Author Topic: Kit Review - Special Hobby 1/72 Messerschmitt Bf-109E-4  (Read 528 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

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Kit Review - Special Hobby 1/72 Messerschmitt Bf-109E-4
« on: July 19, 2021, 07:06:58 PM »
Special Hobby 1/72 Messerschmitt Bf-109E-4

Reviewed by Brad Cancian

Item: RSH48090
scale: 1/72
Price: 16.20 Euros direct from Special Hobby

Review kit kindly provided by Special Hobby at

The Bf-109E-4

So, I’ll admit a very soft spot for the Bf-109, and the Bf-109E series in particular. I’ve always loved the aircraft, ever since I was a small child. I had an Airfix 1/24 scale 109E as a kid, which catalysed my love for the lines of the 109E. It’s the machine that best represents the Luftwaffe at its height – a fearsome enemy, clichéd yellow noses and all. The box art evokes this feeling, with a 109 engaging in fierce combat with some RAF opponents (and downing both of them, with a third in its sights, by the look! The instruction sheet provides some insight into this real event).

Honestly, I don’t really need to describe much about this aircraft – so much has been written about it that it doesn’t bare repeating. I’ll let the front page of the instruction sheet do that for me!

The Bits and Bobs

Special Hobby’s E-4 was released early in 2021, and is the flagship for a new series of 109Es from this manufacturer. Upon opening the box, one is immediately struck by the quality and finesse of the mouldings. The mouldings are far removed from the limited run fare of the Special Hobby of old. The quality is almost as good and the mouldings almost as fine as a contemporary Eduard or Tamiya kit. Accordingly, you won’t see any resin or etch in this kit (although after market items are already making their way to retailer’s shelves; inevitable for such a popular subject as a 109). None the less, this kit clearly represents a further leap in Special Hobby’s moulding technology and presentation.

The kit consists of 94 plastic parts across three sprues (though some of these aren’t used for the E-4 variant), plus a lovely instruction book and high quality decals. There is no etch nor masks included. The sprues come together in a single bag, and clear parts are packed in their own bag.

Sprue A contains the fuselage halves, wings, elevators, rudder, flaps, ailerons, engine cowl, drop tank, and engine halves. The feature here is the fine riveting all over the airframe. Sprue gates are generally small and well placed, and the surfaces are not marred by mould release plugs in inconvenient places. Detail is astoundingly good and yet suitably subtle for 1/72, and will look lovely under a coat of paint. Another great feature is the underside nose cowl for the oil cooler is moulded with the lower wing halves, which will save some sanding and filling here. All flying surfaces are separate, save, strangely, the elevators (but these won’t be too hard to cut and reposition). The fabric surfaces of the rudder, elevator, and ailerons is very well done, with subtle rib tape and stitching details. All parts are very crisply moulded, and the fuselage panel lines are very nicely recessed. The interior detail moulded onto the inside of the fuselage halves and wheels wells is subtle yet crisp. Amazingly, fine rivet detail lines the interior of the side walls. The instrument panel is also a work of art in this tiny scale, with gauges, switches, and even fastener detail present. The engine is a very nice representation in 1/72, and included some fine tubing and spark plug wiring.

Sprue B contains the fine details – interior, engine, various spinners, wheels, props, radiators, gear doors, and so on. Again, detail here is subtle, crisp, and very well done. Under-wing radiator flaps are moulded open, and slats are separate. Wheels are crisp and well done. The crank case detail for the engine is also well done. Several spinner types are provided, however no tropical filter is provided. Exhaust pipes are not hollowed out (as one would reasonably expect for this scale). Again, fine rivet detail is provided on the slats, gear doors, and various other bits and pieces. There are no major mould lines down the undercarriage legs to be too worried about either.

A wonderful option here is the option to display the full engine and gun bay, sans cowls – this area is comprehensively detailed and will look great when fully constructed and painted. A wonderful option for those that are detail inclined - Great job Special Hobby! For those not so inclined, there is the option to have the cowls closed, though this may also prove fiddly for alignment.

Clear parts consist of two sets of canopies, noting that some are not used. They are all square edged canopies used from the E-4 onwards, and an armoured windscreen is included. The moulding here is crisp and clean, with the canopies being quite clear and the framing marked crisply. They will benefit from a little dip in Future.


Special Hobby’s Instructions are wonderful. These are not the old black and white photocopies of old! Instructions are professionally presented in a full colour booklet, with a comprehensive parts breakdown (including a list of parts not used for this variant) and clear instructions. There are also ‘suggested’ detail additions, in the form of recommended CMK detail sets, or other Special Hobby decals (a nice marketing touch, with points to Special Hobby’s business relationship with CMK).

Colour schemes for four machines are provided in this boxing; they are suitably varied (including a nice yellow-nosed version for yours truly). There is enough variation here to provide some good options.

Marking options are:

•   Messerschmitt Bf-109E-4 flown by Oblt. Gerhard Schopfel of III./JG 26, Caffers, France, August 1940 (the cover subject).
•   Messerschmitt Bf-109E-4 flown by Oblt Helmut Wick, Staffelkaptain of 3./JG 2, Baumont-le-Roger, France, August 1940.
•   Messerschmitt Bf-109E-4 flown by Hptm. Wolfgang Lippert, Kommandeur of II./JG 27, Larissa, Greece, April 1941.
•   Messerschmitt Bf-109E-4 Yellow 8 of III./JG 52, Rumania, May, 1941.


The decals are very nicely printed with solid colour and excellent register. The decal film looks nice and thin. A full set of stencils are provided. The centres of the swastikas are provided separately, and seat belts are also provided as decals. No complaints here.


I dare not wade into the waters of accuracy on this one – 109s in particular are a passionate subject for many; but needless to say, it looks like a 109E to me, so that’s good enough! What I can say though is that the panel lines, hatches, and rivet lines all look to match with the general arrangement drawings for a Bf-109E-4 contained within the AJ Press Me-109 book series.


What an amazing package from Special Hobby. My how far they have come - this model represents this manufacturer at its finest. The quality rivals Eduard, in both moulding and presentation. The surface detail is amazing, executed with finesse, and rivalling similar detail in 1/48 and even 1/32 scale. Whilst there is no etch of masks provided (and thus some compromises such as decal seat belts are utilised), the kit should build beautifully out of the box. The fact that a full engine is provided is wonderful, for those detail inclined. There is still room also for some additional details (seat belts, engine plumbing, brake lines, etc etc) for those who really want to go nuts, but honestly, a comprehensive kit is right there in the box.

The 109 market is highly competitive; the Special Hobby series of 109Es are certainly up there amongst the very best, in fact, maybe this is the best one out there in 1/72, period. And for the price, this is an absolute bargain. Highly recommended!

Our very sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample!

Offline WD

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Re: Kit Review - Special Hobby 1/72 Messerschmitt Bf-109E-4
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2021, 10:23:03 AM »
Thanks for the review Brad, very good sir.

Being a 1/72nd scale a/c fan, I've followed this closely, and this kit definitely has its share of issues. I'll leave it to the master of the 109 in 1/72nd himself, Barry Numerick of the 72nd Scale Aircraft forum to explain:


And here:

When it comes to 109's in 1/72nd, Barry is certainly the Meister as far as I'm concerned.

I hope you enjoy his build threads.