Saturday 31 May 2014

Eduard 1:48 Bf 109 G-6 Gustav - in-box build review

Spent my first day cutting plastic on the new 48th Eduard Bf 109 G-6 Gustav. What to say ? ...well it's not often that we acknowledge on this blog that former Berlin hobby shop owner Bobo is right about anything but, to put it bluntly, he is on this. Beautiful detailing, fabulous in the box, but apparently according to Bobo and other modelling Experten out there Eduard's new G-6 may not be the most accurate new-tool Bf 109. How could they let this happen after their brilliant Bf 110s (1:72nd) and Spitfires (1:48th). When I first read/heard that there was a potential problem with this kit, I was kind of prepared to just accept it, put it down to one of those things even. I mean I tend to think that 'accuracy' when building a kit shouldn't necessarily be the be-all and end-all of modelling; but there are limits, the subject has to at least look 'right' as a scale replica. Now after having purchased two Eduard Bf 109 G-6s (total outlay with postage, 60 euros) and then received a third one for review I'm feeling a little ambivalent towards this one...

Of course this is probably old news to most of you, but here's a look at the kit parts put up against the plans published in both the Kagero and the Aerodetail monographs. Firstly, the cockpit aperture appears to be a little over-size. The two photos immediately below show the Eduard fuselage parts taped and placed next to a partially completed Hasegawa 48th scale Gustav..

Aerodetail plan above, Kagero below. Note over-large cockpit aperture and overly long fuselage. I notice that 'Andy' on Aeroscale is attempting a rather convoluted 'fix' although there is really nothing you can 'easily' do to correct that..

Here you can see the wings are far too long towards the tips. The Bf 109 wing has considerable dihedral so a comparison with one-dimensional plans is, I agree, hardly an exact science, but even so, note how long they are. In the comparisons above and below they are minus the large rounded tip parts and are much longer (8mm) longer than the Hasegawa wings. Trimming the wing-tips might be an option but again a little tricky given their nice aerofoil section!

...and unfortunately that's not all. The undercarriage has been molded with no compression and the locating lugs mean the gear legs are too long and "up-right" making the stance of the model from the box totally wrong. The gear legs have brake lines molded on too, but these stand proud of the leg and look a little unrealistic in my view. Nor do I like the join between the lower wing and the fuselage which has been designed too a 'V'-shape. I recall the Fujimi kits way back getting slated because they introduced panel lines where none existed on the real machine- why break it down like this ?

Below, well I made a start on attempting to correct some of the more 'obvious' errors; here's my first day's work on this kit; modifying the gear legs, cutting back the locating apertures for the gear and performing surgery on the wingtips...

I notice Brett Green has now "revised" his review to take into account all these various glitches he missed first time around and is still prepared "to build a bunch of them". He writes,

"..there are a number of strange detail errors and probable misinterpretations, and it seems certain that the kit is oversized too. Having said that, there is no doubting that this model looks like a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6, but those who want a 100% accurate kit will be disappointed by these issues..."

of course I suspect -and indeed I'm hoping - that once built up and displayed on its own a very nice model will result, in fact there have been a couple of nice examples already posted, especially on aeroscale by Ayhan Toplu (below). Ayhan's "Yellow 1" does look fabulous. My guess is the Eduard Bf 109 G-6 will be spoken off by enthusiasts in the same terms as Trumpeter's 32nd scale Emil - nice model but not a scale replica in a scale that we all recognise.