In the first part of this article describing the Bf 109E Royal Class edition, I described the box contents. Here, I will now describe the kit bonuses offered within, specifically the first of them, a 1/4 scale plastic instrument panel that was mounted in the ‘E’ versions of the Bf 109E.
Most of you will recall the very first Eduard instrument panel that was produced to go with Royal Class No.R0005 (the Bf 110 in 1/48th). Some years after that Royal kit, the instrument panel was released on its own under the catalog number 14001 (and sold very, very quickly). This -109 panel is more advanced than its predecessor in terms of innovation based on the technological strides we have made since the older panel was released. The approach to the engineering and historical research has also been refined. One such improvement is the use of decals for the dials, rather than pre-cut foil. The decal method works a bit better on fine details on the instrument dials, but also on various switches and even hand-scrawled notes on the panel itself.
Looking at the details of this particular bonus.
The basic plastic components total 85 and come on three sprues: black (containing mostly some of the switches, screws and instrument bezels), dark grey with two separate parts of the ‘Instrumentenbrett’, and the clear parts that address the instrument panel glass and the Revi gunsight glass.
As with the Bf 110 panel, the colors that the plastic is molded in allows assembly without painting, or with a bare minimum. Of course there is always the option to paint the panel, or to at least give the various components a sheen, and thereby achieving a very convincing effect. The black bezels will stay black, but you can decide which parts will be more matt, and which will be more of a gloss. The eternal question that will be asked is should the panel itself be RLM 02 or RLM 66, since according to references, these shades varied and alternated in the ‘E’ version, causing the eternal modeling dilemma…;-)
Color Photo-etched Details
A vital feature of this kit are the photo-etched parts, which deal with placards. Don’t be fooled by the fact that on the photos of the brass, other, much smaller panels can be seen. These are not in 1/4 scale, but rather 1/48th scale, and are those that belong to the two Emils offered in the Royal Class kit….;-)
The photo-etched brass is also in a second, this time unpainted, format. These contain mainly the Revi 12D gunsight details, and the gun charging levers that were so prominent in the Bf 109E cockpit.
The text on the photo-etched parts and placards were given a lot of attention and consultation with experts, in order to avoid as much possible mistakes, to the extent of using the correct font type, according to historical examples.
The same sort of care was taken with respect to the scribings on the individual instrument dials. Here, it is worth noting that we chose dial styles that correspond to the given timeframe (as you well know, an instrument with the same Fl number and from the same manufacturer could differ according to the time of manufacturer or version). Simply put, there could be minor variations in the speed indicator or even the temperature gages between the Bf 109E and Bf 109G. Our reproduction of the Emil is true to the version even in this respect.
The instrument dials and various stencils, as has already been noted, are supplied as decals. As opposed to the printed, self adhesive foil supplied with the older Bf 110 panel, the decals allow us to produce much finer dials and stencils. The dial depressions in the panel, unlike with the -110, have no ejector pin marks, so that the decals drop in quite easily, and there are no imperfections below them to consider. And staying with the decals, there are a couple of things I’d like to mention before anyone has a close look or begins construction of the kit. The first concerns decals No. 30, 31 and 32. The instruments for which they are meant (fuel gage and two types of temperature gages) were manufactured so that the bottom part of the dial and the dial needles were covered with a metal layer which were labeled either ‘L’ or ‘oC’. Above that was the instrument glass. Because during layering (dial face, metal needle, metal cover and glass), the decal serving as the aforementioned metal cover copies the relief under itself (the new Eduard decals do a marvelous job of copying the underlying material), the cover decal is therefore placed on the inside of the glass part. This is why there is no pattern visible on decals No. 30, 31 and 32. This detail is hidden under the black but will be visible after proper application under the glass. It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds…..
The other decal detail that needs to be pointed out concerns the compass. Decal No.34 is positioned on the inside of the clear plastic part No.2. Be careful of its orientation, and first dry fit the plastic parts of the compass together to get a feel for the assembly. After placement of the decal, it can be easily trimmed.
The color instructions are in A5 format consisting of eight pages, and will result in problem-free assembly. The rest is up to you. We hope that this Bf 109E instrument panel will add a rather unique piece to your collection.
And that covers the first bonus of Royal Class Kit No. R0007, and by far not the only one. Stay tuned to Eduard Blog and visit our Facebook page for more photos and information soon.
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