1/48 Hasegawa Bf-109E-4/7

by Michael Johnson on Nov 6 2003




Messerschmitt’s Bf109 E-4/7 aircraft, until the appearance of the F model near the end of the Battle of Britain, were the Luftwaffe’s main fighters. They were used in all theatres of operation during WW2. While the design and configuration of the E-4 was basically the same as the E-3, it had the improved square canopy. The E-7 version had a centreline rack mounted to the fuselage for a 300 litre fuel take bomb, plus most of the E-7’s also used a pointed, bullet shaped spinner.

The Kit

This kit was a gift to me from an American friend, who regularly sends me a box of goodies throughout the year. The kit is of the “high tech” variety, containing an etched brass fret and featuring dropped flaps and optional position leading edge slots. I was absolutely delighted to receive this particular subject as I enjoy building Hasegawa kits. They fall together with little effort and are excellent for hassle free building. The decal sheet was large and comprehensive, allowing a modeler to build either of 4 different schemes.

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Construction starts as usual with the cockpit. The cockpit sidewalls, seat and floor were painted RLM66. The instrument panel is a fine piece of moulding, with loads of detail just waiting to be enhanced by careful painting. A base coat of RLM66 was applied, once this was dry the instrument dials were picked out in black and dry brushed in white to bring out dial details. Future was then carefully placed into each dial to simulate glass. The pilot seat was tackled next with belts picked out in light grey and buckles in silver. I then washed the whole cockpit area in raw umber oils and dry brushed to enhance detail. Careful painting enhanced remaining cockpit features, with constant cross checking to my references. The cockpit was then assembled and left aside to dry. 

The etched brass fret consists of replacement parts for the small radiator grills and control baffles under the wings. There is also a part for the intake baffle within the air intake below the engine. These parts were carefully snipped from the fret, cleaned up and super glued into place before the various shrouds were attached to the underside of the wing. The baffle under the engine was left to after the two fuselage halves were joined so as to ensure a horizontal position. 

Now comes the good part, fuselage halves were duly joined, with the assembled cockpit sandwiched between. (At this point something usually has gone wrong. My fingers were crossed!). The completed assembly was then set aside to dry.  

Wings were next on the list and were assembled with no fuss at all. The leading edge slots and flaps were tacked into their respective “retracted” positions in readiness for painting. The wings fitted to the fuselage perfectly. On all sub assemblies, engraved panel lines were re-engraved where necessary. Tail planes were added and the cockpit transparencies masked and attached in readiness for painting.

Painting and Decaling

A tough choice had to be made when selecting a paint scheme. The kit allows 4 versions of the “Emil” to be built. The choices were as follows;

  • 1/JG2 Maj. Helmut Wick October 1940, Belgium “Horrido!”
  • 7/JG26 Obltn Joachim Muncheberg Spring 1941, Sicily
  • 4?JG77 1940
  • Japanese Army 1942 Kagamihara Airbase

After much soul searching and gnashing of teeth I decided to build the Jg77 offering. This particular “Emil” carried a simple RLM02/71 splinter camouflage pattern over the wings and fuselage spine, with the underside RLM 65 carried high up the fuselage sides. There was no mottle at all, which I thought was part of the schemes appeal. In addition to the JagdStaffel shield on either side of the nose, the subject carried a caped skeleton riding a scythe. 

Choice of scheme made, I used paints from my excellent but dwindling Aeromaster “Warbird” acrylics supply. These sprayed perfectly as usual. Once the paints had dried I used “Super Stride” to give a gloss surface ready for the decals. 

The decals looked a little thick on their backing sheet, but were excellent quality, dense and sharp. This proved to be the case when the decals were used on the model. They bedded down well and responded excellently to Aeromaster setting solution, with only the smallest amount of silvering occurring. The “Emil” was then set aside for 24 hours to allow the decals to dry.


My favourite part of building a model kit would have to be weathering! After the decals had dried I sealed the whole plane with another coat of future (wash the decal solution and decal glue away first) and used a raw umber/burnt sienna oil wash to enhance the recessed panel lines. This looks absolutely atrocious until the excess is wiped away with a cotton bud (q-tip) moistened in white spirits. The Future protects the paintwork and decals from any damage by the washing procedure. Once again the model was put aside to cure and finally sprayed with Aeromaster flat, to give a matt appearance. 

Final Touches 

Undercarriage was the last item to be added and apart from careful applications of powdered pastel around the engine exhaust and gun barrels, my “Emil” was finished!! All masking was then removed and the canopy cemented into place using Testors clear parts cement. Finally the flaps and leading edge slots were repositioned “down”. 

In Conclusion 

All together, another fine Hasegawa product. No filler was used throughout the whole model kit with all the parts fitting positively. It was this, more than anything that made this kit a most enjoyable trouble free, build providing me with a break from my usual Monogram kits. 

It is difficult to compare this kit with the equally excellent Tamiya offering, as I do not have the Tamiya one in my stash. But the comments were excellent around the club table, particularly from the club “109” expert. It looks like a Bf109 and that is good enough for me! 

Highly recommended


Me109 in action pt 1                   Squadron/Signal books


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Photos and text © by Michael Johnson