MPM 1/72 DC-2 Rebuilt Bomber; “Hanssin-Jukka”.

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Kit: 72527 MPM 1/72 DC-2 Rebuilt Bomber

Price: £37.99 available from Hannants UK.

Decals: 3 options.

Reviewer: Richard Reynolds

Notes: Multimedia kit with resin and photo etched parts.

History

On the 5th January 1935, Douglas DC-2-115 No. 1354 was completed at the Santa Monica Factory production line. The aircraft was delivered to the Dutch airline KLM on April 3rd, registered as PH-AKH and began operating on the new Amsterdam-Frankfurt-Milan route on the 5th of May. DC-2 PH-AKH was Christened “De Haan” (Rooster) by its crew, during its career with KLM, it accumulated 5072 flight hours. In addition to the Amsterdam-Frankfurt-Milan route “De Haan” undertook long-distance flights between Amsterdam and Djakarta.

The Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland began on the 1st of November 1939. Finland was chronically short of aircraft at the beginning of the war. The Ilmavoimat consisted of just 36 Fokker D.XXI and 10 Bulldog biplane fighters, 18 Bristol Blenheim bombers and an assortment of some 60 close-support, reconnaissance and liaison aircraft.

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Finland’s Swedish benefactor, Count Carl Gustav Von Rosen purchased “De Haan” from KLM with funds donated by his colleague and engineer J.H. Sager for 250,000 Swedish Crowns. Douglas DC-2-115 No. 1354 was given the Swedish designation SE-AKE, and together with two Koolhoven FK.52s purchased by Von Rosen, was flown to Finland and donated to the Finnish Air Force.

The following is a historical account by Esa Heikkinen of the Ilmasotakoulun Kilta Ry (The Guild of Air Force Academy).

The transfer flight from Bromma to Luonetjärvi (via Turku and Tampere) took place on 14th February 1940. On the 19th Count von Rosen handed over the aircraft to the 44th Squadron, where it was assigned to the 3rd Flight.

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Modifications were ordered by the FAF and plans were made by Torvald Appelroth, a captain assigned to the weapons office of the FAF. These included: Bomb racks under the mid wing, incendiary bomb cassettes put in the place of the toilet facilities, a gunner’s position on top of the aircraft and a forward firing machine gun for the pilot. These alterations were carried out at the aircraft factory in Trollhättan, Sweden. The new-born heavily armed airliner/bomber got a new name, “Hanssin-Jukka” – after a famous 19th century Finnish villain and was re-designated DC-1.

During the winter war, on the 1st of March,”Hanssin-Jukka” took part in a bombing raid against the Russian air force base near Lake Suur Pyhäjärvi. The aircraft was piloted by 1st Lieutenant (Air Force Reserve) Count von Rosen (a Swede), the observer was 2nd Lieutenant (Air Force Reserve) Rolf Winqvist (a Finn) and the gunner Staff Sergeant Rasmus Rasmussen (a Dane); the hostile act was aimed against a fourth country, the Soviet Union.  On the first run only the contents of the toilet (i.e. the cassettes of small bombs) were successfully dropped. On the second run the rest of the bombs got away, but at the same time one of the engines stopped working. At first the crew thought that they were hit by enemy anti-aircraft artillery, upon landing, it was discovered that the engine had stopped due to a lack of oil.

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The aircraft was quickly repaired, resuming operations on the 21st March. During the next ten days, von Rosen trained a Finnish crew to fly the aircraft in just eight flights.

On the 25th April, Warrant Officer Kaarlo “Fritu” (Frithiof) Väänänen was given the responsibility of command of the DC-2 and it was transferred to LeLv 46. The mechanic assigned to “Hanssin-Jukka” was Staff Sergeant Aulis Hakkarainen; the radio operator was Master Sergeant Eino Jokinen. WO Väänänen flew over 700 flight hours on “Hanssin-Jukka”.

In May 1940 the bombing equipment and the nose machine gun were dismantled and the aircraft was equipped for aerial photography and re-assigned to photographic reconnaissance duties.

In addition to aerial reconnaissance, “Hanssin-Jukka” was used as a personnel transport, transporting Marshal Mannerheim and his aides to Luonetjärvi. The occasion was the first general meeting of the Brotherhood of the War Invalids (Sotainvalidien Veljesliitto) which was held in Jyväskylä in August 1940. The unexpected visit of the chief of the defence forces to a small inland airfield boosted morale amongst the fighting men of the Finnish Army. Marshal Mannerheim travelled on “Hanssin-Jukka” on five different occasions.

By August 1940, “Hanssin-Jukkas” Cyclone engines were worn out. Different options for replacement engines were considered; these included the Twin Wasp Junior, Mercury VIII and the Pegasus IIL3. New engines were acquired, whether these were Brewster spare engines or units loaned from Aero Oy, is not clear, however, it seems that these engines were not used. It is likely that the aircrafts existing engines were overhauled at Valtion Lentokonetehdas (The State Aircraft Factory) as no record exists in the aircrafts maintenance logs that the Wright-Cyclones were replaced.

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The aircraft continued in the role of personnel transport; Foreign Secretary Witting was flown to Stockholm and in April 1941 some special troops of the Headquarters used “Hanssin-Jukka” when they conducted parachute training in Luonetjärvi. Together with another air forces transport aircraft (Fokker F.VIII, FE-1) “Hanssin-Jukka” was used to transport gasoline drums to Derevjannoje, supporting the Finnish tank troops at the beginning of the Continuation war. 625 passengers and 24 tons of supplies were transported during “Hanssin-Jukkas” wartime career.

The aircraft was transferred to No.48 Squadron in November 1941 and in February 1942 it was ordered to the Air force Depot. On the 9th March a statement from the Depot reported that: “The aircraft painted according to Warpaint scheme: underside light blue and the upper surfaces olive and black. The aircraft has got full national insignia and designation”. Still on the 12th of March it was not clear what designation should be marked on the side of the aircraft – DC-1 or DO-1. An order was given that DO-1 would be adopted as the new designation. Whilst at the depot “Hanssin-Jukka” received a bigger cargo door, enabling the DC-2 to transport spare aircraft engines.

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The first flight to Germany took place on the 14th March 1942 to Rangsdorf airfield. Flight Captain Leppänen of Aero Oy assisted WO Väänänen on this flight as Navigator/Co-Pilot. 625 passengers and 24 tons of supplies were transported.

While transporting personnel to a trip to fetch some Morane-Saulnier fighter planes from Chateauroux in France, the right engine developed an oil leak during take-off on 11th July. A spare engine was flown from Germany and fitted at Valtion. However, the Cyclones were in urgent need of replacement.

On the 10th September a decision was made to equip the aircraft with Russian M-62 engines and Brewster B-239 propellers. The electric system was changed from 12 V to 24 V and the aircraft was once again flow to the Depot. Warrant Officer “Jurre” Juurikas flew the test flights. At the same time the suitability of Russian two-bladed AV-1 propellers were tested.

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When “Hanssin-Jukka” returned to duty, it started transporting Finnish pilots to collect new aircraft from Germany. On 9th March fighter pilots transferred new Messerschmitt Bf 109Gs from Erdingen to Finland and a month later on the 17th of April, bomber pilots were flown to Tutow to take delivery of Junkers Ju-88 bombers.

“Hanssin-Jukka” was worked hard and damaged on many occasions. While taxing in Devau on 4th June 1943 the right main landing gear collapsed and there was damage in the right wing tip as well. There was no spare landing gear available in the whole of Europe, so the State Aircraft Factory made a new unit. The wing was repaired by Deutsche Lufthansa; however, during the test flight, the landing gear gave way once again and the right wing was damaged. It was fixed again and finally on 17th August after a successful test flight “Hanssin-Jukka” was back in business.

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On 27th August the aircraft was flown to the air force Depot and from there to the State Aircraft Factory for a general overhaul, this was completed by 21st January 1944. During a ferry flight to Germany, “Hanssin-Jukka” suffered some shrapnel damage in the bombing of Augsburg. This damage was repaired back in Finland between 22nd and 25th of February.

While taking off from Devau airfield in Königsberg on 3rd March number eight cylinder in the starboard engine overheated, damaging it beyond repair. On the return journey back to Finland the aircraft was forced to land in Tallinn due to an air raid warning. On 13th March the engine was replaced. On the 24th March both M-62 engines were replaced.

A flight from Neuruppin to Devau was disrupted due to an engine failure on 16th April. Again, four days later a flight from Devau to Helsinki was disrupted due to an engine failure. Once again, the starboard engine was replaced on 29th April. On the 9th May the replacement of both engines was ordered.

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Whilst the aircraft was on the way from Helsinki to Devau it made a forced landing on Ülemiste airfield on 1st June due to damage sustained by the starboard engine. A spare part was flown to Tallinn and the journey was continued next day.

“Hanssin-Jukka” took Finnish pilots to attend a night fighter course in Germany on 13th June; the first group was flown at 06.00 and the second group at 14.00.

On 20th June she was on the way from Böblingen in Stuttgart to Helsinki, and had to stop at Insterburg airfield. Severe cross winds forced the plane out of off the landing strip and the right tire came out of the rim and caused the landing gear to collapse. The plane was in quite alarming state: the wing was bent, the mid wing and landing gear needed attention, the oil cooler air scoop was broken, two propeller blades were bent and the landing flaps were damaged. At the inquest the cause of the accident was deemed to be the general old age and poor condition of the aircraft.

On 2nd September the white base colour of the national insignia was painted over in grey and on 5th September the yellow east front colouring was painted over.

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During the Lapland war against the Germans “Hanssin-Jukka” was used for personnel transport. Twice a small group of specialist Ski troops were to be dropped behind the enemy lines in Lätäseno, but bad weather led to the cancellation of the missions. The wartime pilot of “Hanssin-Jukka”, Warrant Officer Väänänen flew his last flight on the aircraft on 21st February 1945.

“Hanssin-Jukka” was once again flown to Valmet Oy (the former State Aircraft Factory) for general overhaul in February 1949, returning to service on the 28th June 1949. The war paint had been stripped off and instead the aircraft had got a new green livery.

When landing at Halli on 18th March 1953 “Hanssin-Jukka” once again had a rough and bumpy landing in a hard cross wind and a tire rim was broken and the left mid wing was damaged. The plane was repaired and was operational on the 20th of May 1953.

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The “official” last flight of “Hanssin-Jukka” took place on 29th May 1955 at the Helsinki Air Show. A medical flight, transporting a paralysed patient from Utti – Helsinki and then returning to Luonetjärvi, was the final service flight of the aircraft. In total Douglas DC-2-115 No. 1354 amassed 7,579 hours and 35 minutes; “Hanssin-Jukka” flew 2,508 hours in service with the Finnish Air Force.

“Hanssin-Jukka” was officially retired on the 4th of March 1957. The aircraft was sold to Hämeenlinna Hunting Club and was transported there on the 31st of March 1959. There it would start a new career as a café. The opening ceremony of café “Hanssin-Jukka” was held in August 1959. In the autumn 1981 café “Hanssin-Jukka” was closed. To secure the purchase of the DC-2 for a planned museum, the Guild of Karelia Air Command organized a public fund-raising to get enough money. The plan was a grand success and the aircraft was purchased and once again returned to the Finnish Air Force. It was transported back to its old home base to Luonetjärvi as quickly as on 27th November 1981.

The restoration of “Hanssin-Jukka” was completed in September 2011. It is now on display at the Central Finland Aviation Museum at Jyväskylä airport near Tikkakoski, Jyväskylä.

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The kit

The MPM 1/72 “Hanssin-Jukka” DC-2 kit consists of three sprues of soft grey injection moulded plastic, one fret of clear parts containing the windscreen, windows and lamp covers, one clear vacuum-formed dorsal gunner’s canopy,  one fret of photo-etched parts and 14 resin casting blocks. Included is a ten page instruction booklet with 9 steps in ‘exploded-view’ format. The decal sheet provides options to build three examples of the DC-2.

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Construction

After carefully washing the kit in a warm soapy solution and allowing the parts to dry in order to remove the mould release, the parts were primed using grey auto-primer from a rattlecan. Once dry, all of the interior components were airbrushed using Humbrol 80 interior green. This included the inside of the undercarriage wheel bays, which include the four wing sections and the under-wing centre section.

The control panel and control columns were painted black, after drying, the interior was constructed. Step 1 consists of the cockpit, step 3 the rear cabin. The gunners stool was affixed using cyanoacrylate as the part is a resin component. The interior went together very well with the fuselage halves fitting together perfectly once the interior sub-sections had dried.

Step 2 involves fitting the 14 cabin windows and the Pilot and Co-Pilot side windows. I find masking these items unnecessarily time consuming and therefore elected to add the windows after the kit had been completed with white glue.

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After the fuselage halves were glued together, they were taped and put to one side to dry. Steps 4 and 5 involve gluing the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces together – be sure to double check that you are using the correct tail for the example you are building as two tails are supplied in the kit. In Step 5, the upper and lower wings are glued together. These too were taped and put to one side. Once the wings and tail-surfaces were dry, the wing centre-section was glued to the fuselage; the wings were attached as were the horizontal tail surfaces and the tail.

The whole airframe was then left overnight to thoroughly dry. Small amounts of green putty were required where the wing joins the fuselage and where the wing centre-section joins the underside of the aircraft. This was carefully sanded flush using a coarse sanding stick from squadron. The panel lines were then re-scribed and the airframe given an all-over coat of grey primer.

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The wright-Cyclone engines are fairly simple but well moulded. These were painted black with the cylinders and push-rods picked out with silver applied with a dry-brush. The engine cowlings and nose were then fitted. Check which nose-cone you require, three are supplied with the kit, two are injection moulded, one is resin. I used the resin nose which is the correct unit for the Winter War example of “Hanssin-Jukka”.

Next, the resin bomb racks and carriers are constructed as per step 7. This step took patience and great care as the carriers are extremely delicate. A hobby saw and a fresh scalpel blade are recommended to remove them from the resin casting blocks. Cyanoacrylate was used to bond the parts. The bombs consist of a separate resin nose and main body with Photo etched fins.

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Camouflage and Markings

Three decal options are provided in this kit. Option 1; DC-2 “Hanssin-Jukka”, Pilot Earl von Rosen, Lentolaivue 44, Joroine airbase 1st March 1940. Option 2; DC-2, “Hanssin-Jukka”, Air Force HQ VIP Transport, 1942 and Option 3; DC-2-115J “Capitan Vara de Rey”, Spanish Republican Air Force, Autumn 1936. I chose the first option. The DC-2 was pre-shaded by airbrushing black into the recessed panel lines over the grey primer. The aircraft was then given an all-over coat of Humbrol 64 grey. Once dry, this was post-shaded with Humbrol Matt 106 dark grey and given an overall wash with heavily thinned Windsor & Newton Payne’s Grey and Flake White Hue oil paint in a 50/50 combination.

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Final Construction

Stages 8, 8A and 9 consist of fitting the windscreen, resin propeller cones and separate injection moulded blades which were painted in silver. The scarff-ring and gun were fitted with the vacuum-formed wind-shield in the dorsal gun position and the aerial wires and accessories added. The decals were applied using decal setting solution, these were of excellent quality as we have come to expect from MPM/Special Hobby. Finally, the aircraft was given a coat of Johnson’s Klear.

This kit comes highly recommended.

References

Richard Reynolds.

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