Tooth correction with a difference: a biting Bf 109D!
The Bf 109 is with about 33,000 examples one of the most built aircraft in aviation history, so it is not surprising that the design has been produced in numerous variants. The best known are the series which, starting with the E-version, came into production from 1939, while the recognition value of the Bf 109B, C and D is low. This is also reflected in the model building world!
For this reason the announcement of the new manufacturer Modelsvit to release two contemporary kits of the C and D series electrified me! But before I go into the model itself, I would like to say a few words about the remarkable history of the early Bf 109 variants. Certainly interesting is the question what the differences to the later models are.
An important point is the engine. The terms Bf 109 and Daimler-Benz motors of the DB 601 and DB 605 series seem to belong together. However, there was another successful sibling at the beginning of the development history: the Bf 109 of the B, C and D series flew with the Junkers Jumo 210.
These variants can be easily recognised by the shape of the nose: a radiator that is large in comparison to the later appearance closes the contour of the cowling strikingly at the bottom. The installation of the V-engine with hanging valves and the resulting arrangement of the exhaust pipes in the lower half of the engine, on the other hand, seem more familiar.
By the way, the Junkers Jumo already shone with a feature that the DB 601 installed later on should also have: the design with direct fuel injection prevented engine misfiring under negative G-load: a decisive tactical advantage over opponents with fuel carburettors!
Early and later versions were similar in their delicate behaviour during take-off and landing, because the enormous torque of the powerful engines in combination with both the lightweight airframe and the narrow and filigree landing gear demanded high flying skills and constant attention.
Under operating conditions and especially in flight training, such high accident figures had to be recorded. The early and late Bf 109 was feared by many pilots, loved by others because of its outstanding characteristics, this remained the same from the beginning to the end across all variants and engines.
Also the basic structure remained the same. Messerschmitt’s urge for the lightest and most compact designs possible led to a number of innovations that can already be found in the B, C and D variants. I would like to mention new means of lift such as the automatic slats and the design of the landing flaps as split flaps.
Uncompromising was in Messerschmitt’s nature and many of the dangerous characteristics of the Bf 109 are the result of this attitude, but of course also the fact that with the introduction in 1937 the newly built Luftwaffe had a truly outstanding fighter at its disposal.
My model shows a Bf 109D-1 of the 2./JGr 176, as it was stationed in August 1939 in Gablingen, Swabia. The shark’s mouth, which is well worth seeing, seduced me to choose from the six (!) variants offered in the kit, all of them interestingly selected and well researched, just the one that otherwise only shows a little spectacular camouflage dress in RLM 70/71/65.
Of course I was also attracted by the challenge of whether I would be able to create such an intricate combination of decals, masking and painting. In all brevity I may say: I find the result well done, although not without flaws. This is mainly due to the difficulty of clearly and unambiguously separating the very short ends of the exhaust pipes, which have to be glued to the cowling from the inside right at the beginning of the construction, from the painted teeth of the shark’s teeth.
Modelsvit offers the model maker well thought-out assistance: the kit includes masking foils that fit perfectly, and not only for the clear parts: the outer contour of the painted teeth can be masked with a separate set of masks. This is what I call welcome service!
Also in other areas I can only praise the kit. Besides the masks, the kit includes a useful etched parts board with details for the cockpit, clear, consistent building instructions -and the decals are of excellent workability and flawless print.
For me this was now the third kit from Modelsvit. With all three kits a positive overall impression has been established, which I would like to extend by one thought: the successful model selection! If you are interested in well-done and enjoyable kits, which are a bit off the mainstream, you are in good hands here.
15 additional images. Click to enlarge.