The pinnacle of the Eduard product line is the Royal Class series. The particular boxing features two complete Bf-109F kits, one with square wheels wells and one with round ones. Two clear plastic sprues round out the plastic parts. Brassin wheels, tail wheels and exhausts are the resin pieces included. Two pre-painted photo etch frets are included along with six brass frets. The one fret contains the parts necessary to do the F-1 variant of Werner’s Mölders, the first time this variant has been modeled. Then there are three frets for the exhaust shrouds. A single mask set includes the masks necessary for both models. Of course there are marking options, 14 of them to be exact.
Because this is a Royal Class kit there are others ‘goodies’. A beer glass with the Bf-109F silhouette and a unit marking is included. There are a bunch of units, but you only get one. You can order the other glasses separately. What good is a glass without a coaster to put it on? A coaster is included as well with a unit emblem and one of the marking options printed on it. It may or may not have the same markings as the glass. Like the glasses, you can get the other coasters separately. A ‘collector’ placemat is included for you to add your coasters to.
The unique thing about this kit is this is the first time that the Bf-109F-1 has been available from Eduard. Sprue Q features the early style of wing tip. The other very unique thing about this release is the inclusion of the Emil style stiffening strip used on the early Bf-109F-1s. Mölders and Galland both used an Bf-109F-1 that had this strip on it. So you just know I’ll have to try it. I’ve wanted to capture this unique feature for quite some time so with the PE stiffener it is time to fair it in.
I had the opportunity to review some Brassin items that are not included in the Royal Class kit, but why not add them to this build? It is expensive so why not make it really expensive? I’ll use the cockpit, engine, brass landing gear, propeller (Early), control surfaces and landing flaps.
The first thing to do is to decide which aircraft I wanted to do. You have to choose an F-1/2 and an F-4 as there are only two types of wings, one with squared off wheel wells and one with round wells. I elected to do Mölders’ machine an F-1, Marking Option A, since it has never been available before, and an F-4 similar to Hans-Ekkehard Bob’s white washed aircraft, Option E. I found a picture of an F-4 with Yellow 6. This was the same shape as the Yellow 9 of Bob’s but upside down so that would work for me.
Time to get started and see what we can come up with.
The very first thing I did was to sand the interior of the fuselage in preparation for the Brassin cockpit. The detail was cut off and sanded down as per the Brassin instructions. The other one was going to be built out of the box so other than cleanup it was ready in no time at all.
Then I needed to see if I could make the fairing for Mölders’ machine or would I just ruin a perfectly good model. I used the PE parts to establish the correct location and shape. Eduard’s instructions are okay but I had photos of the real airplane has the strip a little more aft than shown. I taped them in place, then used a marker to outline that. This didn’t work as well as I wanted to I then scribed a line where the PE sat. The PE was removed to protect it until I was ready for it. Once satisfied with the shape I taped off the area with Tamiya tape. Then I removed the molded in ‘bump’ on the wing root. This was simply a matter of sanding it flat. Apoxy Sculpt was used to build up the wing root up to the tape. This was allowed to dry overnight and sanded smooth. The next thing was to add the E style bump and panel. The panel was easy using an Emil as a template with some aluminum tape. The actual bump was a little more troublesome. Until I figured out a way to do it. The first thing to do was to add an appropriately shaped Bare Metal Foil panel. This was simple enough as there are pictures on the internet of the wing root area of Mölders’ machine. Then I used a Scale Model International scribing tool and cut out an ‘apostrophe’ shaped panel out of .005 plastic. This was then pressed into shape much the same as I would have to do with the photo etch camera ports. This provided the correct shape and the vertical relief that I needed. Then a simple bit of superglue to keep it in place and viola, F-1wing attachment points. A few panel lines were scribed near the trailing edge, ala Bf-109E. I just added the photo etch reinforcement strip with some thin superglue and that brought what I thought would be a pain to a close. It was all easy enough with a little bit of patience and planning.
I was going to add an engine to Mölders’ plane so I needed to cut out the appropriate panels. I’m going to mention it here just in case you forget, don’t close up the fuselage until you have the engine in place. You can’t slip the engine assembly in as it is shown in the Brassin instructions. I know from past experience, trust me on this one.
The Brassin cockpit was quite nice. See the review on that. I did sand down the sides slightly. I also sanded down the instrument panel so that it was wafer thin. This allowed the engine and guns to sit properly. It wasn’t drastic but needed to be done. I also thinned the front of the engine cowlings. Again this is only necessary if you are adding the Brassin engine. The Brassin gunsight is a thing of beauty if done correctly.
The kit cockpit is quite nice out of the box. Both cockpits were painted in Tamiya Dark Grey after pre-shading with NATO Black and then given a wash of Lamp Black artist oils. Some RLM 02 and silver were added to simulate the wear and tear of everyday life. Individual items were picked out with Apple Barrel paints. And sooner than you know it, the fuselage is ready to close up.
A little trick I learned early on building these Eduard 109s is that you can and should add the instrument panel backing piece to the fuselage half then build up the instrument panel on the model. This will ensure everything fits and aligns perfectly. It’s a simple method that can save you some heartache.
The Brassin tail wheels need to be added, as well as, the cockpit and the Brassin exhaust backing plates. I needed to remove a little, about .5mm from the backing piece to allow it to fit properly but it was easy to do with a knife blade. Also don’t forget to add the guns as they are impossible to add after the fuselage is closed up completely. You could slip them in from the bottom if you forget them.
For Mölders’ machine, I built up the engine assembly and added it to the model before closing up the fuselage. With the Brassin cockpit and the engine the fit was fine. I did thin the forward cowling a little bit with a Dremel tool. Nothing outrageous. Just a little to facilitate fitting the oil cooler without causing the fuselage to spread. Let’s face it if you are tackling the engine assembly then you have a few resin projects under your belt and know about test fitting constantly.
I added the wings next. Building them up is easy to do. Just follow the instructions. One thing the instructions forgot to mention is to add part I13 to the openings in K3. This is a brand new wing without the wingtip lens covers on the position lights. I couldn’t find anywhere where this early wing should have had the opening and the other, later wing, wouldn’t so I added I13 and filled it appropriately. I could be wrong but I couldn’t find the picture to prove it one way or the other.
Eduard forgets to mention to open up the holes for the ETC-250 bomb rack or the ETC-50 rack whichever you choose.
Before I glue my wings together I do something that is a little unique. I add the flaps to the areas where they belong and glue them in place. I use locking tweezers to ensure that the flap tabs sit securely in their respective spots and glue them in place. This has a two fold benefit. It sets the angle as Eduard designed them to be and they are easier to deal with than after the wings are together. Your mileage may vary but it has worked for me every time. Mölders’ aircraft would get the Brassin control surfaces and flaps so they would be articulated differently.
The fit of the wings is impeccable. The only issue I have with the wings is that Eduard didn’t do the wings on a panel line on the aft portion. It would have been easy enough to do. With the remarkable fit of the rest of the model it would have been easy. As it is you will need to sand the area where the fuselage and wings go together at least on the aft portion. You will also need to rescribe the one panel line and maybe even replace the screws that are replicated there.
Mölders’ plane had a cinema camera in each wing. Eduard gives you these pieces as photo etch. That is all well and good but you will need to do some modifications to the wings and the area where the PE goes is a cutout and glass installed there. I bent the parts as required and marked the area by lightly scribing the INSIDE shape. Note the openings are not parallel to the wing panel lines. Remove the PE and set aside. I protected the area with Dymo tape, then I used a flat file to ‘flatten’ out the opening.
Also as part of the cinema camera system there are bulged panels on the lower portion of the wings that will need to be added. I’ll let you in on a little secret of how I did them. Eduard has you use a ball point pen and score the inside of the panel. Of course you have to do this on a surface that has some give. I used my sanding stick as it has a relatively stiff yet flexible backing. But once I was done with the scoring it didn’t look like it should. The panel is flat around the perimeter of the panel. I ended up putting my panels in my Small Shop Photo Bending Tool and then bending the edge up just slightly. This imparted the proper shape on the sides. Remarkably they worked perfectly. Super glue added these with no problem.
I looked over my photos of Mölders I noticed that there was a reinforcement strip on the wing fillet where it met the wing, very similar to the one that Eduard supplied. I wanted to include this, but how? I thought about heat tape which is silver, about as thick as the photo etch and self adhesive. I cut the strips of heat tape and then used a proportional divider to replicate the screw pattern. I used the same distance as what Eduard did on their PE. I had to use a brand new blade to get the tape to cut properly, but when fitted to the wing as per the photos it worked perfectly.
The tail planes were added without an issue. Adding the front and back canopy parts, flaps and control surfaces had these babies ready for paint.
Since my white washed airplane was going to have no landing gear doors I elected to use the brass landing gear on that model instead of Mölders’. This would provide them strength and allow me to add the brake line with minimal work.
The models were masked off as necessary, namely the canopies. The model was wiped down with Polly-S Plastic Prep in preparation for painting. The first thing to do was to paint the RLM-66 on the inside of the aft portion. Then the interior masks were removed and the canopies added to the model. And the openings were masked off and the entire area was painted RLM-66. Then the whole model was sprayed with Alclad Grey Primer and Microfiller. Surprisingly, I only had one spot to clean up on one model. That is a testament to the fit of the models. I used Tamiya NATO Black to pre-shade the models. Unlike many modelers, I paint the panel lines and then random spraying in between them. This breaks up the monotony of paint colors. It is easier to see on the lighter colors than the darker ones. I consider this my first level of weathering.
I used AK Airbrush RLM-04 over all the spots that required it. Once dry overnight I masked them off with Tamiya tape and then painted each aircraft individually. For Mölders aircraft I used Gunze RLM-65 for the belly and sides. When dry I used AK Airbrush RLM-02. While it was loaded in the airbrush I added some mottling along the fuselage. I masked off the camouflage pattern and sprayed the AK Airbrush RLM-71 Dark Green. I did not like the color and the tonal difference with the RLM-02 so I repainted the with Gunze RLM-71. This looked much closer to the real aircraft. Mottling was added but the Dark Green mottling was not as extensive as the RLM-02.
Painting the winter aircraft was a little different. After the primer coat, the belly was painted AK RLM-76. Then the whole upper portion was painted in Gunze RLM-82 Light Green. Gunze RLM-70 was sprayed in a random pattern. I did not use a lot of care because this would be overpainted in white but I wanted it to show up should it happen with the chipping. AK Chipping Fluid was added to the whole upper surface. This was allowed to dry and then the upper surface was over painted in a patchy random pattern of Tamiya Flay White. Warm water was added to each section and that was then worn with tooth picks, sand paper, a variety of brushes and a tooth brush until I was happy with the results. An internet search proved that the leading edge of the wings was painted RLM 04 Yellow so that was masked off and painted appropriately. Eduard’s instructions don’t show this. The canopy area was then masked off and painted RLM 74. Now it was time to decal.
Both aircraft needed to have their wheel wells painted RLM-02. So they were masked off and RLM-02 was added. Khaki was painted on the canvas covers around the wheel well.
Both aircraft were painted with Future with a drop or two of Tamiya thinner in the paint cup. This prepped the models for the decals.
The Eduard decals are very thin. Mölders would have complete stencils since it was factory fresh. The white washed aircraft had no stencils. The decals are very thin and work perfectly with Microsol and Solvaset. The decals were sealed with Future and allowed to dry.
Now I decided to concentrate on each aircraft separately as they are vastly different in their finishes.
Mölders’ aircraft carried a high gloss finish but in scale that just doesn’t look right to me. So his airplane was over-painted with AK Satin Finish. This clear acrylic has a slightly less gloss look but seemed to be perfect to me. The panel lines were then treated to a thin wash of burnt umber artist oils. This was followed up with three drops of Tamiya Flat Earth and one drop of Flat Black heavily thinned and used to build up the exhaust. Mölders’ aircraft was kept fairly clean and polished but the exhaust streaks built up quickly. Chipping was added to the wing roots with silver paint and a sponge. Weathering the wheels and the belly were also minimal as the aircraft was operated from a runway equipped airfield. With that the weathering was done.
It was time to add the other parts to the engine, namely the exhaust stacks. This was easy enough if you paid attention but I didn’t and installed the wrong side of exhausts on one side. I realized my mistake and had to break them all off and start again. They were sandwiched between the photo etch deflectors. Adding the actual engine cowlings was easy enough. Albion Alloy tubing was added for the support struts as per the Brassin instructions. With that the engine was done.
Removing the canopy masks was easy enough and anti-climatic as they were perfect. The antenna was added to the that and a EZ Line antenna was added to the kit. The Brassin prop was added to the front of the engine after I drilled a hole for it and the model was done. I now had a Bf-109F-1 to add to my collection.
Now on to the white washed aircraft. This aircraft was very dirty and filthy. After the decals were sealed with Future I decided to try AK Streaking Grime for Winter Vehicles. I thinned it slightly with AK Thinner and brushed it on the upper and lower surfaces. This added a level of ‘dirtiness’ to the model. I added AK Panelliner for Winter Vehicles. This was the first time I used it. It worked okay on the gloss finish. I liked the look of the model now but thought it needed more depth. I used some Mig whitewash and Tamiya weathering powders to add some variation to the white. Some white artist oils were added in dot filter fashion and then blended in for just that much more variations. Some AK Black Smoke was added to theh gun troughs and exhaust areas. I was pretty happy with the random dirtiness of the model but thought it needed some mud in the wing root area where the pilot and ground crews would walk. Tamiya Buff was thinned a lot and sprayed over the model to ‘attach’ it to the base. With that the weathering was done. It was sealed with Alclad Flat.
Then it was just a matter of adding the bombs to the bomb rack. I added ‘snow’ to them by wetting them slightly and rolling them in baby powder. The pictures I had showed the bombs attracted the snow as they were rolled under the aircraft and hung in the rack.
The final little pieces like the antenna mast were added. The canopy masks were removed and the canopy was attached in the open position. The wingtip lights were painted in Tamiya Clear Red and Green. I do wish that Eduard would have done the lenses in clear plastic like the real thing. But the end result is quite nice.
Now that I had two vastly different models it was time to use my coaster and glass that accompanied the Royal Class release. Drinking a German beer I was able to sit back and enjoy the results of my work.
These Eduard 109s are a lot of fun to build. Are they perfect? No but I don’t know of a perfect model anywhere. On the F-1/2 wings, don’t forget to use part I13 in K3. The ability to build an F-1 was really appreciated by me. I’ve always wanted to do it. Now if I can find that PE fret for the F-1 I’ll build Galland’s F-0. The restrained rivets are really nice. I think they add a dimension to the model that is not found on any other kits of the 109. Out of the box these kits build up really quick. When you add the Brassin items they still go together really fast. They are not complicated builds and are well within the capabilities of most modelers.
The Royal Class is not cheap but when you factor in the cost of the two kits, the Brassin wheels, Brassin exhausts, masks, colorful decals, the glass, and the coaster it is a great.deal. The hardest part will be deciding whether or not to build it or collect it. They are really great kits. I thoroughly enjoy building them from beginning to end. They look every bit of the Friedrich. I would have liked to have a couple of options for the seats but this kit is great right out of the box. With 14 marking options, there is sure to be something that you’ll enjoy too. Build them. Enjoy the process but really enjoy the end results. Another great Bf-109 from Eduard. I can’t wait to build another one. Oh wait, there is two on my bench now. You would have thought I’d be tired of 109s by now but not these new Eduard kits, they are that much fun. That is the best recommendation I can make for any kit.
Thanks to Eduard and IPMS/USA for the review copy. You can obtain your copy by contacting Eduard at https://www.eduard.com/ or your local hobby shop or online retailer.