Bf-109G Royal Class
No other kit that I can remember has caused as much commotion as the Eduard Bf-109G. Eduard had already had the sets in the production when “Sizegate” hit. The kit was larger than 1/48th scale and had some shape issues. Eduard had already committed to the kit and announced that they would still release the Royal Class kit with the larger molds. The Royal Class was the first time that the G-2, G-4 and G-14 would be available from this company. Would it be worth the money? I guess that would depend on how wrapped around the axle you are on the size and shape issues.
The Royal Class comes in a large box that is full of goodies. Starting with the plastic, the kit is molded in light grey plastic with no flash. The kit features recessed panel lines and rivet detail which is beautifully rendered. This is the first time that Eduard has released the G-2 so there are two sprues with new fuselages. There are two G-6/14 sprues as well. Two wings each are included for the G-2 and two for the G-4/6/14. So you get four fuselage and wing sets. You can’t actually build all four because you only get two accessory sprues and two cockpit sprues. There are two clear sprues that have the two types of canopies included. So to sum up the plastic sprues, there are eight sprues of grey plastic and two clear plastic. All is not great though. I did notice that there were sink marks in the back of the propeller blades and on the fuselage at the wing root area on the bottom. Both were easily filled with superglue and accelerator with no loss of detail.
As always with Eduard kits there are two frets of photo etch. One is pre-painted and the other is in brass. There is also a clear acetate film.
The decal sheet contains markings for 16 aircraft from the G-2 to the G-14. The decals are printed by Cartograf which means they are thin, opaque and work flawlessly. There are also two sheets of full stencil markings.
The instruction sheet is printed on high quality paper and in typical Eduard fashion. I didn’t find anything that looked out of place. Just pay attention to which version you are building.
Since it is a Royal Class kit there are Brassin upgrades included. You get two sets of Brassin G-6 wheels, which are beautiful. There is also a Brassin set of cannon pods. I immediately noticed something was different. The Brassin cannon pods were 2-3 mm smaller than the plastic ones in the kit. Hmmm. Turns out that the Brassin ones fit the kit properly and the kit ones are too large. I’m not sure why that happened. There is also a set of W.Gr.21 rockets for under the wings. You may not use them in this build but it is nice to have them. The final item is fabric seatbelts. These are gorgeous.
Another unique item for the Bf-109G kit is the inclusion of a part of a real Bf-109G-6 from JG-4 along with a certificate of authenticity. The aircraft is one of the marking options and it in itself is quite unique without German markings.
Along the same lines as their Spitfire kit, Eduard also includes a very nice beer glass and a coaster. There are six different glasses. Which one you get is a mystery. The coasters have the color profiles of all 16 marking options. Again it is up to chance as to which one you get. If you want to get the whole set of beer glasses or coasters Eduard sells them separately.
If that isn’t enough there are more Brassin sets available such as the engine and radio compartment. There is also a Brassin set for the landing gear. This is molded in bronze. I wanted to add those items as well. If you are going to do it you might as well overdo it. The Brassin cockpit wasn’t available when I started so it will have to wait for another model.
Now let’s see how it all goes together.
The first thing that you will need to do is decide is which version you want to build. I decided that I needed to at least build a G-2 since this was the first time the kit was offered by Eduard. What better paint scheme than Trautloft’s machine in its unique three color scheme? Then it was a matter of figuring out which other one. I thought about doing a G-14 with a tall tail but I’ve always wanted to build Oblt. Kurt Gabler’s natural metal machine so that was the next one. It would look really nice with the Brassin items so I was set.
Time to get going. Instead of going right to the cockpit as is the norm, I went to the instructions for the engine and radio compartment. There are some panels that need to be removed or altered so I opened them up. Chain drilling the panels made removing them easy enough. I used a Small Tool Shop Photo Etch Bending & Rolling Deluxe Brass Assist (Part# SMS006) to impart a slight bend in the radio compartment photo etch to match the fuselage side profile.
Most of the front of the kit was removed. This required careful sawing and removal. Study the parts and the instructions and it all becomes clear as to which parts need to be removed. Now that the model was prepared for the Brassin parts it was time to move on to the construction of the model.
The cockpit was easy enough to do. With the addition of the photo etch parts and the unique clear plastic fuel supply line the cockpit is actually quite nice and complete. The pre-painted photo etch instrument panels are the bees knees. They are perfect little examples of the real thing. Eduard captures the different nuances of the instrument panels. You are given a choice with the seatbelts, either pre-painted photo etch or fabric ones. I used both and I thought the fabric ones were nicer and easier to ‘pose’. They did require some delicate work as they are thin. Also don’t forget to remove the backing paper.
The assembly sequence differs slightly from the Profipack. Eduard has you move onto the wings as the next step. Again make sure you use the correct wing for your variant. The wings fit together beautifully. Leave the flaps and radiators off until after joining the fuselage later in the construction. If you are going to use the plastic gondolas, which I don’t recommend, don’t forget to open the holes for them. Luckily I didn’t need to add them.
Then it is back to the fuselage. The exhausts have to be added from the inside. To me they looked a little big but that may just be me. Also the G-2/4 requires you to add the tail wheel prior to bringing the fuselage together. The join of the fuselage is near perfect. I did have to put a little bit of filler on the saddle panel in front of the canopy and on the lower nose. Speaking of the lower nose, I thought the lower cowling looked a little squared off. Again that is my perception. Your mileage may vary. Now is a good time to add the horizontal tail surfaces and rudder. Since one of my marking options had a white rudder I didn’t add it. The fit is perfect so I just added it after painting.
The wing/ fuselage join is a bit of a puzzle to me. Everywhere else Eduard puts the seam line on a natural panel line but on the aft wing to fuselage join is formed into a V that did require some filler. It is not a natural panel line and I did have to rescribe a panel line. Another panel that was missing is located under the fuselage. Again Eduard had a scribing template for the Hasegawa kit that I used to add this panel. The fit of the wings to fuselage everywhere else fit perfectly.
Now is a good time to add the lower oil cooler on the nose. I have a technique for the flaps. I attached the flaps to the wings, leaving the lower inner flaps and radiators off until later. If you do this you can now place the model flat on the table and this will set the outer and inner lower flap angles perfectly. While they were drying, I attached the lower inner flap to the radiators. Then taped the radiators to my table so that the flaps were touching at the apex of the flap. This ensures that they are the same angle as well. Once everything dried overnight, I add the radiator flap assembly to the wing. All the flaps are now set at the correct and same angle. No muss, no fuss and perfect angles.
I added the canopy sections now, except for the one with the exposed engine. That wouldn’t be added until the later. The masks for the canopy are perfect. Now I masked off the rest model. The entire model was wiped down with Plastic Prep. The area around the canopy was sprayed Tamiya German Grey. Then the model was sprayed with Alclad Grey Primer. Surprisingly, there were very few areas that needed touch up. That was more a tribute to Eduard’s model than me.
Since I was going to do the G-2 as Trautloft’s machine I needed to paint the yellow fuselage band, wing tips, and lower cowling. I used Tamiya Flat Yellow for my model. This was lightened with flat white to give it some slight fading and streaking. After masking those areas off, it was time to add the RLM 76. I used Model Master Acrylic for mine. I lightened it a little with white and added small squiggles to the belly to show some wear as the second step in the weathering after the pre-shading. Call this post fading. I masked off an area on the tail for the swastika and the work number as these are visible on the photos of the real machine. It would have been nice for Eduard to include the patches in decal form, but it wasn’t difficult to do.
Now came the time for a decision. The Eduard call out calls for RLM 02, medium green and RLM 70. With a little help from my friends on the internet I was able to come up with a color photo of the actual machine. After color correcting the photo I determined that the area called out as RLM 02 was actually a very light cream color. I matched the photo with Vallejo Ivory. It looks weird but according to the photo it is correct or a reasonable facsimile. Then came the medium green which was probably mixed as well from some paint stock. I used Model Master Marine Green. It was a good match to the color photo. Then the RLM 70 was added to the model. It still looked weird to me but the color photo shows it to be correct so I left it. JG54 did have some strange color schemes, this was just one more. One more thing was left, the rubber seal on the aft part of the upper cowling. I masked it off and sprayed it Vallejo Dark Rubber. I thought black was too dark and stark.
The landing gear was painted with Polly-S RLM 02 and Bare Metal Foil to the oleo portion. I added the landing gear and allowed the model to sit overnight while it dried. Then the model was given a coat of Future with a couple of drops of Tamiya thinner. This mixture works like a champ. The model was allowed to dry overnight.
Both the Eduard and Cartograf decals were added with no problem noted. They were thin and fit well. The fuselage crosses were slightly too large. They should fit inside the fuselage frames and mine were slightly larger. I used Solvaset on them but that wasn’t really required. They were so thin I didn’t even add a glosscoat over them, just a coat of Alclad Flat.
I decided that I didn’t like the light brown color so I added some Sin Filters to it. I used Brown for sand yellow to change the look of the paint and give it a slightly warmer look. Overall weathering was easy enough as the aircraft in the pictures was very clean looking. I started out with a burnt umber artist oil wash all over the model. Some chipping was added to the wing root area and the wing leading edge with a sponge and silver pencil. The exhaust staining was added with Mig pigments and Tamiya weathering packets. Burnt umber and burnt sienna were streaked along the belly with thinner.
With the weathering done it was time to complete this baby. Small items such as the mass weights, antenna mast, DF loop and canopy were added. An antenna wire was added from EZ Line. The final piece was the prop and spinner.
Overall it looked very nice and I was quite happy with the final look of the model, despite it being not to scale.
Since I’d already built the Profipack G-6 I thought I’d try something a little different on this aircraft. This aircraft was the recipient of a bunch of Brassin stuff. In addition to all that stuff I would paint in NMF. I’d always hoped to rivet a 109 in the attempt to build this aircraft. Since Eduard did the hard work for me and this was a marking option, why not?
I won’t go into each set but I can tell you that the radio compartment was perfect. The brass landing gear were also very nice. The Brassin wheels that come with the Royal Class worked out just fine too. The engine was a pain in the butt but I finally got it to work. See the separate reviews of these items for building tips, especially on the engine because if you build it like the instructions show you will not enjoy life, just like I didn’t.
I started by priming the entire model in Alclad Grey Primer. Some panels were masked over and painted Alclad Black Primer. Then the model was painted in Alclad Duraluminum. Some panels such as the gun troughs, fuel access panel, and the master compass panel were an even darker color so I used Model Master Magnesium. I liked the contrast of the panels but I thought it was a little boring so I masked off some various panels and painted them Alclad Dark Aluminum to break up the monotony. Now I masked off the wing tips and painted them and the rudder Alclad White Primer. This covers quickly without a lot of buildup. The tail band was masked off and sprayed Gunze Russet, twice to get a nice deep dark red. I intended it to be a different shade than the Red 8 because you can see that in the photos of the real thing.
There would be a few decals on this aircraft such as the fuel triangle and the “Red 8” markings. I added Alclad Gloss Aqua which does not change the metallic look of the paint. I needed to ‘fade’ the upper wing crosses so I elected to use some paint masks from Gator’s Masks. They performed flawlessly and I look forward to using them again. With the masks in place I sprayed the markings with the Alclad White Primer. After adding the appropriate masks over the white I then sprayed Alclad Black Primer on the underwing crosses. After pulling off the masks I gently sanded back the white on the upper wings until I was happy with the look. I don’t really think the real aircraft had any upper wing markings but it may have and that is good enough for me. All the crosses were sealed with Alclad Aqua Gloss and left to dry overnight.
Weathering this would be different than the G-2 as it was used. Weathering a NMF is not too difficult but the effects build up quickly. I started with a Mig Cold Grey wash. This was supplemented with a wash of artist oil Lamp Black thinned with Turpenoid. The oil leaking on the belly was the next thing to add and that was done the same way as the G-2. The exhausts were painted on with a very thin mix of Tamiya Red Brown and Flat Black. The exhaust pattern is quite distinct on the photo so I tried to replicate that with my airbrush. Once happy with the overall pattern I used some Mig pigments to darken them in and make so subtle color change with the darker colors at the front by the exhausts. Some Mig pigment dried mud and dark mud were added to the wing root. This made the NMF look really dirty in my opinion. I debated adding some mud splatter but elected not to overdue it.
The drop tank was added after it was weathered. Then the small parts were added just like the G-2. The one thing that I didn’t quite like was that Eduard gives you the Erla Haube canopy but it has the attachment point for the antenna on the canopy. Some aircraft, this one included, had the small antenna mast on the spine. I thought about using a Hasegawa canopy but it was a little larger and had a slightly different profile. So I just used the kit canopy and attached the antenna mast on the spine. I’ll live with it.
After that it was just a matter to finish up the engine cowlings and add the rudder which I left off until now.
This is my take on the Eduard Bf-109G. Your mileage may vary.
- Wings too long
- Fuselage too long
- Exhausts are too large (IMHO) and have the wrong angle.
- The wing tip lights are not separate clear parts. Even Hasegawa does this. I did not know how to make them look realistic on grey plastic so they were just painted like the wings.
- Landing gear angle incorrect fore and aft. It should sit further forward than molded.
- Landing gear are molded with no weight on the aircraft so it sits higher than it should.
- Lower cowl shape and oil cooler are incorrect. Both being a little too square.
- Decals for the fuselage cross are too large even for the longer fuselage
- Gondolas too large even for the too large wings. If you want a gondola aircraft you will have to get the Brassin set.
- The supercharger mount is missing the cutout seen on most 109G-6 aircraft. By the way, this is depicted properly on the Brassin Engine cowlings in the engine set.
- The supercharger front is missing detail
- ETC rack is not correctly shaped. This seems to be a difficult shape for model manufacturers.
- The drop tank is a strange version
- The little bump on the wing root were easily taken care of with a sanding stick.
- The mounting of the wing in a ‘V’ shape is a curious oddity to me. Typically Eduard has made joins on panel lines. They should have done it here too.
- The missing access panel on the belly of the fuselage is an oversight that shouldn’t have happened.
On the plus side -
- It does look like a 109
- The cockpit is nice in the Profipack and Royal Class but it will be missing key parts in the weekend edition
- Decals worked great, even with the fuselage cross being large.
- Fit is very good throughout
- I love the rivets. They look awesome. Some like on the vertical tail are not accurate but they don’t detract from the look.
- I did enjoy building the kit and will build the two others I have, but will buy a whole lot more of the retooled versions.
Is the Royal Class worth the price? I thought so. Of course you will have to overlook the overscale thing. The selection of 16 decal options is quite nice. There are lots of unique looks to choose from. I like the two I chose. The Brassin wheels for the G-6 are quite nice. Since I only needed one set for my builds here I used the other on the Profipack build. The fabric seatbelts are impressive, but they will take experienced hands and some fine tweezers and optivisor. I didn’t need the cannon gondolas or the WGr.21 rockets either. Strangely none of the aircraft options requires the WGr.21 rockets. They will fit nicely in my spare parts box. There are plenty of leftover parts for the spare parts box, almost enough for an entire airframe, minus a cockpit. I’ll try to fit in an aftermarket one. The beer glass came in handy at the end of the build. I enjoyed a good winter lager in it. And used my coaster to protect my bench, like it needs protecting. The piece from the real aircraft was neat. I added to the model shelf. Overall I enjoyed the builds. What you get in the box is fun to build and looks like a 109. While not included in the Royal Class boxing I think I should mention that the engine proved to be a challenge but in the end I have to say that I love the look of the model.
Like I said, I did enjoy building the model. They look good to me.
Recommended, if you can overlook the scale issue. If you can’t then wait for the retooled version but you’ll miss out on the glass, coaster, aircraft part, and some Brassin items plus an extra nearly complete kit.
Thanks to Eduard and IPMS/USA for the review copy. You can obtain yours by contacting Eduard directly at https://www.eduard.com, your local hobby shop or online retailer.