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KIT REVIEW


Eduard Reichsverteidigung Limited Edition Kit Set
1:48 Scale



By 1944, there could be no other outcome – there was no way that Germany could win the war against the Allies.  The combined, land, sea, and air offensives on three fronts put so much pressure on Nazi warfighting capability as to seal their fate.  Throughout the air war over Europe, from the early Allied incursions to the very bloody end, the Reichsverteidigung, or Defense of the Reich, was the name of the Luftwaffe’s strategic aerial defensive campaign.  In this limited edition kit set of the same name, Eduard has combined their Bf 109G-6/G-14 and Fw 190A-8 kits into a single boxing with detail parts, masking sets, new decals, and an EduArt print.  A review sample recently arrived on our bench, so let’s take a look. 

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The Reichsverteidigung began in 1939 as the Allied kicked off their aerial attacks against German-occupied Europe and Nazi Germany during World War II with British night bombing and later, USAAF daytime raids.  There were multiple phases of the Defense of the Reich campaign and it was one of the longest in the history of aerial warfare.  The Luftwaffe fighter force, composed primarily of the Bf 109 and Fw 190, faced multiple phases of the fight.  They first faced the challenge of repelling the RAF Bomber Command between 1939–41, and by 1942, the USAAF had joined the fray.  Between 1942-43, the German were able to establish daylight air superiority, inflicting significant losses on the formations of B-17s and B-24s that struck at the heart of the German war effort.

The tide inevitably turned by early 1944 due to the confluence of many factors, from the development of long-range fighter escort, the cumulative impact of the strategic bombing campaign on German aircraft, fuel, and oil production, and poor decision-making and hubris by the German leadership, especially Hermann Goering.  While new “wonder weapons” got into the fight such as the Me 262 and He 162 jet fighters, the Me 163 rocket fighter, radar-guided night fighters, and high-performance piston-engine fighters such as the Ta 152 and Do 335, it all was too little, too late.  The Reichsverteidigung collapsed by April 1945 as the final destruction of the Luftwaffe unfolded as Germany’s surrender became inevitable.  

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Eduard’s 1:48 scale Reichsverteidigung Limited Edition Kit Set contains parts and decals for their Bf 109G-6/G-14 and Fw 190A-8 kits.  The Bf 109 kit features 214 injection molded parts on seven dark blue-grey sprues, 14 clear parts on one clear sprue (a total of 77 plastic parts go unused in these version), 44 photoetched metal parts (some pre-painted), and a small pre-cut masking set for the windscreen and canopy.  The Fw 190A-8 kit comes on five blue-gray sprues holding a total of 185 parts (about 100 will be used; see below).  Ten clear parts are also found on one sprue.  There’s one fret of pre-painted photoetched metal parts containing 46 parts and one pre-cut self-adhesive masking set for the masking of the clear parts and wheel hubs.  Markings are provided for 13 aircraft:

 Strengths:  Eduard’s limited edition kit sets often represent excellent and creative parings of kits and markings options tied together with very interesting themes.  This boxing is no exception.  You get one of Eduard’s Bf 109s that can be built as either a G-6 or G-14 variant.  Also, this set contains the inaugural release of Eduard’s Fw 190A-8/R2 kit, available nowhere else.  Let’s take a look at these kits, starting first with the new Würger.

The new Fw 190A-8/R2 is based on Eduard’s new tool Fw 190A moldings that were first released in 2017.  In fact, it’s Eduard’s first release of an Fw 190A-8, only available on this kit set (so far).  Parts breakdown and overall engineering result in a kit that is quite straightforward and easy to build.  Construction will not be particularly time consuming.  Surface detail is outstanding as expected from Eduard, with beautifully executed and restrained recessed panel lines and elegant recessed rivet details arrayed into complex and accurate patterns.  I snipped out the fuselage halves and wings to dry fit them, and they appear to line up in airtight fashion.  No filler is required here.      

The plastic cockpit parts by themselves are a bit simplified, but the 49 pre-painted photoetched metal parts for the instrument panel, side consoles, shoulder harnesses, and lap belts (among other detail parts) add an impressive level of detail (as it would seem Eduard intended from the get-go).  If PE details aren’t your thing, alternate decals are provided for the instrument panel.  Engine exhaust stacks are okay for 1:48 scale.  While the exhausts themselves are not hollow as a resin casting can achieve (and there’s an Eduard Brassin set for that), the kit parts do feature slightly recessed faces and a good wash of a dark color can achieve the illusion of a deeper exhaust.

The landing gear, tires, and tailwheel assembly are all very nicely detailed and molded.  The rudder, elevators, and ailerons are all separate parts.  At least for the rudder, the mounting tab seems to force a straight-in fit and a little modification might be necessary to fit the rudder in a deflected position.  The clear parts are gorgeous and possess pretty much perfect optical quality with no seams present.  Likewise, the pre-painted photoetched parts are beautifully made and appear just about perfect.

Now, let’s turn to the Bf 109G-6/G-14 kit in this boxing.  This is based on Eduard’s 2016 new-tool 109.  It has a range of construction options, including the 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 very good on their own, but the photoetched metal parts 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 (you only need one here), 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 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 and wheel hubs. 

There are 13 markings options between the two airplanes (six Fw 190s and seven Bf 109s).  The markings cover airplanes involved in the late war phases of the Reichsverteidigung.  The main decal sheet is printed by Cartograf and it is impeccable from both a design and printing perspective.  The airframe stencils for both airplanes were printed by Eduard and also appear to be virtually flawless.

The EduArt print showcasing a Fw 190A-8/R2 high above the Reich amidst formations of Allied bombers is just beautifully rendered by Pitor Forasiewicz.  It captures a moment following an attack on a 95th Bomb Group formation over the Czech/German border on 11 Sept 1944, with two USAAF P-51Ds closing in on the tail of a Würger with tracer rounds flying (and from my impression, the print captures this 190’s last moments).  This print is impressive and is ready to frame - a wonderful and very satisfying final touch to this kit set.   

Weaknesses:  About the only critique I can think offer involves the fact that the mold seam on the Fw 190A exhaust stacks extend across the exhaust port itself. You’ll want to eliminate that seam.  The Fw 190A landing flaps are not molded as separate parts, but there’s an Eduard PE set for that.  Also, I do believe the inboard main gear well doors should be closed in the parked position, as I understand that they cycled open and then closed when the gear was either retracted or extended.  I cannot share any critiques of the Bf 109 kit.

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Eduard’s 1:48 scale Reichsverteidigung Limited Edition Kit Set is fantastic.  It contains two amazing kits, great decals, excellent detail parts, masking sets, and a great piece of frame-worthy art.  It’s hard to beat, and fans of WWII subject matter and beyond will find a great deal of appeal here.   

Sincere thanks are owed to everyone at 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!

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