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Kit Review: Hasegawa 1/48th Messerschmitt Bf-109E-1

By Floyd S. Werner Jr.

Kit #: 09369

Lesser known than the E-3, the E-1 was manufactured alongside the E-3. The main differences between them were that the E-1 only had rifle caliber guns in the wings and over the engine. These rifle caliber guns proved to be inadequate compared to the wing cannons of the E-3 for air to air fighting. The smaller guns necessitated some different panels compared to the E-3, but that was the only real differences. The E-3 eventually replaced the E-1 on the production line.

The Kit

You get the basic E-3 kit that has been around since the 1980s which features light grey plastic that is blemish free with fine panel lines. You also get two caramel colored resin plugs that will fit into the wing bulge areas from the inside. You also get a fret of steel photo etch. In addition to the E-3 instruction sheet you get an instructional sheet for the conversion. The decal sheet covers two aircraft, both are from JG77 and are conventional RLM 65/70/71 camouflage but they differ in the size of their markings. One has the normal style crosses for the early war and the other features some strange sized larger wing crosses. There is also a clear sprue with the three piece canopy and the gunfight.

Cutting Edge Cockpit CEC48379

The kit cockpit is adequate but not good enough for me. I elected to use the Cutting Edge set as it is the best fitting and easiest to use. Also you get a great seat with seatbelts which saves you some work. Molded in bubble free light grey plastic, the Cutting Edge set is a vital upgrade if you ask me. You are also treated with an acetate instrument panel.


I started construction by installing the resin plugs in the wings. These were glued down with superglue and lots of it on the inside of the wing. Once dried, I sanded the bulges from the outside. Of course I needed some small amounts of filler once I sanded through the wing to the resin bulges. I also scribed the correct panel lines at this time.

Then I went about the normal construction by assembling the fuselage. The fit was perfect with no filler required.


The Cutting Edge cockpit was assembled outside the fuselage and preshaded with Model Master Enamel Interior Black and painted with Model Master RLM 02. Details were picked out with Apple barrel brand acrylic paint and some Model Master Metalizer Magnesium. The instrument panel is up to you. You are provided with a resin instrument panel or a sandwich affair with acetate instruments. The sandwich affair is the way I selected. It looks realistic to me. I painted my instrument panel RLM 66. The whole cockpit is inserted from the bottom. The fit is perfect. I left the seat out until later.


Since I already filled the bulges the wings were handled just like a normal kit. I did have to fill the hole for the cannon bulges and the surrounding panel lines, but this was very easy and was a non-event. The wings include some steel screens for the radiators. They are see through but I don’t think they detract from the look of the kit so I lived with them. Other than that the wings were hassle free. Once they were joined I needed to add the piece of the conversion and that was to drill the hole for the MG17s in the wings which is inboard of the cannon holes.

Add the wings up to the fuselage and you’ll find perfect fit everywhere. The fit is perfect. No filler necessary. This has to be one of the best fitting kits on the market. The horizontal tail planes are the same way. You can tell when they are properly aligned when the support braces fit perfectly. I left the supports off until after painting to make it easier for me. With that everything is ready for paint.

Painting and Black Magic Masks

Washing the model with dish detergent is a vital first step especially since you have the resin plugs in the wings. I primed my model with Tamiya Primer White, but in hindsight I think I should have used Alclad grey primer. This is because the Hasegawa panel lines are very thin and the primer filled a couple of them in. I rescribed the ones that I noticed. Model Master Enamel RLM 66 was used for preshading and is the models first stage of weathering.

Pre- and early war 109s were painted in RLM 65/70/71 with hard edged camouflage. I decided that this was too much of a pain to do on my own. I did paint the RLM 65 on the bottom with Gunze and when it was dry I masked it off with Tamiya tape.

Cutting Edge produces masks for the camouflage in the Black Magic line and I opted for this quick and easy tool. Thank God I did. That was way too much masking to do on my own and get it to where I would have liked it. I painted the RLM 71 Dark Green with Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab. I know it doesn’t say it is RLM 71 but when compared to the color chips in the Monogram Painting Guide it is a near perfect match. I always like it to be dark. I recently painted a FW-190V-1 and was not pleased with the results as the dark green wasn’t dark enough. Once this dried, I applied the masks. Don’t forget follow the instructions and use the oils from your hand to remove some of the tack. The masks themselves are indexed where appropriate. The whole masking process took me less than 15 minutes, far less than if I had to mask them myself. Thank you Cutting Edge. Once the masks were on the RLM 70 Black Green was sprayed over the model. The masks were removed and viola’ a perfect early war Bf-109 in a fraction of the time. A quick coat of Alclad Gloss Base and the airplane was ready for decals.


I wanted to do something a little different than the Hasegawa sheets allowed so I hit my decal books and found an aircraft that I liked. I looked in my reference book on JG77 by Prien and found the same airplane and low and behold it had the huge markings on the wings. The Aeromaster decals were based on the Classic Publications books and they were incorrect. Imagine that. I now had my subject. The larger markings were in response to friendly fire incidents during the Polish campaign and would add to the rather bland look of the early war 109. I had to use two different decal sheets from Aeromaster to cobble together the markings. I used “Blitzkrieg in Poland Part I” sheet 48-496 for the aircraft markings and “Blitzkrieg in Poland Part II” sheet 48-497 for the large crosses. Everything went down well with a setting solution. Sealing the decals with Alclad Gloss Base. Once dried the model was sprayed with Model Master Clear Acrylic Flat in preparation for weathering.


I used a wash of burnt umber artist oils over the whole machine. This was followed up with very thinned Tamiya flat black and red brown airbrushed on select panel lines and the exhausts. Gunze Oil was streaked along the bottom from panel lines aft. Silver pencil was used to add chipped paint. Some Mig Pigment European Dust was added to the wheels, lower wings and the wing root area. Everything was sealed with a coat of Model Master Acrylic Flat.

Final Assembly

Adding the little parts such as the mass weights, pitot tube, and the canopy sections and this baby was done.


This small conversion is easily within the abilities of most modelers. If you are looking for an easy first conversion this is a great way to go. Could you use epoxy putty on your E-3 kit? Sure, but Hasegawa did it for you and the decals are not bad at all. Hasegawa continues to release this kit with various upgrades and it seems the molds have not degraded any since the first kits. The fit is perfect everywhere. What more could you ask for in a model kit? Are there down sides? Yes, the see through engine compartment and wing radiators are annoying but I was happy with the end results and that is all that counts to me.

Cutting Edge Bf-109E cockpit- Highly recommended. The best Hasegawa Bf-109E interior in 1/48th scale, period.

Black Magic Splinter Camouflage Masks- Essential and highly recommended.

Hasegawa Bf-109E-1- Highly Recommended.


  • The Messerschmitt Bf-109: Modellers Datafile No. 9, Lynn Ritger, SAM Publications, ISBN 0-9551858-0-7
  • Geschichte Des Jadggeshwaders 77, Teil 1 1934-1941 (JG-77 Unit History), Jochen Prien, ISBN 3-923457-19-7
  • Jagdwaffe Volume One Section 3; Blitzkreig and Sitzkrieg, Eric Mombeek, Classic Publications, ISBN 0-9526867-7-5

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