Two frets of photo etch are included; one is the pre-painted type. A set of canopy and wheel masks are included to make that tedious task simple.

The two decal sheets are produced by Eduard and they look to be in perfect register and suitably thin. We'll see how they play out when we use them. You get decals for five aircraft that are all very distinctive. You have to decide which one to do. I elected to do the box top aircraft, as it is quite unique-looking for my display case. Since I was going to have the engine exposed and panels open, I thought this would make a nice aircraft.

The instructions are printed in color on high quality gloss paper.

Brassin Sets

The Brassin range is specifically designed for the Eduard kits by Eduard, using CAD technology to ensure that the parts fit. It sounds good but will they fit as good as they say? We'll see.

The first set is the Cockpit/Radio Compartment, which comes solidly packaged in a plastic carton. There are 20 perfectly formed light grey resin pieces with superior detail to the kit offering. Two frets of photo etch are included, one pre-painted. I love the pre-painted stuff as they can do things in that process that I can't replicate with paint.

The instructions come on two double-sided pages with the instructions actually on three pages. Page one is for the cockpit, page two finishes the cockpit and then the radio compartment. Page three brings it all together.

The second set is the DB-601. The engine is a beautiful rendition of the real thing. Molded in light grey resin, the engine provides the extra oil tank for the DB-601N, which I wouldn't be using. There are 23 resin parts and one small fret of photo etch. I've built the Royal Class and had to fold photo etch to get the interior detail on the engine cowling. I prefer the Brassin offering, which is thinner and has the detail already molded on in resin.

The next set is the MG-17 Mount. It is beautifully rendered in resin without the need for a lot of photo etch. There are six pieces of flawless light grey resin and a small fret of photo etch. You are treated to two extra separate ammo boxes for a diorama. The mount itself, I think, is slightly too small.

The final set is the wheel set, which consists of five light grey resin pieces with masks to aid in painting. Why Eduard hasn't offered a wheel well set is beyond me. That is the only other set necessary to really complete the Brassin range.

Construction

Construction does not begin in the cockpit this time. It actually starts by deciding engine cowling open or engine cowling closed. I had the Brassin DB-601, so mine would be engine cowling off. I think the way manufacturers have started to build a solid base kit (Weekend Edition), added more detail (Profipack), and then provided extra detail if you want it (Brassin items) is a unique way to approach a model. That means there is something for every level and pocketbook of modelers. Now, being a 109 nut, I decided to see what the Brassin range could add to the Profipack kit. This was an all-out Eduard product. I did not buy the separate photo etch set just to get the wheel well detail, as the Brassin sets covered everything else in resin.

What this means is that most of the instructions will be useless on the base kit. So it is essential to sit down and read ALL the instructions, both kit and Brassin, and PLAN the build. To prove the point, on page one of the instructions, the only thing that you have to do is add the oil cooler area. Everything else is replaced by one or more of the Brassin sets.

I had the Brassin cockpit/radio compartment set, so the radio hatch is actually where I started. I chain-drilled the radio hatch and cleaned it up with a fingernail file. I would have forgotten the radio compartment in my haste to build. Better to get it done early. The cockpit was prepped by removing the molded-on detail with a Micro Chisel and sanding sticks.

The radio compartment fits quite well. I just put it in the fuselage half and slid it aft until it hit a mold release button. It looks like it was there for a reason and that is the reason. The radios themselves are easy enough to assemble, as are the rest of the details in the bay. I added some EZ Line for the control cables that can be seen. When compared to the Verlinden one from years ago, this set is light years better and easier to work with.

The cockpit was next. Again, the construction of the cockpit was very trouble-free. A word of caution here, though - I wanted to use the Profipack's pre-painted part on the circuit breaker panel, so I sanded off the detail on the circuit breaker panel...only to find out that the pre-painted part is too big. Significantly bigger. So I had to cut down the pre-painted part to get it to fit. Is it perfect? No, but acceptable. I did manage to lose the oxygen regulator. An email to Eduard had a replacement part on the way in no time.

I figured out I could build up the fuselage and insert the rest of the cockpit from below later. So, to protect the radio compartment, I just closed up the fuselage. The fit was...need I say it? Perfect. Since I had the fuselage all ready, there is one area of the Eduard kit that is not quite right. That is the fuel access panel on the top of the fuselage. The panel is on the front panel line but it should be 1.5-2 mm aft. I rescribed it with an Eduard scribing template designed for the Tamiya kit.

The wings were built up while I waited on the oxygen regulator, and they fit as perfectly as everything else.

After getting and installing the regulator, I inserted the cockpit from below, which only proved trouble-free AFTER I thinned the side walls quite a bit. Nothing too much, but if you don't thin the sidewalls, the cockpits will not fit properly. The forward MG-17 mount fit equally as well, but I did notice that it wasn't as long vertically as the kit part and, as such, there was a noticeable gap at the bottom. I couldn't figure out if I did something wrong or what, but I ended up living with it. The top fits as it should, so I can only think that the part is not quite large enough. I elected to leave the guns and engine off until later.

The wings-to-fuselage fit like a dream. There was no filler required anywhere. The same can be said for the tail planes - they fit perfectly as well. Just like that, it was time for some paint.

I wiped the model with Polly-S Surface Prep. Alclad Grey Primer was sprayed over the entire model. Not surprisingly, there was no need for any more work. After all, the fit was perfect everywhere.

The model was pre-shaded with Tamiya NATO Black. The wheel wells were painted Gunze RLM 02. While that was drying, I sprayed the wingtips, engine cowlings, forward fuselage, and rudder Gunze White. After letting that dry overnight, I masked the white with Tamiya tape, then treated the bottom and side of fuselage with Gunze RLM 65. I added the landing gear at this time to aid the painting the rest of the model.

Because my leading edges were wrapped around and hard-masked, I used Tamiya tape in preparation for the top colors. While I was at it, I masked off the number area so I could add some intricate camouflage that I wanted to replicate. RLM 02 and RLM 71 Dark Green were mottled and the camouflage pattern was added to the wings. The camouflage was hard-edged, so Tamiya tape was used to obtain the result.

I build my airplane models like an armor modeler, where I add as much as possible. So with that, I started to add the engine and compartment.

Adding the engine the way I did presented some self-induced issues. What I should have done was to add it like the Eduard kit instructions show. This would have made the whole process easier. I didn't, and troubled my way through it, but I think I finally got it. I ended up breaking the right engine mount, so I immediately had an issue with putting it back together. That was all my fault, and my heavy hands just busting the part while handling it. I did notice one thing that the Eduard instructions didn't show. The engine would not fit in the opening without having to remove the front of the engine compartment. I just grinded the front off and thinned the bottom. The Eduard instructions show that this is not required, but I have to disagree. At the very minimum, the front piece of plastic would have to be thinned. All the other components fit perfectly, such as the exhaust stacks and supercharger. This allows the engine to fit perfectly. On the engine, I added some wiring and solder tubing to replicate the plumbing. Without the plumbing, the engine would have been good, but with it, it was much better. I added a serial number from a leftover sheet in the Royal Class kit I built. It would have been nice to include this with the Brassin set.

After the engine and components were installed, it was time to add some distinct markings. A coat of Alclad Aqua Gloss was laid down to prepare the model for the decals. If you haven't tried this stuff, you should. It is easier to use than Future. The decals are printed by Eduard. They are quite thin and in perfect register. The decals performed perfectly, and I'll say it - they may be as good as Cartograf, they were that perfect. They settled down nicely with Solvaset as a setting solution. After they dried overnight, a coat of Alclad Flat was sprayed over the entire model to seal everything and prep for weathering.

Weathering was started with the pre-shading, but afterwards a wash of burnt umber artist oils was applied to the panel lines and was used to build up grime in areas such as the wing roots. A piece of sponge was used to build up the silver chipping with Model Master Magnesium. This was highlighted with a silver #2 pencil. Then I added the oil stains on the bottom with Mig Oil and Grease Stain. Tamiya pastels and Mig Pigment Smoke were added to the exhaust stain area and the gun area on the cowling.

Once the weathering was done, I just removed the canopy masks and added the small pieces. An antenna from EZ Line was installed, and the model was complete.

Conclusion

The base kit is absolutely fabulous and a dream to build. The fit is the best of any kit I've ever built. The only issue that I had was the position of the fuel access panel on the spine. Everything else about this kit is perfect to me. This is my first time I've done the Profi-pack and I'm in love with the kit. The kit decals are quite nice and alleviate the need for aftermarket ones.

The Brassin sets are simply gorgeous and will fit perfectly, as long as you take your time. Any problems I had were all my doing. When I do this upgrade again, and I will, I will just follow the kit instructions and that should take care of any problems I caused myself this time. The results are hard to argue with despite my efforts to screw it up. The looks of the resin is absolutely gorgeous and makes up into a supremely detailed model. Of course, because of all the areas that need to be thinned, I recommend that only experienced modelers tackle this project, but it is certainly a great upgrade.

The whole Brassin range of parts for the 109E is now in a BigSin set. All the Brassin sets worked as advertised, perhaps better with a better modeler. It is light years easier to build than the older Verlinden set. Is everything all rosy? No. The MG-17 mount is a little short vertically, in my opinion. Again that might be my fault. I would have preferred to have the decals for the engine serial numbers. The serial numbers were in the Royal Class kit but not the Brassin set. The engine instructions may have an issue with the nose piece, but that is easily corrected.

Bottom line, I loved the kit and the Brassin sets. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole build despite my best efforts to ruin it. I was very happy with the results and look forward to doing it again. That is the highest praise I can give a kit and aftermarket set.

Thanks to Eduard for the review copy and IPMS/USA for the review opportunity.

  • Cockpit set
    Cockpit set
  • DB-601
    DB-601
  • MG-17 set
    MG-17 set
  • Emil wheels
    Emil wheels
  • Brassin cockpit
    Brassin cockpit
  • Details
    Details
  • Instrument panels
    Instrument panels
  • Brassin engine
    Brassin engine
  • Engine installed
    Engine installed
  • In the paint shop
    In the paint shop
  • Left front
    Left front
  • Left side
    Left side
  • Right rear
    Right rear
  • Right rear low
    Right rear low
  • Right side
    Right side
  • Right front
    Right front
  • Cockpit
    Cockpit
  • Guns
    Guns
  • Engine
    Engine

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