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KIT REVIEW


Eduard BODENPLATTE (Fw 190D-9 / Bf 109G-14 /
G-14/AS Dual Combo Limited Edition Kit Set
1:48 Scale



Early on the morning of New Year’s Day 1945, a German air offensive was mounted against Allied air forces across the Western Front.  Operation BODENPLATTE (BASEPLATE) put into the air just over 1,000 German Fw 190s and Bf 109s to attack Allied air bases in Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, and western Germany.  In this recent limited edition offering, Eduard brings together their great 1:48 scale Bf 109 and Fw 190 kits, detail parts, and markings for eight different aircraft that participated in the last offensive gasp of the Luftwaffe.  Let’s check this set out.       

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The Ardennes Counteroffensive, better known as the Battle of the Bulge, was envisioned by the Germans as an offensive push to bisect the Allied advance on Germany and to eventually retake the port of Antwerp.  The effort resulted in a German defeat from which their ground forces would never recover, and for the United States, it was the largest and mostly costly single western front battle of World War II.  The German ground offensive was to have coordinated with a major air component featuring support from more than 1,000 fighters and bombers.  Famously, the air offensive was thwarted by poor weather.  Operation BODENPLATTE was to be launched on 16 December 1944 but was delayed multiple times until 01 January 1945.  The goal was to regain air superiority particularly by attacking forward located Allied air bases.  This would allow the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS forces to resume their advance without suffering heavy losses from air attacks.

BODENPLATTE was shrouded in a high degree of secrecy.  Indeed, as the Bf 109s, Fw 190s, and smaller numbers of Me 262s poured out of Germany into the skies above and behind the front, the Allies were caught by surprise.  The Luftwaffe indeed managed to destroy some 305 aircraft and damage another 190 or so.  Many of these victims were caught on the ground and included P-51s, P-47s, Spitfires, Typhoons, and even a few B-17s.  Yet, many of these losses were replaced in about one week.  Despite the initial tactical surprise, BODENPLATTE quickly devolved into failure.  It was poorly executed due to limited pilot skill resulting from hasty training and pilot inexperience – a function of increasing pilot attrition and months of mounting losses.  When Allied pilots scrambled and met their adversaries in the air on New Year’s morning 1945, the Luftwaffe endured the worst one-day loss of pilots and planes of the entire war.  More than 345 of their aircraft never made it back to Germany.  The Luftwaffe never recovered and never again mounted a strategic offensive air campaign.

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Eduard’s 1:48 BODENPLATTE Dual Combo Limited Edition kit set comes with parts for two complete airplanes:  an Fw 190D-9 and a Bf 109G-14/G-14/AS.  Eduard’s Fw 190D-9 kit contains 138 gray injection molded plastic parts on five sprues, 11 clear parts on one sprue, 43 photoetched parts (with a pre-painted instrument panel and seatbelts) on one fret, and one pre-cut, self-adhesive mask for the canopy, windscreen, and wheel hubs.  Their 1:48 scale Bf 109G-14/G-14/AS consists of 204 injection molded parts on five dark blue-grey sprues (a total of 70 parts go unused in these versions), 21 clear parts on two clear sprues, 51 photoetched metal parts (some again pre-painted) on two frets, and a small pre-cut masking set for the windscreen and canopy.  The full color instruction booklet organizes the build over 21 pages for both airplanes.  Markings covering four 190s and four 109s that participated in BODENPLATTE are included:

Strengths:  By now, the 1:48 scale Eduard Fw 190D-9 and Bf 109G-14 kits are really quite well known and as regarded as some of the best kits that Eduard has ever made – this, of course, makes them among some of the best injection molded kits out there in general.  We’ve reviewed multiple editions of both kits several times over the last few years, so we’ll do a recap of them here.  However, this is the first time anyone has done a 1:48 scale Bf 109G-14/AS in this scale.  This variant was a high-altitude fighter equipped with the DB 605ASM powerplant and used a 50:50 methanol:water power boost that provided an additional 300HP and better overall engine performance above 20,000 feet.

Fw 190D-9.  The Doras here are based on the Eduard’s 2009-era tooling of the 1:48 scale Fw 190D-9, and it has garnered a solid reputation for its detail, engineering, and ease-of-construction.  If you’ve ever seen one of the MANY issues of the Eduard Fw 190D-9, this kit will be immediately familiar to you.  That is to say that the Eduard D-9 is a beautiful kit and possesses a high level of detail, outstanding fit, and sublime recessed and raised surface details.  There are separate control surfaces, optional open gun and cannon bays in the wing roots and nose, open or closed cowl flaps, and the option to hang either a drop tank or a bomb on the centerline pylon.  The kit also features accurate see-through wheel wells with visible rear engine detail and either the flat or blown canopy options.  It’s a lovely thing just to look at on the sprues.

The pre-painted photoetched metal parts are gorgeous and will elevate the level of detail in the cockpit considerably.  The PE belts feature subtle shading and stitching details while the instrument panel features nice raised glass effects atop the instrument dial faces.  If PE parts aren’t your thing, alternate decals for the instrument panel dials are included.  The masking set will save quite a bit of time and effort to achieve precision masking of the clear parts.

Bf 109G-14/G-14AS.  The retooled and reworked “second generation” Bf 109G kit series from Eduard possesses overall excellent accuracy in its shape, size, and gorgeous surface details.  The kit has a range of construction options and the differences in the configurations between the G-14 and G-14/AS are clearly delineated in the instructions.  You’ll also find a new Spure V for the G-14/AS fuselage and few new photoetched metal parts for the G-14/AS engine oil cooler screens.  The kit also features a positionable canopy, separate leading edge slats, flaps, ailerons, elevator, rudder, and radiator flaps.  The cockpit, especially with the photoetched metal instrument panel, belts, and clear-cast fuel pipe, is a real highlight.  In other words, the plastic parts for the kit cockpit are good on their own, but the photoetched metal parts in the ProfiPACK set elevate it to a whole new level.  Exterior surface details including the recessed panel lines, rivets, and fasteners are all simply sublime.  You can position the flaps as desired.  While the instructions show the separate elevators going straight-in, you can easily modify them if you want them dropped.  There’s an even larger mounting pin for the rudder, so to deflect the rudder (if that’s the look you’re going for) just a tiny bit of work hacking off that mounting pin will get the job done.

Other details include three styles of the Erla canopies (here, you’ll need just one), standard and tall rudder, long and short tail wheel, optional 20mm underwing cannon pods, alternative propellers, different main wheels hubs, and choices of oil cooler housings, masts, bomb racks, and an optional centerline 300 liter drop tank.  These options are extensive and thorough, though again, not all are used on or are appropriate for this version of the kit.  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 cup of tea, an instrument panel decal is again provided.  The masking set also comes in handy – it’s pre-cut, self-adhesive, and will save quite a bit of time and effort masking the clear parts.

The decals for the Fw 190s and Bf 109Gs in this limited edition kit set appear to have been printed in-house by Eduard and look great, with excellent color, registration, resolution, and thin, restrained carrier film.  The kit comes with not only great schemes to choose from, but two additional smaller sheets contains complete maintenance stencils for both airplane types.

Weaknesses:  I cannot offer any substantive critiques of this kit set. I sure was looking for issues, but nothing was meaningfully apparent.  I’ll of course defer within reason to those Luftwaffe experts out there, but these kits are overall outstanding. 

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Eduard continues to release very interesting and compelling subject matter in their series of limited edition kit sets, and BODENPLATTE is one of the best they’ve done so far.  Of course, Eduard has a whole range of additional aftermarket details sets for these kits if one wishes to add even more detail.  However you proceed, this kit set extends an invitation to a very wide range of scale modelers.

Sincere thanks are owed to Eduard for the review sample.  You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

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