Eduard’s limited edition kit, Legion Condor, contains their 1:32 scale Bf 109E that features 163 injection molded parts on seven dark blue-grey sprues (about 22 parts go unused in this version of the kit), five clear parts on one clear sprue, 46 photoetched metal parts on two frets (about half of them are pre-painted), five cast resin parts, a small pre-cut masking set for the windscreen and canopy, and two decal sheets. The decals cover the following five airframes:
- Bf 109E-1, flown by Oblt. Hans Schmoller-Haldy, 3.J/88, Spain, 1938
- Bf 109E-1, flown by Oblt. Siebelt Reents, 1.J/88, Leon, Spain, Spring 1939
- Bf 109E-3, 2.J/88, Catalunyan Front, Spain, early 1939
- Bf 109E-3, flown by Uffz. Herbert Schob, 3.J/88, Barcience, Spain, March 1939
- Bf 109E-3, flown by Lt. Werner Ursinus, 2.J/88, La Cenia Spain, 1939
Strengths: The 1:32 Bf 109E from Eduard goes back a bit to initial tooling developed in 2009. It has a reputation as being a little fiddly to build – their new tool 1:48 scale Bf 109s feature better fit and ease of construction (at least, so says the word on the street, from three people who I have grilled who have built these). As always, take your time, dry-fit, and follow the instruction sequence carefully.
The kit features very nice recessed panel lines and fastener/rivet details. It is essentially on par with current Eduard products. There are a range of construction options, including the positionable canopy, separate leading-edge slats, flaps, ailerons, elevator, and rudder. The control surfaces have mounting tabs that essentially force them into a neutral position, but a few swipes of a knife and sanding stick will allow the scale modeler to position them in any way they wish. There is also a complete Benz DB 601A engine on the sprues and the complete dual nose guns. Note that there are two sets of wings – one for the Bf 109E-1, and the other for the more heavily armed Bf 109E-3 with the underwing bulged fairings for the MG FF cannons. Build accordingly to your desired markings option.
The kit cockpit on its own is a little…blah. The detail is okay for injection molding, but it is also somewhat underwhelming. A part of me thinks Eduard does that intentionally so as to drive most builders towards their aftermarket parts, but most of us don’t mind. It’s a rational strategy! Here, those aftermarket parts are in the box, and they are awesome. When you use these photoetched metal instrument panel parts, belts, and other items, you will elevate the kit cockpit to an entirely new level. The photoetched parts are also just perfectly made, including the great pre-painted instrument panel details and pilot restraints. However, if PE metal parts aren’t your thing, an instrument panel decal is provided. The optical quality of the clear parts is excellent. The canopy is of the early-style Erla design. The cast resin main wheels and tail wheel well are excellent and far superior to the kit parts. The tire details themselves are gorgeous.
The decals are printed by Eduard and look great, with excellent color, resolution, and thin, restrained carrier film. There’s a correction insert for the Condor Legion aircraft insignia, as the main decal sheet appears to have printed them somewhat under-sized. The kit comes with various schemes to choose from. While the colors are all basically the same, there are some interesting if not subtle variations on the basic Condor Legion color scheme, nose art, and some unique stories behind each one of these markings options.
Weaknesses: The combination of a solid kit, great detail parts, and the masking set is hard to beat. As noted above, this kit has a reputation as being a having a few tricky fits. Watch out for them. The gunsight glass is molded integrally into the gunsight mount (clear part J2), so the glass itself is technically over-scale and too thick. Main wheel well detail is a little basic (but not too bad for 1:32 scale). The rectangular engine exhaust stacks are ever-so-slightly-recessed, but they don’t quite reach that hollowed-out look many of us are probably looking for.