This is the first aircraft kit I have built made by Dragon and I must say I was most impressed once I cracked open the box. In the box is:
- 8 sprues molded in light grey
- 1 clear sprue
- 2 small sheets of Photo etch parts
- Two rubber wheel bay housings
- 1 decal sheet
- 1 instruction booklet
The sprues are well molded with no visible flash, well positioned ejector pin marks. The detail is very fine and crisp. The panels are all great and even vary in depth at the right places on the parts.
As with most aircraft the construction begins with the cockpit which is extremely well detailed. The only thing that was not clear was the exact positioning of the levers (items F39 and F40). I referred to actual cockpit photos to ensure I got them correctly installed. The other issue was the parts F43 and F44 which are to fill the gap between the cockpit floor and fuselage halves. The attachment tabs of part F16 did not fit correctly so I had to remove the tab for a better fit. Also F24 lacked the tab that is used to attach it in the correct position, but this is not a real problem as the part is easy to locate. Once the cockpit is complete the fuselage halves are assembled.
The next stage of construction is the highly detailed engine which is an easy build apart from the parts E6 and B13, as the attachment holes for these were not on the engine body, so I just removed the pins and located using reference materials. Please note you need to place the engine serial number decals at stage 5 as they are covered partially by other engine components as the build continues. Next the lower engine covers are installed. These are tricky to fit and need a lot of attention, or there will be gaps when assembled to the fuselage later.
After the engine, the wings are the next assemblies to work on. The only issues here are a little flash and some ejector pin marks that need work on parts C27 and C28 to allow for a good fit. The photo etch hinge parts for the wings are very small and fiddly. Other than that, these parts the wings were fun and easy to build.
Next the landing gear is assembled and wings are fitted to the fuselage.
The tail, elevators and rear wheel are now assembled. At this point I found the only error I noticed with this kit when comparing to the real aircraft. This was that the tabs on the elevators are too far outboard.
Next the engine is mated with the fuselage and the top engine cover part B1 and gun cover part A1 are fitted. I had to remove material from inside both A1 and B1 to allow them to sit correctly and leave no gaps.
The cockpit canopy is added next with no problems.
Next you have the option of installing a drop tank or a bomb; I chose the bomb which had one problem, the fact that the mating part F32 did not have a hole for the bomb locating pin, which needs to be drilled.
Then came the painting and this is the only disappointing thing for me as the color guide is almost nonexistent and I had to go to reference materials to find all the info. Dragon needs to correct this for these kinds of kits to help the modeler.
This is an excellent great model of the Bf109E-4 and I will look for more Dragon aircraft kits to build in the future as this was a fun and highly detailed build.
Thanks go to Dragon Models USA for providing this kit to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them.
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