Tamiya Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 of Leutnant Walter Rupp in 1/72 Scale

Walter Rupp landed this aircraft at the RAF aerodrome at Manston, Kent after suffering combat damage on 17 October 1940.  Rupp became a PoW.  The Aircraft was assigned to 3./JG 53 “Pik As”, who were ordered to remove their unit insignia because they were out of favor with Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring at the time – the unit applied the red “bandage” marking in protest.

Tamiya Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1 of Eduard Koslowski in 1/72 Scale

This Bf 109 is finished in the early-war scheme of 02 / 71 / 65.  It was assigned to 9. / JG 53 and piloted by Eduard Koslowski, who achieved a total of twelve victories.  During the first months of the war the Germans experienced several “friendly fire” incidents.  As a result some Luftwaffe units began to apply oversized insignia to their aircraft, there are even some examples of aircraft wearing both large and small Balkenkreuz.  This appears to have begun in October but had ended sometime in December. This aircraft displays the oversized insignia on the upper wings.

Tamiya Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-7 of Joachim Müncheberg in 1/72 Scale

Joachim Müncheberg joined the Luftwaffe in 1938.  His service took him through all the major campaigns fought by the Luftwaffe – the Battle of France, the Battle of Britain, the Mediterranean, and the Russian Front.  He scored the majority of his victories against the Western Allies, including an astounding 46 over the Supermarine Spitfire.

In January 1941 he was transferred along with 7./JG 26 to Gela, Sicily to operate against the RAF on Malta.  He scored repeatedly against the Hurricanes there, adding another 25 victories to his tally. The RAF eventually having to disband No. 261 squadron due to severe losses.

Müncheberg was credited with a total of 135 victories.  He was killed on 23MAR43 when he collided with his final victim, an American-flown Spitfire over Tunisia.  Joachim Müncheberg was 24 when he died.

The model depicts the Bf 109 E-7 of 7. / JG 26, as flown by Müncheberg while at Gela, Sicily, March 1941.

Fine Molds Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2 of Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke in 1/72 Scale

Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke joined the Luftwaffe in 1935.  He deployed to Spain with the Condor Legion but achieved no victories while there.  He claimed his first victory over a French Potez 637 in November 1939.  He was shot down and captured during the Battle of France, but was released after the French capitulated.  He fought briefly against the Russians during the opening of Operation Barbarossa, but III/JG 53 was transferred to Sicily in December. He moved back to the East in May 1942, transferring to JG 3 and becoming Kommodore during the siege of Stalingrad.  During this time his score rose to over 150 and he was awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.

In May 1943 JG 3 transferred back to Germany to defend against the American bomber onslaught which was then building momentum.  Although ordered not to participate in combat missions, he continued to add to his score.  On 23MAR44 he shot down a P-51 Mustang, but was himself shot down and killed by Mustangs of the 4th FG.  His final score was 162 victories and 732 combat sorties.

This is Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke’s Bf 109F-2, III / JG 53, Berck-sur-Mer, MAR41

Fine Molds Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4 of Walter Schuck in 1/72 Scale

Walter Schuck was assigned to JG 5 “Eismeer” on the Arctic Front, scoring his first victory (a MiG-3) on 15MAY42.  The Soviets fielded a number of Lend-Lease types supplied by the Western Allies in this theater, many of Schuck’s victories were over P-39 Airacobras, P-40 Warhawks, Hawker Hurricanes, and A-20 Bostons, along with a mix of Soviet types.  On 15JUN44 he was credited with his 100th victory, two days later was his most successful day, being credited with twelve victories.  On 16FEB45 he shot down two RAF P-51 Mustangs, bringing his score with JG 5 to 198.

Schuck was then transferred to the west to fly the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter with JG 7.  He continued to add to his score.  On 10APR45 he intercepted a formation of American B-17 Flying Fortresses, downing four.  He was then shot down in turn by a P-51 of the 55th FS, 20 FG flown by Lt. Joseph Petersburs.  Schuck bailed out but sprained both ankles upon landing, his war was over at that point.  He was credited with 206 victories.

The model is finished as the winter camouflaged Bf 109F-4 flown by Walter Schuck, 9. / JG 5, Petsamo, Finland, Winter 1942-43

Fine Molds Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4 of Hauptmann Heinrich Ehrler in 1/72 Scale

Heinrich Ehrler was assigned to Jagdgeswader 5 “Eismeer” on the Arctic Front for most of the war, eventually leading the unit as Geschwaderkommodore.  He was awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and was ultimately credited with 204 aerial victories.

He was most famous for being scapegoated for failing to prevent the sinking of the battleship Tirpitz by RAF Lancasters on 12NOV44.  Even though Ehrler was in the air with 9./JG 5 at the time, several communication errors resulted in the Eismeer fighters not being notified of the RAF attack.  In fact, the command had not even been notified that the Tirpitz had been moved into the area.  None the less, Ehrler was court-martialed for cowardice.

On 01MAR45 Hitler pardoned Ehrler.  His rank of Major was reinstated and he was assigned to JG 7, then flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.  Although he claimed a further ten victories on the jet, he was emotionally devastated.  On an intercept mission against an American bomber stream on 04APR45, he claimed two B-17s.  He then radioed his unit, his last transmission was, “Theo, Heinrich here. Have just shot down two bombers. No more ammunition. I’m going to ram. Auf Wiedersehen, see you in Valhalla!”

The model depicts Heinrich Ehrler’s Bf 109F-4, of 6. / JG 5, at Petsamo, Finland, MAR43

Dragon Messerschmitt P.1101 Whiffer in 1/72 Scale

The Messeschmitt P.1101 was a contender for the Luftwaffe Emergency Fighter Program which was eventually won by the Focke-Wulf Ta 183 design.  The P.1101 was ordered into production as an experimental aircraft to test the effects of various wing sweep angles.  The airframe was largely complete with a first flight scheduled for June 1945 but the war in Europe ended.  The prototype was shipped to the United States after the war for study, and the design was developed into the Bell X-5.

The model is a “what if” build in operational markings.  I prefer to finish speculative aircraft in actual camouflage and marking schemes, in this case the mixed camo colors are representative of the individually painted sub-assemblies seen on Luftwaffe aircraft during the last months of the war.  The Reich’s Defense band is the blue of JG 54.

Dragon Messerschmitt P.1101 Build Part II

Here the major components are in place and seams checked with Mr. Surfacer 1000 primer. No matter how carefully I think I have prepped the parts and filled the seams, the primer inevitably reveals an area or several which needs more work. I have applied a coat of Alclad and stippled liquid mask to the wingroots for chipping.
I am building one of the kits as a nightfighter in a scheme commonly worn in the Luftwaffe, overall RLM 76 with 75 Gray Violet mottles. I think one of the things which helps “sell” a whiffer build is to use realistic camouflage and markings as much as possible. The viewer is already being asked to take one leap of the imagination in believing the design could have entered service, adding fictitious paint schemes only complicates the matter.
The P.1101 day fighter received a hybrid mix of schemes which reflect the chaotic state of German aircraft production during the last months of the war. Production was de-centralized, with components being produced in smaller plants and shipped to a common location for final assembly. Each production facility camouflaged their components with what paints they had available. Several Fw 190D fighters were produced in these mixed schemes, with some even having additional field-applied colors oversprayed by the units once they entered service.
This is the underside of the day fighter. The kit provides four of the Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missiles, which I painted like the example on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton. Given the fuel consumption of the early jets, I thought it more likely that drop tanks would be more desirable than a full missile loadout.
The nightfighter will need radar, so I ordered this beautiful FuG 218 Neptun set from Hannants. These are wonders of precision machine work from Master, and are quite fragile. They would appear impossible to machine effectively, yet here they are.
Both finished models together. This was a fun project and they went together pretty well for Dragon kits. They are something unusual for the display case, and there will be a few more “whiffers” on the way soon.

Dragon Messerschmitt P.1101 Build Part I

This is Dragon’s 1993 kit of the Messerschmitt P.1101, which was later re-released by Revell. The P.1101 prototype was 80% complete at the end of the war and was being developed as an experimental testbed to study the effects of wing sweep angle on compressibility. In the U.S., Bell built the X-5 for the same purpose, a design clearly “inspired” by Messerschmitt’s work. I’ll be building two of these as “what if” (whiffer) models in operational markings and camouflage.
The parts are well-molded and feature finely recessed detail. Not a lot of parts on this one, but they do include a sprue with four Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missiles, a nice touch. The Ruhrstahl X-4 was in production at the end of the war but was not used operationally. More on the Ruhrstahl X-4 in a previous post here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/rurhstahl-x-4-guided-missile/
The fuselage traps the engine assembly, which also serves as the nose wheel well. These parts required some test fitting to get everything aligned and closed up. Since this design used a tricycle landing gear configuration I added weight in the form of fishing sinkers and epoxy to keep it from being a tail-sitter.
The engines were painted and washed prior to sealing up the fuselage. Only the back section of the engines will be visible on the finished model. Dragon includes a small PE fret with cockpit details, but this appears to be made from stainless steel and I found the parts impossible to cut from the frets. Cockpit details on my models are from frets found in the spares box.
I attached the landing gear legs early to make sure I could get them in past the fuselage sides. Putting them in later would have been difficult with the mounting tabs in place and I wanted a secure fit. Seatbelts are from an Eduard PE fret.
Here the fuselage is joined and re-scribed. I applied MEK thin glue over the scribed panel lines to remove any burrs. I like the shape of this assembly, with a few adjustments this could serve as the basis for any number of futuristic vehicle projects.