The second Big Ed set to land on my desk is even more comprehensive than that for the Ki-61
. Big Ed 4849 combines no less than 6 existing Eduard sets in one package:
- 1. 49316 - Bf 109G-2 Detail set
- 2. 48466 - Bf 109G Wheel wells and canvas cover
- 3. 48444 - Bf 10G/K Access and scribing templates
- 4. XF562 - Bf 109 F/G Large blotch mask-etch
- 5. EX500 - Spinner spirals
- 6. EX017 - Bf 109G-6 Canopy and wheel masks
49316 detail set
Let's begin with the largest set. This comprises 135 etched parts plus a name-plate and is spread across three frets, with one of them pre-painted, plus a clear sheet for gunsight reflectors. The set is designed for the Bf 109G-2 and covers 3 main areas:
1. The cockpit. The metal parts replace sidewalls, control boxes and items like the throttle unit. Basically, you are left with just the Hasegawa cockpit floor and control column, plus a small section of the starboard sidewall - everything else is new. The instrument panel is a very neat multi-part sandwich with exquisite pre-painted detail on the instrument faces. My only concern is the colour of the panel itself - it looks too pale, more like RLM 02 than the RLM 66 one would expect.
The seat gets a very nicely done harness, while the rudder pedals, trim wheels and their chains are all a massive improvement over their plastic counterparts. The gunsight is detailed with a new frame to hold a clear reflector and the canopy is updated with a multi-part headrest/armour plate, grab handles, locking lever and retaining strap. The results should look superb, but do be warned - construction requires a number of boxes to be folded and the buckles of the harness and the various control linkages are quite intricate, so newcomers to etched parts should treat the set with a little caution.
2. The next areas to get an overhaul are the radiators and undercarriage. Both the wing radiators and oil-cooler in the nose get new faces for the radiator cores, along with new outlet doors. The wing radiators'' combination outlets / landing-flaps are quite complex, but should look great posed open.
The undercarriage gets treated to new oleo scissors and the wheel wells are lined with new inner wing surfaces and zipped canvas covers for the walls. Etched brake lines are supplied, but I'll use wire instead for a more 3-D appearance.
3. Lastly, the exhaust shields and drop tank. The kit shields are replaced with metal items which are a much more to-scale in appearance, while the tank gets a new support strap. It's certainly an improvement over the clumsy kit part, but it doesn't cure the other problems with the tank - so I'd still recommend replacing the whole thing with EagleParts' excellent resin tank and ETC rack.
The instructions are very clearly illustrated in colour to highlight were kit items must be modified and are split into plenty of small stages to keep this complex set manageable.
48466 Wheel wells
Hang on! Haven't we already covered the wheel wells? Well, yes - and at first I thought this set simply duplicated the items in 49316... but closer inspection reveals that, along with the liners, it includes 2 different styles of canvas covers. The set is generic for all marks of Bf 109G, and the instructions list references which should help you decide which zipped cover is appropriate for your model. Either way, you are left with unused parts - but they'll always come in handy - most of us are likely to build more than one Bf 109G over the years...
48444 Bf 109 G/K Access Panels
Now this is quite a scary set that should come with a health warning! It sounds innocent enough, but it really is for experts only.
Let's start with the simple bit; there's a scribing template to add a couple of access panels. There - that was easy, wasn't it! Now to the rest of the set - basically, it allows you to place every access panel with a new etched version, complete with a separate cover which may be posed open. Two different techniques are needed to fit them:
1. Open the panel and thin the rear of the plastic to fit the etched frame - this is used for the fuselage radio access panel.
2. Chisel out the front face and inset the etched part - this is the recommended approach for the bulk of the items.
Obviously, the second method is not a job for beginners or the faint-hearted. The small panels must be precisely positioned and curved to match the contours and it's going to take real skill to match the level of the surrounding plastic and make sure there's no obvious line around the etched part. Really, the only point to these separate access panels is if you're going to open them - and then, of course, you'll also need to model what lies inside (which isn't included in the set). So I give the set a large "thumbs up" for potential, with a same sized warning to balance it.
XF562 Etched Blotch Masks
As with the Hien, you get a set of brass painting masks - except in this case they are specifically designed for the Bf 109 F/G. Again, their greatest appeal will be for modellers who don't have an airbrush capable for detailed work. It gives a good way of achieving a passable mottle, but you'll need to use the metal templates carefully to avoid damaging the paintwork underneath.
EX500 Spinner Spirals
Spinner spirals are always "fun". Do you use decals or mask them? Well, Eduard have a neat solution with a selection of die-cut masks made of their new paper-tape. Bf 109 spinner spirals came in many styles and Eduard include no less than 9 different types here. To avoid guessing what the final effect will be, there's a neat diagram showing how each mask will work - so you should have no problem matching the spiral on any particular aircraft.
EX017 Canopy and wheel masks
And finally, as the naem suggests, there's a set of canopy and wheel masks. The set is designed for heavy-framed Bf 109G canopies, so it ties in with the overall target of the Big Ed set - namely the 'G-2. Again the masks are die-cut in the new material which in my opinion has the ideal combination of adhesion and flexibility.
This is easily the most comprehensive package I've ever seen for the Bf 109G. Although it's aimed at the 'G-2, with careful use of references, many of the items are applicable to other marks of the 'G and 'K. To get the maximum out of it, you'll need a fair amount of experience, but the beauty of the pack is that combines Eduard sets which are available separately in a more economical form - bought separately, the items included would cost $70.74, so you're saving $20.79. Recommended.
Thank you to Eduard for kindly supplying the review sample.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on ARMORAMA