Kit Review: Hasegawa 1/48th Messerschmitt Bf-109E-1
By Floyd S. Werner Jr.
Kit #: 09369
Lesser known than the E-3, the E-1 was manufactured alongside the
E-3. The main differences between them were that the E-1 only had
rifle caliber guns in the wings and over the engine. These rifle
caliber guns proved to be inadequate compared to the wing cannons
of the E-3 for air to air fighting. The smaller guns necessitated
some different panels compared to the E-3, but that was the only
real differences. The E-3 eventually replaced the E-1 on the production
You get the basic E-3 kit that has been around since the 1980s which
features light grey plastic that is blemish free with fine panel
lines. You also get two caramel colored resin plugs that will fit
into the wing bulge areas from the inside. You also get a fret of
steel photo etch. In addition to the E-3 instruction sheet you get
an instructional sheet for the conversion. The decal sheet covers
two aircraft, both are from JG77 and are conventional RLM 65/70/71
camouflage but they differ in the size of their markings. One has
the normal style crosses for the early war and the other features
some strange sized larger wing crosses. There is also a clear sprue
with the three piece canopy and the gunfight.
Cutting Edge Cockpit CEC48379
The kit cockpit is adequate but not good enough for me. I elected
to use the Cutting Edge set as it is the best fitting and easiest
to use. Also you get a great seat with seatbelts which saves you
some work. Molded in bubble free light grey plastic, the Cutting
Edge set is a vital upgrade if you ask me. You are also treated
with an acetate instrument panel.
I started construction by installing the resin plugs in the wings.
These were glued down with superglue and lots of it on the inside
of the wing. Once dried, I sanded the bulges from the outside. Of
course I needed some small amounts of filler once I sanded through
the wing to the resin bulges. I also scribed the correct panel lines
at this time.
Then I went about the normal construction by assembling the fuselage.
The fit was perfect with no filler required.
The Cutting Edge cockpit was assembled outside the fuselage and
preshaded with Model Master Enamel Interior Black and painted with
Model Master RLM 02. Details were picked out with Apple barrel brand
acrylic paint and some Model Master Metalizer Magnesium. The instrument
panel is up to you. You are provided with a resin instrument panel
or a sandwich affair with acetate instruments. The sandwich affair
is the way I selected. It looks realistic to me. I painted my instrument
panel RLM 66. The whole cockpit is inserted from the bottom. The
fit is perfect. I left the seat out until later.
Since I already filled the bulges the wings were handled just like
a normal kit. I did have to fill the hole for the cannon bulges
and the surrounding panel lines, but this was very easy and was
a non-event. The wings include some steel screens for the radiators.
They are see through but I don’t think they detract from the look
of the kit so I lived with them. Other than that the wings were
hassle free. Once they were joined I needed to add the piece of
the conversion and that was to drill the hole for the MG17s in the
wings which is inboard of the cannon holes.
Add the wings up to the fuselage and you’ll find perfect fit everywhere.
The fit is perfect. No filler necessary. This has to be one of the
best fitting kits on the market. The horizontal tail planes are
the same way. You can tell when they are properly aligned when the
support braces fit perfectly. I left the supports off until after
painting to make it easier for me. With that everything is ready
Painting and Black Magic Masks
Washing the model with dish detergent is a vital first step especially
since you have the resin plugs in the wings. I primed my model with
Tamiya Primer White, but in hindsight I think I should have used
Alclad grey primer. This is because the Hasegawa panel lines are
very thin and the primer filled a couple of them in. I rescribed
the ones that I noticed. Model Master Enamel RLM 66 was used for
preshading and is the models first stage of weathering.
Pre- and early war 109s were painted in RLM 65/70/71 with hard
edged camouflage. I decided that this was too much of a pain to
do on my own. I did paint the RLM 65 on the bottom with Gunze and
when it was dry I masked it off with Tamiya tape.
Cutting Edge produces masks for the camouflage in the Black Magic
line and I opted for this quick and easy tool. Thank God I did.
That was way too much masking to do on my own and get it to where
I would have liked it. I painted the RLM 71 Dark Green with Tamiya
XF-62 Olive Drab. I know it doesn’t say it is RLM 71 but when compared
to the color chips in the Monogram Painting Guide it is a near perfect
match. I always like it to be dark. I recently painted a FW-190V-1
and was not pleased with the results as the dark green wasn’t dark
enough. Once this dried, I applied the masks. Don’t forget follow
the instructions and use the oils from your hand to remove some
of the tack. The masks themselves are indexed where appropriate.
The whole masking process took me less than 15 minutes, far less
than if I had to mask them myself. Thank you Cutting Edge. Once
the masks were on the RLM 70 Black Green was sprayed over the model.
The masks were removed and viola’ a perfect early war Bf-109 in
a fraction of the time. A quick coat of Alclad Gloss Base and the
airplane was ready for decals.
I wanted to do something a little different than the Hasegawa sheets
allowed so I hit my decal books and found an aircraft that I liked.
I looked in my reference book on JG77 by Prien and found the same
airplane and low and behold it had the huge markings on the wings.
The Aeromaster decals were based on the Classic Publications books
and they were incorrect. Imagine that. I now had my subject. The
larger markings were in response to friendly fire incidents during
the Polish campaign and would add to the rather bland look of the
early war 109. I had to use two different decal sheets from Aeromaster
to cobble together the markings. I used “Blitzkrieg in Poland Part
I” sheet 48-496 for the aircraft markings and “Blitzkrieg in Poland
Part II” sheet 48-497 for the large crosses. Everything went down
well with a setting solution. Sealing the decals with Alclad Gloss
Base. Once dried the model was sprayed with Model Master Clear Acrylic
Flat in preparation for weathering.
I used a wash of burnt umber artist oils over the whole machine.
This was followed up with very thinned Tamiya flat black and red
brown airbrushed on select panel lines and the exhausts. Gunze Oil
was streaked along the bottom from panel lines aft. Silver pencil
was used to add chipped paint. Some Mig Pigment European Dust was
added to the wheels, lower wings and the wing root area. Everything
was sealed with a coat of Model Master Acrylic Flat.
Adding the little parts such as the mass weights, pitot tube, and
the canopy sections and this baby was done.
This small conversion is easily within the abilities of most modelers.
If you are looking for an easy first conversion this is a great
way to go. Could you use epoxy putty on your E-3 kit? Sure, but
Hasegawa did it for you and the decals are not bad at all. Hasegawa
continues to release this kit with various upgrades and it seems
the molds have not degraded any since the first kits. The fit is
perfect everywhere. What more could you ask for in a model kit?
Are there down sides? Yes, the see through engine compartment and
wing radiators are annoying but I was happy with the end results
and that is all that counts to me.
Cutting Edge Bf-109E cockpit- Highly recommended. The best Hasegawa
Bf-109E interior in 1/48th scale, period.
Black Magic Splinter Camouflage Masks- Essential and highly recommended.
Hasegawa Bf-109E-1- Highly Recommended.
- The Messerschmitt Bf-109: Modellers Datafile No. 9, Lynn Ritger,
SAM Publications, ISBN 0-9551858-0-7
- Geschichte Des Jadggeshwaders 77, Teil 1 1934-1941 (JG-77 Unit
History), Jochen Prien, ISBN 3-923457-19-7
- Jagdwaffe Volume One Section 3; Blitzkreig and Sitzkrieg, Eric
Mombeek, Classic Publications, ISBN 0-9526867-7-5
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