Bf 110G-4 Night Fighter
The Bf 110 series is well documented so I'm not going to go into a protracted history here but instead will concentrate on the specific variant and how it may have differed from earlier variants. While history tends to paint the Bf 110 as a failure based on its performance in the Battle of Britain, it really wasn't the aircraft that was a failure but the concept of a heavy fighter that failed and it wasn't just Germany that found this out as the concept of a heavy fighter was popular among a number of countries during the late 30's. The Bf 110 was found to be useful in many roles and was in production and service for most of the war.
The G-4 variant was developed in parallel with the G-2 and began to leave assembly lines in the summer of 1942. It was intended from the outset to carry airborne intercept radar. It's standard armament consisted or four 7.9mm machine guns and two 20mm cannon in the nose and one Mg 81Z provided for rear defense. Additional armor was provided for the forward fuselage but none for the rear cockpit. Like the G-2 it could be equipped with a variety of field conversions including the "schrage Musik" installation, and various different radar sets. The cumbersome radar antenna, exhaust flame dampers and external armament trays markedly reduced the performance of the night fighters. Fortunately high performance was not a requirement for a successful night fighter under the Himmelbett control system but when the RAF began dropping foil strips as a radar counter measure in July of 1943, forcing them to resort to wild boar tactics, the inadequate performance and endurance of the Bf 110 became all too apparent.
Back around 2007 Eduard began releasing a series of Bf 110s in 1/48 scale. It was apparent from the beginning that they intended to release a number of variants due to the number of unused parts on the sprues. As time went all nearly every variant from the 100C on has been released. The kits were well received and very well molded and detailed as one can see by looking at the number of parts supplied. Early builders however found that while the kits in general fit together well there were some areas that didn't and mostly due to the design which allowed the builder to leave various things like the nose section that covers the machine guns there open. All well and good for those wanting them open but closing them lead to poor fit and a lot of complaining on many of the forums. By the time the G variants some of the fit issues had supposedly been addressed but there is some debate about that and the kits will still challenge your skills a bit to build but you will end up with a very accurate and well detailed kit. Most of the variants have also been released in both the ProfiPack editions and Weekend editions. The ProfiPack editions include multiple aircraft in the decals and a color photo etch fret as well as precut masks for the canopy. The Weekend editions typically only have markings for one aircraft and no photo etch or masks. If you are going to end up buying masks and photo etch for the Weekend edition you are better off to buy the ProfiPack as you will save some money. If you look at the three Eduard kits I have reviewed in the 110 Series you will see most of the same sprues are provided. There are usually one or more added or left between the different versions and on some versions the parts not used on a given sprue may out number the parts that are used. If you build more than one of these kits you will end up with a lot of extra parts left over. With that out of the way lets look at the kit.
The Eduard kit comes in a
moderately sized top open tray top box and it is quite packed with
sprues. The kit is molded in Eduard's signature olive tan color and the
sprues are divided between two large resealable plastic bags. The clear
sprues, masks and photo etch frets are individually bagged. The parts
are all very crisply molded and feature recessed panel lines, rivets
and fasteners. The surface has a semi matte finish. A small amount of
flash can be found on some parts. Mold alignment is good and mold
separation lines are relatively light. Fabric surfaces are done with
raised tape lines and no sag between supports. The rivets are so fine
that many are likely to disappear if you get heavy handed with the
paint. Looking over the airframe parts I did not see any obvious
surface defects. Most of the ejector pin marks seem to be in out of
sight areas but there may be a few you need to deal with.
From a detail standpoint this kit is dressed to the nines. The cockpit will no doubt take up a good portion of the build time with all the plastic parts and PE. The upper nose has a very detailed gun section but won't be seen except for the ends of the gun barrels if you close it up. The gear bays are moderately well detailed, the wheels are in halves and not weighted. The wheels are the same ones Eduard supplied for the C, D, and E variants are a bit too narrow and are treaded. The G series used larger tires and typically were not treaded and thus my reason for going with some corrected after market wheels.The control surfaces with the exception of the ailerons are all molded in the neutral position. The kit does not come with engines or the ability to open those areas. The canopy is a multi part affair comprised of nine parts and can be assembled open or closed. Before assembling the wing halves on needs to open holes in the bottom wing depending on the markings you chose. A variety of under wing weapons are supplied, bombs in two sized, rocket tubes, and two different gun packs. The parts map shows a lot of parts not used, probably close to 100 but many of them are for the earlier models C, D, E and F. If you compare this with the G2 review you'll see there are a couple different sprues here, one has the radar antennas on it and one or two that are not included. Lets look at the parts...
The clear parts are nice and clear and thin with raised frame lines.
The decals are printed by Cartograph, one of the bet in the business and these look to be up to their usual standards. The sheet has markings for five aircraft, Hptm. Wilhelm Johnen, 7./NJG6, Neubiberg, 1945, 6./NJG101, Fritzlar, 1945, Stab II./NJG1, Langensalza, 1945 and 6./NJG101 Fritzlar, 1945. They do supply Swastikas both complete and in segmented form, it appears the complete one are set up to be cut off for regions where they are not permitted.
The instructions are in the form of a large 16 page booklet on glossy paper and stapled at the spine. It is printed in color although most is reserved for the profiles of the aircraft supplied on the decal sheet. One page contains all the usual required these days, icon chart, safety warnings, parts map that with all the parts not used is most important, and a paint chart calling out Gunze numbers. Nine pages are used for assembly drawings which seem quite complete but the steps themselves are not numbered. Four and a third pages are the color profiles with paint and marking information and one page has all the stencil markings on it. All in all a most impressed set of instructions.
After Market Goodies
There really is not much need for after market in one of these ProfiPack kits but none the less there are plenty available. A check at your favorite online store will no doubt reveal more. I did opt for a set of resin wheels from Aires (4157) that are weighted (but not so much as to look flat) shown below. The kit wheels come from their earlier series kits and are too narrow for the G variants. They are quite nicely molded with a bit deeper detail than the kit supplied wheels and come with masks.
This is an extremely well detailed and molded kit that should produce a beautiful end result. Due to the complexity and known fit issues I would recommend it for experienced modelers only.
Links to kit build or reviews
An in box review can be found here.
Warplanes of the Third Reich by William Green