Mojo restoration – Tamiya 1/48 Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3
It’s time to call this one ready. The Bf 109E is my first completed kit in almost three years, a period when my modeling had been falling victim to other commitments in life.
Although I’m the one who started iModeler, little did I know about just how inspirational this website was going to be for me personally. Soon after launching it I found myself dusting off my modeling table and peeking into the kit boxes. But what I needed at this stage was an easy build that would offer the best chance of getting it finished. Picking one of Tamiya’s single-engine fighters fits that requirement and I happened to have this one lying in my stash, together with a matching Aires resin cockpit set.
Tamiya 1/48 Bf 109E-3 is just as great a kit as everyone before me said it would be, and the resin did not add much complexity to its construction.
I’ve always wanted to do an Emil with that unique high-demarcation camouflage of 1940. The choice of markings were that of Hauptmann Herwig Knüppel, Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 26. Herwig Knüppel was one of the Spanish Civil War veterans (hence the top hat emblem) with 6 biplane victories to his credit. He was also one of first three pilots entrusted with taking the then-new Bf 109B into combat in March 1937.
Hauptmann Knüppel was killed in combat with a Hurricane near Lille on 19 May 1940.
The decals were a combination of various aftermarket sets.
Two elements often seen on Bf 109s of the French campaign are the cowling gun throughs painted in grey heat-resistant paint (which was the recommended pre-war practice) and the wrap-around light blue on the wing leading edges – an offensive measure that helped to conceal the aircraft head-on.
Weathering was done with an airbrush, pre-mixed washes from AK Interactive and pigments for the wing walk area.
For photography, I tried to mimic Tolga’s technique by taking the model outside in the full sunshine and shooting against a white background. It requires a bit of fiddling with the camera, but I am pleased with the results – and I’ve learned something new.
The hours spent with this project reminded me what I used to like in this hobby. Modeling is my personal chance to try creating something perfect, without letting myself to be constrained by the daily rush, stress, someone’s opinion or my lacking initial ability. Indeed, there are but a few things in modern life that can be approached this way. Like art, modeling is done for the sake of expressing oneself, not because it is necessary or because it needs to meet someone else’s standards. It is therapeutic. There’s going to be more.
Comments welcome, please.
19 additional images. Click to enlarge.