Author Topic: Kit Review - Special Hobby 1/72 Messerschmitt Bf-109E-1 "J/88 Legion Condor"  (Read 1307 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

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Special Hobby 1/72 Messerschmitt Bf-109E-1 “J/88 Legion Condor”
Reviewed by Brad Cancian

Item: SH72459
scale: 1/72
Price: 16.20 Euros direct from Special Hobby

Review kit kindly provided by Special Hobby at

Special Hobby’s Bf-109E-1

Little needs to be said for the pedigree and history of the Bf-109 versions. The Bf-109E-1 first saw combat in Spain, where it completely outclassed its opponents, bar none. This variant also saw service in the early war campaigns in Poland, France, and even the Battle of Britain. The E-1 was replaced by the E-3 model, which had heavier armament than the E-1, carrying wing cannons in comparison to the E-1s wing mounted machine guns.

Special Hobby stormed into the 1/72 109E world recently with their release of the Bf-109E-4. They have followed this up with a number of different variants, including the E-1 model. There are two boxings of the E-1; this one focusses entirely on the J/88 Legion Condor aircraft (the other boxing focuses on early war Luftwaffe aircraft).

We have previously reviewed the Special Hobby Bf-109E-4 model, so I won’t repeat much of the details of that review. Instead, I’ll focus on the main differences between this release and the review of the E-4. I’d therefore recommend that for more commentary on some of the specifics, pop over and have a look at the 109E-4 review I wrote previously, here:

The Bits and Bobs

This kit is just as beautifully moulded as its predecessor. The moulding is crisp, and the detail is fine and beautifully executed. Detailing includes comprehensive but restrained rivet detail, and wonderfully done fabric surfaces, including rib tapes. Like its predecessor, there is no etch or resin.

This kit shares the common sprue B with all of the detail parts which were the same between the early 109E variants.

The standout difference is the specific 109E-1 sprue, which contains wings, stabilisers, control surfaces, and fuselage parts. Most notably, the wing is specific to the machine-gun winged 109E-1. Detail here is again accurate and crisp.

The option remains to display the engine covers off, just as in the E-4 release.

Clear parts consist of two sets of canopies. The canopies are curved, as seen on earlier 109E models. 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 continue to be wonderful. 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.

Colour schemes for three machines are provided in this boxing; all of which are in RLM02 overall, typical of 109E markings of the Spanish civil war. Special Hobby have chosen to model one aircraft each from each Staffel of J/88.

Marking options are:

•   Messerschmitt Bf-109E-1, Staffel 3 J/88, flown by Oblt Hans Schmoller-Haldy, Barclenes Airfield, Toledo, Spain, March 1939.
•   Messerschmitt Bf-109E-1, Staffel 2 J/88, flown by Lt Karl-Wolfgang Redlich, La Senia Leon, Spain, 1938/39.
•   Messerschmitt Bf-109E-1, Staffel 1 J/88, flown by Hptm Siebelt Reents, La Senia Leon, Spain, winter 1938/39.


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. Seat belts are also provided as decals. No complaints here.


Another amazing package from Special Hobby, addressing one of the lesser modelled early war 109E variants. Special Hobby continues to create premium releases, 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. Indeed, I recommend you have a look at the builds on the Special Hobby website, to see exactly what you can achieve with this kit - here's a pic stolen from the link at the top of this page:

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 like their E-4 release, a comprehensive kit is right there in the box. Similar to their E-4, for the price, this kit is an absolute bargain. Highly recommended!

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

Online WD

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Thanks for the review Brad!  I have the Eduard Adlerangriff boxing of the SH kits. Really looking forward to building these one day.

FWIW, those of us over at the 72nd Scale Aircraft forum consider Barry Numerick the 109 guru when it comes to building 109's. His work is always excellent, and a couple of his build threads on the SH kit is definitely worth taking a gander at as he points out some solutions to problems that will likely be encountered with these kits.