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1/72 Me109 kits
by Joe Callahan

 

If you are a Me109 fan looking for something different to do, try these two kits. The first one is a Me109E-1 manufactured by RPM of Poland and the other is a real rare bird, a Me109T-2 made by Aeroplast of Poland. I was familiar with RPM kits but not Aeroplast. The box art for the ME109T is not only dazzling, but also historically correct. Yes, there was a 109 with a red flame on it, and it was a 109T-2 . I had studied this aircraft before and wanted to find out if Aeroplast delivered what the box art promised. Dan at the Hobby Chest in Jacksonville was able to order the two kits for me. I was not disappointed with either of the kits. My review of the two kits follows.

Me109E1-3 by RPM

The Me109E-1 by RPM was a nice surprise because of additional parts. It turned out to be a real bargain at $7.00 in 1/72nd scale. RPM had re-boxed an older kit made by Face which I built about 7 years ago. The re-boxed kit has a complete 109T with an additional set of wings for the 109E-1. The 109E-1 wings look well-crafted. There are no 20mm cannons or their bulges under the wings to remove. The ejector chutes for the machine guns are in the correct position.

When I built the Face Me109T, it went together well with very few problems. The fit of the parts was very tight requiring no filler material. I expect this current release from RPM to be a joy to build as well. The cockpit has some adequate details, but lacks an instrument panel decal. The only fault I have found with this kit as well as the older model is the valleys gouged out of the control surfaces. It is made well with little flash to clean up. So what happened to those control surfaces? It looks like someone took a motor tool and just ground away at them. No fabric-covered control surfaces would sag that much and still be flight worthy. The valleys are easily filled in and sanded smooth.

There are 29 gray injected plastic parts and a clear, thinly injected canopy. Me109 purists may wish to substitute an earlier style canopy. Squadron Mail Order offers a vacuum-formed replacement canopy for less than $3. The kit's decal sheet offers 6 options of markings from the Spanish Civil War. The markings for Oblt. Hans Schmoller-Haldy's aircraft #6-123, a foaming beer mug signifying "The Order of Cardinal Puff" is the wrong color, and the Mickey Mouse is the wrong style for his aircraft. The Mickey Mouse should be facing the other way and have a white ruffle collar, not red. The beer mug should be gray not yellow. The decals can be used for any other Aircraft depicted. The instruction sheet is printed in Polish, but is easy to follow by checking the exploded view drawings. It also has a great diagram showing placement of all those wonderful stencils included on the decal sheet. Be sure to save the stencil diagrams for reference.

The painting guide references Humbrol colors. BF109E's in Spain at this time were painted RLM63 Grungrau for upper surfaces and RLM65 Heilblau for lower surfaces. Please note that in this instance RLM63 and RLM02 are identical colors (FS24226). RLM02 was also used for the interior of the cockpit, wheel wells and landing gear. The prop and the area around the exhaust extending to the trailing edge of the wing root was painted black. I have seen white, gray, yellow, red, black , and dark green indicated for the spinner color in reference books. Try to check references before painting the spinner. So build a 109E-1 or E-3 and use the 109T components to convert another 109 kit into a 109T-1 or T-2

Squadron Mail Order website: www.squadron.com

Some other decal options for the ME109E1-3:
Third Group Decals #72002 ,72005,72008,72009
Ministry of Small Aircraft production: #7201
Super Scale # 72-349

References:

Howson, Gerald. Aircraft of the Spanish Civil War 1936-39. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Press, 1990.

Mombeek, Eric; Smith, J. Richard; Creek, Eddie J. Luftwaffe Colors Vol.1 Section 2 Jagdwaffe:The Spanish Civil War. Novara, Italy: Classic Publishing, 1999.

Cerda, Juan A. Les Messerschmitt Espagnols. Boulogne,France: Editions Lela Presse, 1997.

Ries, Karl ; Ring, Hans. The Legion Condor. West Chester, PA.: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.,1992.

Ries, Karl. Markings and Camouflage Systems of the Luftwaffe Aircraft in WWII. Frankfurt, Germany: Dieter Huffmann, 1963.

Beaman, Jr. John R; Campbell, Jerry. Messerschmitt Bf 109 in action, Part 1. Carrollton, TX: Squadron/ Signal Publications, Inc., 1980.

Merrick, Kenneth A.; Hitchcock, Thomas. The Official Monogram Painting Guide to German Aircraft 1935-1945. Boylston, MA; Monogram Aviation Publications, 1980.

Weal, John. Osprey Aircraft of the Aces #11 BF109D/E Aces 1939-1941. Hong Kong: Osprey Publishing, 1996.

History of the ME109T-1-2 "Trager"

The Me109T "Trager" (carrier) was the German navy version of the Me109E-7 designed to serve on board an aircraft carrier. The E-7 equipment included a capped spinner , an armored windscreen , seat and headrest . The armament was the same as an E-7 , 2 MG17 in the upper cowl and 2 MG FF 20mm cannon in the wings.

All of the Me109E series had a 9.87M wingspan except the "T" that had a 11.08M wingspan with spoilers in an upper wing panel. The increased wing area reduced the take-off run, and helped stabilize the aircraft during landings. The spoilers were used as a landing aide. They were activated when the throttle was pushed past the 'closed' position thereby shutting off the motor. The wings were never designed to fold up. The elevators on the 'Graf Zeppelin' aircraft carrier were large enough to accommodate the wingspan. The ailerons were also lengthened so an extra hinge was added externally on the under-surface.

For the catapult launches the aircraft was made stronger in 4 areas. Two attachment points were built under the cockpit for the main load and two were built into the rear fuselage to stabilize the catapult launches. The arresting hook was about 70 cm long, with a retraction wire. A rubber buffer pad was added under the fuselage to prevent the hook from denting it.

The "Toni" as they were called had a DB601N motor and used C3(100-octane) fuel. Me109T-2s used the standard VDM propeller, which was 3100mm long. The Me109T-1's had a shorter propeller (2900mm long) which was believed to be safer for carrier landings. A Patin master compass was located behind the cockpit with a circular access panel on the port side of the fuselage. The FuG 25 IFF transmitter was installed in Norway when the aircraft were assigned to JG77. This installation used a small whip antenna under the fuselage. This feature was not fitted to the "E" model 109 , but did appear on the "F" model 109.

Construction work on the aircraft carrier 'Graf Zeppelin' was halted in 1940 because the Germans thought WWII would be curtailed and the carrier would be unnecessary. All carrier aircraft were transferred in 1941 from the Kriegsmarine to serve with land based units. The Me109T served in the far north along the Norwegian coast. Units that used the Me109T in 1941 were the three staffelen of I/JG77 and Jagdgruppe Drontheim. After the loss of the Bismarck in May of 1941, it was decided to continue work on the carrier 'Graf Zeppelin'. The Me109T's would be withdrawn from front line service to be rebuilt to T-1 standards for carrier operations in 1942. The rebuilt aircraft were stored at Pillau awaiting the completion of the 'Graf Zeppelin'. Work on the 'Graf Zeppelin' was again stopped in 1943 because of huge losses on the Russian Front. The 109T's were once more sent to serve with land based units. Units receiving the rebuilt 109T-2's in 1943 were Jagdstaffel Hellgoland, NJG/101 and Hajo Herrmann's "Wild SAU" Unit JG/300. Jagdstaffel Hellgoland became 11/JG11 in January 1944. The dubious honor of downing the first B17 in WWII goes to a Me109T-2 piloted by Lt. Jakobi of 13/JG11. The B17 belonged to No. 90 squadron of the RAF.

Me109T-2 by Aeroplast

The Me109T-2 kit offered by Aeroplast is our old friend from Face with a twist. The twist is an injected mold fret with a correct supercharger intake and an oval cowling screen used on Oberleutnant Christmann's Me109T-2 . The decals look great for Christmann's plane. There are 3 injected mold frets with 44 parts, only 32 parts are required to build the model. The wings and fuselage on my sample are molded in a color similar to RLM02, which is correct for the cockpit and wheel wells.

As with the original kit the control surfaces must be filled in and sanded smooth. The panel line on the upper wings indicating where the wings folded must be filled in and sanded smooth also. The actual wings were never made to fold. The 109T-2 did retain the spoilers in the upper wings so don't fill these in. There are a few other things that must be removed from the basic kit. There is a doughnut shape on the rear fuselage at rib # 8. This center should be drilled deeper and then the outside must be sanded smooth even with the sides of the fuselage. The protrusion under the fuselage at rib #7 must be removed. It is part of the arresting hook assembly and is unnecessary. Two ovals must be scribed between rib #2 and 3 for the GM-1 Nitrous Oxide "Goring Mixture". There is a fine profile of Christmann's Me109T-2 black #6 in Osprey's Aircraft of the Aces #29 "BF109F/G/K Aces of the Western Front " the placement of the ovals can be seen in the profile drawing. An additional armored windscreen must be added to the canopy (1). This was a feature on Me109E-4s through Me109F-4s as a "Rustsatze" or field conversion kit . The armored glass was approximately 60mm or 2.35 inches thick. To convert these measurements into scale measurements: divide 2.35 inches by 72 (1/72nd scale) equals 0.03276 inches. Of course, this is just the glass, don't forget the heavy frame attached to the armored glass. So round the measurement up to 0.04 or 0.05 inches. A drawing of the armored windscreen can be found in Squadron's 109 in action book volume # 1, page 41, and volume # 2, page 12.

The camouflage and markings depicted on the instruction sheet look correct even though the aircraft depicted in the drawings is a 109E, not a 109T. I cannot confirm if Christmann's aircraft used Dark Green on the upper surface camouflage as suggested by AeroPlast. Standard camouflage for this period is RLM 74 and RLM 75 grays over RLM 76 light blue. Photos of Christmann's aircraft in Sea Eagles suggest the standard camouflage of RLM74 and RLM75 over RLM76. Due to the wingspan of the Me109T, the camouflage pattern and markings used at this time more closely resembled those used on the Me110.

I would expect this kit to go together well. The additions and deletions mentioned should be easy enough for the average modeler. This is certainly one of the most colorful Me109 to be flown in combat.

Note: An armored windscreen which will fit this kit can be found in a Heller Me109E kit as an optional part to the canopy.

References:

Marshall, Francis L. Sea Eagles . London, England: Air Research Publications, 1994.

Beaman, Jr. John R; Campbell, Jerry. Squadron Signal Me109 in Action, Vols. 1 and 2. Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1980,1983.

Weal, John. Bf 109F/G/K Aces of the Western Front: Oxford, England :Osprey Publishing, 1999.

Merrick, Kenneth A.; Hitchcock, Thomas. The Official Monogram Painting Guide to German Aircraft 1935-1945. Boylston, MA; Monogram Aviation Publications, 1980.