June 2024 Part 2

Messerschmitt Bf109-E7

Messerschmitt Bf109-F4

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Messerschmitt Bf109-F4

10(Jabo)/JG53, Luftwaffe X Fliegerkorps

Gela, Sicily (and over Malta), March 1942   Flown by Uffzr Dr Felix Sauer

Airfix 1/72  with Xtradecal set X72-162


This month I return to my Malta Air War project with two of the German aircraft that wrought havoc with the RAF and Royal Navy defence of Malta during WW2.   


By Spring 1942, Axis forces ranged against Malta were at their peak.   Despite being armed with the newer and more capable Bf-109F fighters, they were now up against increasing numbers of Spitfire Vb and Vc aircraft  and the odds were now even.  By the end of 1942 it was clear that Malta could not be defeated and they were once again withdrawn, to defend Sicily and to fight on the Eastern Front.


The F model of the Bf-109 saw the more powerful DB601E engine plus a number of aerodynamic improvements, including a redesigned and far more streamlined engine cowling.   Thes e increased the aircraft’s range to over 1060 miles with a drop tank and also enabled its effective use as a fighter bomber (Jabo) .  Additional armour and self sealing fuel tanks  improved resilience to battle damage whilst new elliptical wings  produced less drag.  The central hub 20mm canon was restored, but the 20mm wing canons were not and the light 7.62mm nose machine guns  drew criticism from many pilots.


The aircraft depicted was flown by Uffzr Dr Felix Sauer .  It force landed on a beach near Donnalucata in Sicily on 27 March 1942 following a Jabo sortie against Malta.


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Building the Italeri  Bf-109F Kit:


Assembling Italeri's Bf-109F-2/4 kit at the same time as the Airfix one reinforces just how far Airfix have come.  Not that the Italeri offering is a bad kit, although it has some unnecessary complications, such as the 2-part engine cowling and the separate tail section that could trip up the inexperienced modeller.  Overall it is much simpler, with fewer parts, but not necessarily an easier build

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Fit is reasonable, but far below that achieved by Airfix and without the intelligent mould engineering touches that enable easy assembly. Despite some very careful building on my part, every joint needed filler and sanding, except that on the main fuselage halves. The wing to fuselage joins were particularly disappointing, with gaps either side on the upper wings and steps underneath at the front and back.


Fortunately, the plastic that Italeri have used is quite soft and easy to sand back.  As it represents a Jabo (fighter bomber) aircraft, I have fitted the SC250 bomb provided by Italeri.  As with the Airfix kit, I found that the fit of the canopy was particularly poor, needing trimming and filling to achieve a reasonable fit.


Colours are mostly Humbrol-based, with RLM75 (Humbrol 246) and RLM 74 (Revell 69) on the top surface, with an RLM 70 (H241), RLM71 (H242) and RLM 02 (H240) mottle on the sides, over an RLM76 (H247) base.




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Link to many more Axis aircraft on my Other Side pages

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June 2024 June 2024

Below:  this month’s two builds.  Click the links below (or at the top of the page) to see the second kit.