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Building the Airfix Messerschmitt Bf110E TROP 1/72 scale in Pictures A03081
This page is a picture guide to building the Messerschmitt Bf110E TROP Airfix kit. The Bf110 was a twin engine world war two German heavy fighter aircraft which fought in various theatres during the conflict. This model is the version that flew in Libya during Field Marshall Rommel's North African campaign and served effectively as both a night fighter and as a support aircraft for Stuka dive bombers. However its lack of manouverability meant the Bf110 suffered heavy losses while serving during the battle of Britain.
The image shows the box artwork for this kit as purchased from the excellent new independent model shop R and R Models in Swansea, Wales
Contents of the Box
Here we have the entire contents of the box laid out with all the parts still on their sprues and a sheet of decals. This isn't an all in one starter kit so the I had to buy paints, brushes, glues etc separately.
Painting the Pilot and Gunner
Here we have the pilot and gunner painted in their blue flightsuits and weathered with watered down black paint (Humbrol 33). Throughout all my projects I use acrylic paints which not only do I find give a cleaner finish, but also being water based are much more convenient to dilute for weathering, and to clean up.
This is the exact kit featured in this lens
This is the European theatre version of the aircraft
Painting the Cockpit Parts
Here we see all the parts of the cockpit painted while still on the sprues. I often find it easier to paint small parts while still attached to the sprue and then to touch them up after cutting them out.
Here we see the cockpit assembled and painted, with the instrument panel decal added.
Here we see the fuselage fitted around the cockpit. I should point out here that the black mark about halfway down the top of the fuselage is where I overpainted the cockpit interior, not a bad fitting. The two halves of fuselage actually fitted very well.
Lower Wing Painted
Here we see the lower wing painted in its final colour. The difficulty with using acrylic paint is that Humbrol are traditionally a supplier of enamel paint and don't offer all their colours in acrylic, this colour (Humbrol 89) being one of them. Here I had to use a comparison chart and replace the Humbrol with an acrylic paint made by Vallejo. I must say I can't rate Vallejo highly enough, this paint gave such a smooth finish it almost looked airbrushed and I will certainly be using much more of them in the future.
Wing Attached to the Fuselage
Here we see the lower wing joined to the fuselage section.
Test Fitting the Upper Wings - Spot the deliberate mistake?
Here we see our upper wings test fitted in place and something appears to be slightly out of alignment! It looks like the sprue for the upper wing has been warped either in the factory or has happened sometime during storage. We now have a choice, to soldier on and make the best of it or send the kit back to Airfix with an angry letter demanding a generous compensation package.
Because we're British, we used to shoot these buggers down for fun and I'm certainly not going to let a bit of bent plastic get in my way, so with a bit of determination and plenty of masking tape the wings are forced to fit. Here we also see the assembled tail section.
Here we see the painted nosecone. The bits sticking through are the machine guns and one of the most annoying parts of this whole kit. The machine guns are arranged on a semicircular frame which fits inside the nosecone so the guns just poke through the holes. Trouble is its such a small and flimsy part its near impossible to align, I ended up cutting two guns off and seating them separately. BTW does anyone else think M&S should be paying me for advertising them here?
Wings and Nosecone Fitted
Here we see how the wings have been forced into shape. A close inspection will show the port wing flexes up slightly higher than the starboard wing but I'm not entering this into any competition and am happy with how it has been saved. The nosecone is also now attached.
Model kits on Ebay
Ebay is a real treasure trove of good value kits, for example I recently bought a 1:144 Airbus A380 which is a HUGE kit for the princely sum of Â£3.67 so its well worth checking it out.
Painting the Underside
Here we have the entire underside of the aircraft painted with the Vallejo light blue according to the colour scheme. Note also the inside of the undercarriage housing painted dark grey.
Masking the Canopy
Here we see the clear plastic canopy masked with standard masking tape ready for painting. Cutting and fitting all those small bits of tape took about 2 hours!
Here we see the main components of the undercarriage fitted and painted. At this point I realised the kit instructions were wrong and the undercarriage housing plates that sit inside the wing should have been fitted the other way around, but it is only a minor detail that would be very hard to spot on inspection, so I pressed on.
Masking and Painting
Here we see masking tape used while painting to ensure a clean line where the two colours meet.
Here I have added the yellow detailing to the tail and engine cowlings in the background. These were painted freehand as there were very distinct panel lines to follow.
Engines and Canopy
Here we see the completed engines ready for attaching to the wings and the painted canopy in the background. Lesson learned here which is use the proper masking tape they sell in the model shops designed for this purpose, not the cheap stuff I used. I was very disappointed with how the canopy came out and ended up finishing it freehand.
Fitting the Engines
Here we see the two engines mounted on the wings.
Here we see the underside of the plane after its second coat of paint, along with more detailing, wheels, and the white stripe have been added.
Here is the aircraft with the canopy fitted, almost complete. As I said I was not happy with the job I did painting the canopy, and spent a bit of time scratching away some of the paint runs with a cocktail stick.
Fuel Tanks Added
And here we have the finished article, complete with decals and bombs fitted. I attempted a technique using watered down black paint to run into the panel lines to give them definition with I think some success, you can judge for yourselves. The very last thing I did was give the kit an all over coat of a clear laquer to protect the paint and decals.