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KIT REVIEW


Revell Messerschmitt Bf 110C-2/C-7 -- 1:32 Scale



The German Luftwaffe developed and operated some of the most well-known and deadliest single-engine fighter aircraft of WWII such as the Bf 109 and Fw 190.  These airplanes were supplemented with multi-engine heavy fighters and none were as recognizable as the Messerschmitt Bf 110.  First flying in the 1930s, the Bf 110 was a key player in the air war over Europe until it was progressively outclassed.  In this release, the 2008-era Dragon kit of the Bf 110C-2/C-7 in 1:32 scale has been re-boxed and re-issued by Revell.  Let’s sit down with this large-scale heavy fighter.              

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In 1935, the multi-faceted rebuilding program of the Luftwaffe turned to the need for a heavy multirole fighter to complement their single-engine fighter force.  Messerschmitt, Focke-Wulf, Henschel, and Arado built prototypes.  The Messerschmitt design featured a twin-engine, all-metal, low-wing monoplane.  First flying in May 1936, the Messerschmitt Bf 110 outperformed and outgunned the competition and won the contract.  This new airplane was to become a Zerstörer, or a “destroyer” – very heavily armed for its time with two cannons and four machine guns in the nose. 

The first deliveries of the Bf 110As and -Bs were delayed as the intended DB 600 powerplants were not ready, leaving these early 110s badly underpowered with interim Jumo engines.  By the time the Bf 110C was ready for production, the DB 601 B-1 engines were available and the airplane could finally reach its intended top speeds and ranges.

The Bf 110 was virtually unchallenged during the early war phases that unfolded over Poland, Norway and France.  Bf 110s could be described as having torn apart their opponents until the Battle of Britain.  When they started to face Spitfires and Hurricanes over the United Kingdom, the fortunes of the Bf 110 started to change.  German tactics had them flying in close formation to the bombers and made them particularly vulnerable to RAF fighters.  Indeed, the strengths of the Bf 110 resided in its heavy armament, but its Achilles Heel was revealed to be its relative lack of maneuverability.  Still, the Bf 110 demonstrated its effectiveness as a bomber and close air support platform during the campaigns in the Balkans, North Africa, and along the Eastern Front.  By then, the momentum of the air war over Europe was shifting to the Allies and Bf 110 found a new job as a radar-equipped night fighter where again it demonstrated a renewed effectiveness in a novel role until about 1944.

The Bf 110C-2 was one of the early war Zerstörers with DB 601B-1 powerplants and FuG 10 radio gear.  The Bf 110C-7 was a follow-on a fighter-bomber based on the C-4 that included uprated DB 601P engines and two bomb racks capable of carrying two 250, 500, or 1,000 kg bombs (up to 2,400 pounds of ordnance).

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Revell’s 1:32 scale Bf 110C-2/C-7 is a re-issue of the Dragon kit which first hit the streets in 2008.  It contains 400 light-gray injection molded parts on 14 sprues and 23 clear parts on two clear sprues.  The 31-page instruction manual guides the build over 114 steps.  Markings are provided for two Bf 110s:

Strengths:  When Revell reissues someone else’s kits in their product line, they often make very informed decisions in terms of quality and value.  The 1:32 scale Dragon Bf 110 is no exception, and this is perhaps one of the best kits that Dragon produced during the last decade.  It has earned a well-deserved reputation for its excellent fit, accuracy, and first-rate detail.

First impressions:  the kit box is pretty big!  It will also build into a sizable model, of course.  Overall molding is excellent.  Surface texture is just about perfectly smooth, and the fabric covered control surfaces have a slightly discernable texture.  There is no flash or obviously-visible ejector pin or sink marks that will be seen in the final product.  Unlike the Dragon 1:32 scale P-51s which are covered in over-done and excessive numbers of rivets, Dragon dialed it back here.  The surface of the Bf 110 can be characterized by rivets ONLY where they need to be.  The finely engraved panel lines are very well done and a few appropriately raised details can be found around the airframe.  It’s all pretty elegant.  Further, for such a large kit, parts breakdown is simplified and thoughtfully designed.  It is easy to over-engineer a 1:32 scale kit such as the -110, but this kit features a very reasonable and smart parts and subassembly breakdown.  

I would argue that the cockpit is one of the genuine highlights of this kit.  There are tons of accurate details, and it is clear that Dragon really did their homework on this one.  There’s a lot a great, excellent, high fidelity injection-molded features here.  The cockpit is very complete and has a lot for the detail painter to enjoy, from the excellent raised detail on the instrument panel, gunsight, side consoles, throttles, seats, seat frames, ammo containers, radio stack, and many other details.  If detail painting is not your thing, there’s a great set of instrument face decals provided on the decal sheet as an alternative.  There’s also a really neat set of parts for cockpit decking, the aft-facing machine gun, and the inner canopy frame.  And the clear parts are immaculate and the optical quality is excellent.

The nose cannons and machine guns build up into impressive assemblies, though these parts will not be seen in the assembled model.  Both sets of Daimler-Benz powerplants are provided and they look really great.  There’s also some seriously impressive detail here, but as with the guns, the engines will mostly disappear inside the engine cowling if built straight out-of-the-box (an “open” option is described in the instruction where the top of the cowling is omitted).  The main gear, wheels, and main gear wells are very well done, and frankly, they only lack plumbing.  Positionable radiator flaps are also present.  The airframe details are extensive and include all of the appropriate mass balances, pitot tubes, control surface hinges, and loop and rail antennas.  There is a set of four bomb racks and four bombs that sit on the outboard portion of the wings.  And speaking of the wings, there’s some thoughtful engineering that provides fore and aft wing spars that the wings themselves slide in on.

The decals were designed by AirDOC and printed by Zanchetti in Italy.  Everything on the decal sheet looks great:  decal design is excellent, colors are vibrant, airframe stencils are legible, and carrier film is restrained and thin.  The choices in markings options are quite good, and the wasp depicted on the nose of the Bf 110C-2 is perhaps the most iconic Zerstörer scheme of all time.

Weaknesses:  Only a few things to consider here:  the shoulder harnesses and lap belts are represented as decals.  Your reviewer’s personal bias is that decal seat belts are really insufficient and unrealistic, and especially in 1:32 scale, the work requires aftermarket photoetched fabric seat belt material to appear realistic.  The flight control surfaces not positionable, and if you want to drop the flaps and elevators or deflect the rudders, that’s on the builder.  The exhaust stacks end in flat profiles, and in 1:32 scale, that’s pretty much a thumb-in-the-eye for detail-oriented builders.  As a kit marketed and sold in Europe, there are no swastikas on the decal sheet, but those are available from a variety of aftermarket decal manufactures.  To my understanding, the C-2 variant was a pure heavy fighter, and the bombs should only be used on the C-7.

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It’s honestly great to see Dragon’s 1:32 Bf 110C-2/C-7 brought back by Revell in this new issue of that kit.  It is appealing to a wide range of scale modelers, especially fans of WWII and Luftwaffe subject matter.  While there are a few limitations of the kit out-of-the-box, you really can’t go wrong, especially with the useful aftermarket detail sets that are out there.  Enjoy this one – it’s a bit of a classic. 

Sincere thanks to Revell for the review sample.  You can find them on the web at http://www.revell.com/germany.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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