I’ve been watching the YOTC group in total jealousy, as it has developed with some sensational builds going on. I have been so consumed with ‘real’ work that I haven’t been able to pick up a sanding stick in anger! Anyway I went into the cupboard and pulled out a kit that I had consigned to gather dust. I had just watched a youtube video where the message had been something along the lines of ‘if you want to build certain subjects you may have to cope with older less accurate kits’ and ‘remember, you do this for fun!’
Like so many others, I am intrigued by those who ended up on the wrong side of history – some of the great aces of the Luftwaffe. As a result I can see a number of builds ahead including the mounts of Galland, Nowotny, Marseille et al.
So, to get the ball rolling here is a Hobbycraft kit from about 25 years ago. It depicts an early Werner Mölders’ BF109. I would say it falls into the ‘less accurate kit’ category – the spinner was one of the reasons I put it back in the cupboard – which is ridiculous really! There was no aftermarket alternative for that, so I shelved that build in the hope I’d find a solution. I had also purchased some decals from ‘HAD Models’ – either the kit is small or (much more likely) the decals are way too big. Luckily I have the Eduard ‘Condor Legion double pack in the cupboard – and could replace the famous ‘Mickey Mouse’ art which undoubtedly was way too big! The next challenge was getting the colours right – Hataka had a Condor Legion Set – and while thinning proved interesting at first – I’d say using universal thinner (25%) and spraying a number of very thin coats just about got the job done.
Weathering is an interesting issue here too. Mölders ground crew would undoubtedly have kept his aircraft very well maintained. However, weather conditions varied from severe rain that grounded planes for long periods, to dry dusty conditions. In that light I have weathered this build moderately – trying to keep broadly in line with the various photos I looked at during my background reading.
Mölders, as many will know was the first aviator to get to 100 victories. There was little by way of decoration that he wasn’t awarded including the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. He held various high ranks in the Luftwaffe and was part of the new breed of fliers and tacticians along with his friend Adolf Galland. In 1938 Mölders joined the Condor Legion – fighting with Franco’s Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War. After flying Heinkel He51s he took on the newly delivered Messerschmitt Me109B. Mölders was the top scoring German fighter ace of the Spanish Civil war, with 14 or 15 kills claimed (depending on source). He was a highly respected leader, and is generally accepted as being responsible for replacing the three aircraft ‘Kette’ with the superior four aircraft ‘schwarm’ formation.
As part of the research I carried out into this pre-WW2 conflict I found out that it is likely that Mölders flew out of La Sénia in Catalonia at times in 1938. And, without breaking the sanctity of the ‘apolitical’ nature of the iModeller community, it was a notable coincidence that as I built this kit there was once again civil unrest in Catalonia. Mölders scored his final victory on November 3, 1938, when his tour of duty expired. He returned to Germany as the leading Experte of the Condor Legion.
The cat link here is not however as tenuous as ‘Cat’-alonia! The plane was decorated with the name Luchs – which I am told is German for Lynx! Which I guess it is still a fairly tenuous feline connection!
Thanks for looking – all feedback and historical correction/addition is gratefully accepted!
6 attached images. Click to enlarge.