Thursday, 7 August 2014

Messerschmitt Bf109G-2 Trop, Hobby Boss (1/72 scale)

As one of my (many) current projects is creating a DAK force for Bolt Action when I spotted this kit in a local model shop I thought it would be a welcome addition to my small force. I've since spotted a pre-painted version of the same model during a scale model show so it's worth keeping a eye out for it.
Box Art
Using the power of Google I found that someone had posted that these markings represent Bf 109G-4/Trop 'White Triple Chevron 4', flown by Hauptmann Gustav Rodel, Gruppenkommandeur Il./JG 27, April 1943, although there is some discussion that the colour details are incorrect but seeing as I known nothing about the subject I won't comment. 
Although obsolete by the end of the war the Bf109 was the main workhorse of the German Luftwaffe. Over 33,000 were made, second only in numbers to the Russian Sturmovik - a model of which can be seen (here).
The kit itself is quite basic (although not as basic as the Grafix models) and easy to assemble. The box art is slightly misleading as there is no pilot figure and you only have the option of the landing gear being down. There is also very little cockpit detail but as I wanted to use this simply as a playing piece to match my other airplanes for Bolt Action I wasn't overly concerned about these points. 

A small magnet was superglued to the underside of the fuselage so that the model can to fixed to 'flying' base (see photo). To help give the impression that the plane is flying I remodelled the landing quite up. This is was quite crude but it will hardly ever been seen especially as the planes are only really supposed to be seen in plan view.  
Landing gear up 
The quote from the HobbyBoss website the armament spec of the Bf109 (replacing the most obvious typos) was:
"Standard armament was the engine mounted 20MM MG 151/20 cannon with 200 rounds and a pair of cowl-mounted 7.9MG 17 machine guns with 500 rounds per gun. This could be supplemented by Rustsatze 6, a pair of MG 151/20 cannons in under wing gondolas."

I fixed the canopy of the model in place without a pilot as at 1/72 scale you don't tend to notice that the pilot is missing, especially as the canopy of the 109 was notoriously small. 
Interesting decal options
One final point about this model is that the Chinese manufacturer has included the option to add a decal of a swastika to tailfin, although this isn't immediately obvious. The decal comes in two separate parts so you have to overlay one over the other to make the pattern. I assume this is allow the model to be sold in the German/Austrian market where any depiction of the symbol is illegal (which is perfectly understandable). Even posting images online such as on the Lead Adventures forum (which I believe is based in Germany) can give them serious legal issues.

Although this may seem a contradiction, seeing as I won't purchase miniatures depicting SS soldiers (this is obviously my own personal choice) I do prefer to have the option of modelling a model correctly in the same way I will paint a hammer and sickle on a flag for use with my Soviet forces.

Below are photos from RAF Museum Hendon of their own airtime Messerschmitt Bf109G-2/TROP W/NR.10639 - `Black 6'/RN228/8478M/G-USTV.