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http://modelingmadness.com/review/axis/luft/109/rey109g.htm – Trumpeter 1.32 Bf-109G-2
Kit: TU02294 Trumpeter Bf 109G-2
Price: £34.99 Available from Hannants UK
Decals: 2 Options
Reviewer: Richard Reynolds
Notes: 2 photo etched frets and rubber tyres included in the kit. Aftermarket accessories used: Techmod TM32024 Decals Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 in Finnish Service; Aires AIRE2142 Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 Cockpit Set; Quickboost QB32026 Bf 109G Gun Barrels, True Details TD32002 Bf 109G-1/Bf 109G-2 Wheels and Airscale 1/32 Generic WWII Luftwaffe Instrument Dial Decals.
Negotiations between the Finnish government and Germany for the purchase of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 began before the beginning of the Continuation War on the 25th June 1941. An agreement was reached in December of 1942 for the purchase of 30 Bf 109G-2’s, the deal consisted of 16 new and 14 overhauled aircraft with an undertaking to replace aircraft destroyed in combat. The contract was finally agreed and signed on 1st February 1943.
Majuri O. Ehrnrooth and a team of 17 pilots of LeLv 34 (Squadron 34) left Finland for Wiener-Neustadt in Germany to take delivery of the first 16 aircraft (Numbered MT-201 to MT-216) on the 10th February 1943. After a period of training the pilots returned to Finland on 10th March 1943 arriving at Helsinki Malmi airport on 13th March.
On the 7th May 1943 Majuri E. Luukkanen and 14 pilots left Finland for Erding in Germany to collect the remaining 14 aircraft (MT-217 to MT-230) on May 10th. MT-226 (Werke nummer 13592) was damaged and left behind in Germany.
In total Finland took delivery of 48 Bf 109G-2’s over the course of the Continuation War. Combat losses were delivered through Pori from Feld Luft Park. Three aircraft designated MT-231 to MT-233 were delivered on 9th August 1943 and were followed by MT-234 on the 2nd September. MT-235 and MT-236 arrived on the 11th November 1943. On the 05th January 1944 MT-237 to 239 were delivered and MT-226 was acquired on 21st February.
On the 06th March 1944 five more aircraft were acquired through Pori, these were MT-240 to MT-244. Further acquisitions were: MT-245 and MT-246 on 21st March, MT-247 on 27th April and the last Bf 109G-2 to be delivered: MT-248 came on 1st June 1944.
The 48 Bf 109G-2’s of the Finnish Air Force served with Lentolaivue 34 (becoming Hävittäjälentolaivue 34 on February 14th 1944), Hävittäjälentolaivue 24 and Hävittäjälentolaivue 28. For the purposes of this article, I shall focus on LeLv 34. All frontline fighter units in the Finnish Air Force were re-designated from Lentolaivue (Squadron) to Hävittäjälentolaivue (Fighter Squadron) in the early part of 1944.
Lentolaivue 34 was established on the 23rd January 1943. Command of the new fighter squadron was given to Majuri O. Ehrnrooth. The 16 Bf 109G-2’s of LeLv 34 were stationed at Malmi in the eastern suburbs of Helsinki and Utti in south-eastern Finland from the 20th March 1943. The squadron was initially tasked with the defence of Helsinki from Malmi airfield and the defence of the Kouvola-Kotka area from Utti airfield.
The order of battle for LeLv 34 on the 22nd March 1943 consisted of: Squadron Commander Ehrnrooth based at Utti airfield. 1st flight under Kapteeni P. Ervi based at Malmi airfield with 6 Bf 109G-2’s, 2nd flight under Kapteeni K. Lahtela based at Utti airfield with 5 Bf 109G-2’s and 3rd flight under Kapteeni O. Puhakka also based at Utti airfield with 5 Messerschmitt Bf 109’s.
First contact for the Finnish Bf 109G-2 came on the 24th March 1943. A patrolling pair led by Kapteeni Ervi encountered a lone Pe-2 bomber over the Estonian coast near Tallinn. After a brief chase the Pe-2 was shot down in the Gulf of Finland near to the island of Suursaari by W/O Ilmari Juutilainen.
Three days after LeLv 34’s first kill its Squadron Commander Maj. Ehrnrooth was accidentally killed in a PY-25 Pyry trainer on the 27th March whilst performing aerobatics at Utti. Majuri Eino “Eikka” Luukkanen took command of the squadron the same day.
By the late summer of 1943 most of the “older” Soviet combat types such as the Polikarpov I-16 and I-153 fighters had been replaced by more modern fighter aircraft such as the LaGG 3 and the La-5. Air combat predominantly ranged over the Gulf of Finland and the Karelian Isthmus with the Soviets often deploying their aircraft in a formation of four Il-2’s escorted by four fighters. Two to three of these formations would fly line astern in intervals of 5 minutes. The Soviet forces also deployed “massed-rank” formations of up to 45 aircraft with the bombers flying to their target at low-level and the fighters ranging overhead at an altitude of approximately 15000ft.
At the beginning of 1944 the Finnish fighter control system was re-organised in the Karelian Isthmus and on the coast of the Gulf of Finland in response to an increase in the number of combat air patrol operations by the Soviets. By the end of May 1944 a new wing control centre began to control the entire Finnish fighter force in the main defence sectors of the Gulf and Karelia. The quality of the Soviet pilots was still mixed with a large proportion of new pilots deployed due to combat losses of experienced crews over the Gulf of Finland and in the wider context of the war between the Soviet Union and Germany.
Finland had expected a large scale strategic attack early in the summer of 1944 and the attack came on the 9th June 1944. The Soviets concentrated approximately 1500 aircraft over the Karelian Isthmus, their objective was to break the Finnish defensive line with a heavy bombardment, bomb frontline troops and strategic logistics centres and to maintain air superiority. The Soviet attack suffered from poor management and decision making. Poor communication led to large sectors of the Soviet front being inadequately co-ordinated, much of the attack was tactically directed as commanders attacked under their own initiative due to a high state of confusion within the Soviet chain of command. This made the job of the numerically limited Finnish fighter force much easier as they were able to respond to each tactical assault as it occurred.
The Finnish fighter control system co-ordinated intercepts with fighters deployed in groups of 8 to 20. The Finnish fighters were directed in two elements, one flying top-cover to deal with the Soviet fighters and one at low-level to intercept the incoming bombers. Whilst the Finns were not able to repulse the large scale Soviet bombing raids, they were able to inflict considerable damage and reduce the Soviet Air Forces ability to effectively prosecute their campaign.
In addition to fighter intercept duties the Bf 109G-2’s were also tasked with the equally important role of escorting bombers on raids at the front. The bombers were assigned to attacking massed Soviet troop formations; usually formations of 30-40 bombers escorted by 12-18 Bf 109 fighters divided into 3 groups would escort bombers in a 3 tiered formation. The lower tier typically consisted of Blenheim bombers; the middle tier Ju 88’s and the top tier flew fighter cover for the whole formation.
Between the 24th March and 4th October 1943, LeLv 34 shot down 100 Soviet aircraft. The Finnish Air Force achieved a total of 663 victories with the Messerschmitt Bf 109 during 1943 and 1944 accomplishing a reported kill ratio of 25:1.
In August of 1944 the Soviet air offensive over Finland virtually came to a halt. The Bf 109’s of HLeLv 34 continued to fly combat air patrols and reconnoitre the border between the Soviet Union and Finland until terms of peace were agreed on September 19th 1944.
The kit comprises 8 sprues in grey injection moulded plastic, one clear bag containing the windscreen, one containing two rear-canopy sections and one clear fret containing the instrument panel and armoured windscreens which are not for use in this kit. In addition there are two photo etched frets, one bag containing rubber main and tail tyres, a decal sheet with options for 2 aircraft, a full colour painting and marking guide with 3 view drawings and an instruction booklet in landscape format. The kit is beautifully detailed and the surface detail is crisp displaying fine panel lines and rivet detail. The fuselage detail includes all of the internal ribbing which enhances the detail even when an after-market cockpit is used.
I started the construction process by washing and priming the resin and photo etched parts from the Aires 1/32 Bf 109G-2 cockpit set. The moulded detail was removed from the cockpit walls and primed before they were airbrushed with Humbrol Hu 67 representing RLM 66 as were the inside of the fuselage halves. I used a Bf 109G cockpit photo from flightgear.org as a reference guide in painting the interior.
The pipework and cables were painted using acrylics from the Citadel paint range and the etched seat straps were given two coats of Humbrol hu 94 sand, any more and the process of threading the seat-straps through the buckles would have been extremely difficult. The instrument panel was supplied with an acetate instrument film; I found the instrument dials to be too dark and elected to replace them with Airscales 1/32 WWII Generic Luftwaffe instrument dial decals. Once the cockpit was completed it was placed to one side and work was started on the engine.
The DB 605 engine supplied in the kit is quite simply superb. It contains 46 parts with each exhaust stub separately moulded. The only addition that I made were a pair of MG 131’s over the engine in resin by Quickboost as the kit supplied MGs were very basic. Unfortunately the effect of the detailed engine would be lost as I had elected to model the aircraft with the engine covers closed. Nevertheless, should you wish to display the Bf 109G-2 with the engine covers open the kit supplied DB 605 is excellent.
Once the engine block and MG mount had been married to the Aires cockpit the fuselage halves were sealed. Construction of the wings and propeller assembly were straight forward and the fit to the fuselage was very good. The slats, flaps and radiators are separate items and can be moulded open and down which adds to the realism of the kit. Very little filler was required in constructing this kit; in fact it was only needed on the join seams.
I fitted the front and rear canopy sections next and here was my only criticism. In an effort to market this kit as a Bf 109F and Bf 109G-2, trumpeter has moulded the deep ‘F’ style windscreen. This is despite the fact that this particular moulding is inaccurate if you want to make a Bf 109F. Therefore I had to fill the front quarter panels of the windscreen which took some time to adequately sand down until the fuselage was flush. Once sanded using 1500 grit wet and dry paper, the aircraft was primed using auto-primer from a rattle can and prepared for airbrushing.
Camouflage and Markings
Two colour options are available in the kit, however I decided to finish the kit as a Finnish Air Force example. I chose Techmod’s 1/32 Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 in Finnish service decals. There are three options available on the sheet: “Yellow 2” MT-222, WNr 13528 of 1/LeLv 34, flown by W/O. I. Juutilainen, July 1943; an example in delivery scheme DL+IC, WNr 13528, arrived to Malmi on 16th May 1943. Repainted as MT-222 and the example that I chose, “White 3” MT-213, WNr 14754, 2/HLeLv 24, flown by Luutnanti Eero Riihikallio, May 1944.
The decal set includes a full colour 3-view booklet. Wheel, spinner and “Russian front” band masks and a vinyl canopy mask.
On the 26.08.40 the Finnish Air Force adopted a standardised camouflage for all of their military aircraft as directed by the Finnish Air Depot known as “Warpaint”. This homogenised scheme was further amended on the 1st November 1940 incorporating black to the field green upper surfaces.
Using references from the IPMS Stockholm website, I composed Finnish Air Force olive green (Oliivin Vihreä) from the Continuation war by mixing: Humbrol hu 116 (6 parts) + hu 117 (6 parts) + hu 163 (1 part). Top-surface black was similarly matched as: Humbrol hu 33 and 0.5ml of a pipette of Humbrol hu 64 added to lighten the hu 33 black.
The undersides were painted DN-Väni (blue-grey) using Xtracolor X202 RLM 65 Hellblau, in accordance with the Finnish Air Depot Directive of 14th March 1942 which stated that: “Based on tactical viewpoints we suggest that the undersides of the wings and fuselage of all warplanes should be painted light blue (matt), instead of the present aluminium dope”. According to Stenman and Keskinen’s publication “Warpaint”, this was as a direct result of comparisons with German Dornier 17Z Bombers that arrived in Finland in January/February 1942. Like the Warpaint, this underside DN-Colour was applied at the factory or field air depot.
White Ensign Models ACLW21 RLM 04 Gelb was used to paint the yellow tactical markings applied for operations on the Eastern Front at the time of the Continuation War.
The paint was allowed to dry for two days and a coat of Future was applied. The Techmod decals were applied using Microset and Microsol decal setting solutions. Unfortunately the decals were very thin and one of the fuselage roundels and one of the fuselage serials broke up. As a result I had to buy an additional sheet of decals to complete the kit. Once the decals were sealed with a coat of Future, the undercarriage and canopy with armoured headrest was fitted. Finally the aerial wires were added using 0.1mm stainless steel wire and Lycra thread.
This makes a well detailed example of the Messerschmitt Bf 109G. The comprehensive engine, cockpit and the inclusion of the slats, flaps and radiators coupled with the ease of construction builds a fine example of this iconic aircraft. Highly recommended.
- Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 6A, Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 by Kalevi Keskinen & Kari Stenman, Stenman Publishing.
- Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 18, LeR3 by Kalevi Keskinen & Kari Stenman, Stenman Publishing.
- Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 23, Sotamaalaus/Warpaint by Kalevi Keskinen & Kari Stenman, Stenman Publishing.
- IPMS Stockholm Magazine, Finnish Air Force camouflage and markings 1940-44 2004/05 edition.