Kasserine Pass Group Build, Monogram 1/48 scale He-111-H, “S7 + ZA” Stab / St.G. III North Africa 1942
I would like to start off by stating the Kasserine Pass Group Build was very enjoyable for me. David A. Thomas, (the founder of this group), was there with guidance and words of encouragement throughout the building process. I wish to thank David, and the staff from Imodeler, for the opportunity to post this model. If not for the Kasserine Pass GB, I probably would not have built this one just yet, but the timing was perfect.
I also wish to thank all of you who contributed to the comments section during this dual Heinkel 111 build journal, with a special mention for our late friend, Bernie Hackett Jr., who passed away recently.
The Heinkel 111 is one of my favorite WW2 Luftwaffe bombers, right up there with the Dornier 17, and the Junkers 88. I think this is in part due to the streamlined glass nose.
Initially, this project was started as a completion build of a similar kit that was 75 percent built by a friend many years ago. I wanted to build an overall RLM 79 "Sandbelb" He-111 every since I obtained a set of "Eagle Cals" decals a few years ago that depicted the model I eventually built here.
Having pictures from both sides of the subject you are building is a great place to start with. It even says so on the decal literature !
These photos were included with the decals, which are excellent by the way...
However I decided against completing the original He-111 started by my friend, as it was requiring considerable putty to fill in the gaps. So I ventured off the road, and started building my own Monogram kit, along with the new ICM He-111 as a comparison build.
The new tool ICM 1/48 scale kit is still under construction, and details of that build can be seen by following the link provided. It will continue to be updated regularly. I have found it to be a really awesome kit, and it is very detailed. The fit has been spot on, other than the few problems I caused along the way, which have been documented in case you are building one for yourself.
Here's a link if you're interested...
Little did I know that I was heading into a build that was going to require just as much filler as it would have if I simply finished up the model that was given to me by my friend... Most of these older Monogram kits are this way, but they are fun to build and look pretty good once completed. I cut my model building teeth on Monogram and Revell kits, but have never built up another He-111 since my first one many years ago as a child. Up until this Monogram 1/48, the only other He-111 model I completed was the ancient Lindberg (1/64 scale ?) kit, and it hung from my childhood bedroom ceiling for many years...
The Heinkel 111 was initially built as a passenger plane, at least on paper. In all actuality, it was a way for the newly formed "Luftwaffe" to get around the Treaty of Versailles, which was in place after the end of World War One. Limits had been placed on the Germans with producing or developing new weapons.
Ernst Heinkel wanted to build the worlds fastest production airliner. The He-111 was partially based on some features found in the company's earlier He-70, which was a single engine 4 passenger transport plane. The He-70 broke numerous speed records during it's initial reveal in 1932.
In 1935, the prototype He-111 was flown and the reports from the test pilots were very good. The plane was fast, and the low speed handling characteristics were outstanding. The initial He-111 planes had a typical stepped nose, like found on the B-17. It wasn't until later on during the development of the "P" type, that the rounded glazed nose appeared as seen on this model. The "H" model was built after the "P" version. The main difference was the power plant.
The He-111 "P" series used the Diamler Benz DB-601 with the air intake for the supercharger on the "Port" side. The He-111 "H" series was the most widely produced version, and used the Junkers Jumo 211, with the air intake on the opposite side. This is the easiest way to tell a "P" model from the "H" version.
Here in this next photo shown below, you can see the air intake which is partially obstructed by the propeller. It is located just above the exhaust. One other interesting note. The engines were interchangeable between the Port and the Starboard side. Also the earlier "P" and "H" versions (up to the H-3) used a metal VDM propeller blade that was fairly thin when compared to the later marks, which had a wider propeller that was made of wood.
The "P" model was used during the initial attacks on Poland during September, 1939. Experience gained form combat over Poland caused an increase in the number and positions for the crew served MG 15's. Both the "P" and the "H" versions served during the Battle of Britain, alongside the Dornier Do-17's. The Ju-88 was present over Britain, but was still experiencing problems since it had just became operational, and was available in limited numbers.
Once other distinguishing feature appeared with the introduction of the "P" and "H" models. That was the ventral gunner's "Gondola" as seen in this next photo. The position was a retractable "Dust bin" on earlier versions, similar to the type used on the Junkers Ju-52 over Spain. On later versions, more powerful weapons were installed here and were facing fore as well as aft to help protect the bomber from incoming fighter attacks. This photo also shows another modification done during the production of the He-111. Starting with the earlier "F" model, the type went to a straight leading edge wing as seen here. Prior to this, the He-111 utilized an elliptical wing like the one found on the Spitfire and Aichi D-3A "Val" Japanese dive bomber.
The decal sheet has the plane shown in the photos as an unidentified "H" model, listing it as an unarmed "Officer" transport plane operated by Stab / StG. 3. I have found several other He-111's listed as "officer transports". Field Marshal Irwin Rommel is reported to have had one at his disposal.
St.G. 3 operated mainly Ju-87's and some Bf-110's when they were stationed in North Africa.
My research online has found a single plane listed as operational with Stab / StG III from February 1942, to July 1942. It is listed as an H-5 version, and was apparently lost in July of 1942. This could very well be when these two pictures were taken that are shown on the decal sheet.
My research has also shown that the "Stab" section normally used a Blue or a Green color to designate the section. Eagle Cals has it a blue, so I went with that. I have recently found a "LIFE" color photo that shows another He-111 with a Green color on the spinner. This color would also probably be used as color for the fuselage identification letter too, and since it's a green color, chances are this new photo I found is of a "Stab" machine too... I may post this photo when I post the article on the ICM He-111 once it is completed.
I wanted to pose the dorsal gunner "B Stand" canopy in the fully open position as it is seen here. It is shown that way in the two photographs provided with the Eagle Cals, and since this plane operated in a very hot environment, I'm sure that it was probably open more often than it was closed.
The whole canopy section slid back and forth and provided some protection for the gunner from the elements. Later H" models would have a folding section that covered the rear opening. The H-22 version would have a turret...
Another thing I did differently this time, which was a first for me, was that I did some "pre shading" on this build. Up until now I have never done this. I must say it does help with the overall look of this plane, as it breaks up the monotone look of the single upper color. Model Master enamels were used throughout the build, with the exception of some pastel weathering from the Tamiya decks.
The German planes typically had a huge amount of exhaust staining that was caused by the type of fuel used. I tried to replicate this look, and extended the staining to go over parts of the elevator / stabilizer assemblies.
It is very prominent on the undersides of the model. I used several photos that I found online to use as a guide.
These stains were made by air brushing highly thinned flat black paint onto the surface. I then went back with the Tamiya weathering deck, using the color "Soot" to touch things up as needed.
Here you can see where the "soot" from the exhaust has extended onto the top sides of the elevators too...
The "Stab" unit or Headquarters as the Allies would have referred to them as, was commanded by a man named Karl Christ, from April 1st, 1941 through September 1st of the same year. This man held the rank of "Oberst" which was the equivalent to a Colonel in the US military. Oberst Christ was also a First World War Ace, who flew bombers at first and then later transferred to Jasta 28 flying Albatros D-III and D-V fighters. He is credited with scoring six victories, including the last victory claimed by JG 28 during WW1.
Oberst Christ was succeeded in Command by a man named Walter Sigel, who also held the rank of Oberst. He was the Commanding Officer of St.G. 76 and leading a flight of Ju-87's on a pre war dive bombing training mission on August 15th, 1939, when disaster struck. There were low lying clouds present in the area on this day. The cloud layer were believed to be at an altitude of 3,000 feet (900 meters), when it was actually at 330 feet (100 meters).
The clouds affected the judgment of the Stuka pilots as they pulled out from the dive after releasing their bombs. Many pilots recovered from the dive too late, and flew into the ground. Thirteen Stuka crews were killed because of this. It was called the "Neuhammer Stuka Disaster" because this was the name of the town near where the crews flew into the ground.
Oberst Sigel managed to pull out of his dive in time, but just barely. He reportedly had almost 300 feet of altitude as he recovered from the dive...
Oberst Sigel was in Command of a unit of Ju-87's from St.G.3 flying over Poland on September 1st, 1939. This unit was the one that was reported to have dropped bombs on a Polish city called Wielun, before Germany "Officially" declared war. This City was later found not to have had any military targets, and is now considered the first "War Crime" committed by Germany during WW2. Part of the blame was believed to have been caused by incorrect intelligence, as some of the Stuka crews reported dropping bombs on Polish Cavalry.
Unfortunately, there was also a hospital in this Polish city that was bombed by the Stukas from this unit. They say it was clearly marked with "Red Crosses" but it was attacked anyhow. There were even reports of some patients running out of the hospital, which by now had caught fire, only to be strafed by the Ju-87's as they left the building.
Oberst Sigel died later on in the War, when the plane he was piloting crashed into the water. He died on May 8th, 1944, exactly a year to the date, before the War in Europe ended. He was flying a Feisler Stork, and crashed into the Trondheim Fiord. He was the Commander of St.G.3 from Spetmeber 1st, 1941, through April 1st, 1943. The unit was stationed in North Africa during this time, so it is quite possible he could have flown on this very pane that I built a model of...
1 additional image. Click to enlarge.