Here is another build from Raleigh Lamb, this time a great looking Bf-109G-6 in the markings of Erich Hartmann’s aircraft.
Well, I don’t think there is anything I can add that would shed any new light on the history of the Bf 109, and most of you know at least a short history of the legend of Erich Hartmann. To make a very long story as short as possible, he began training in gliders as most promising Luftwaffe pilots did. Joined the Luftwaffe in 1940 I believe, at the age of 18, went through flight training, and was posted on the Eastern Front with JG 52 in September of 1942. Erich and three friends were told to ferry four Ju 87s to a unit which was nearby JG 52, so being the proper Lieutenants that they were, climbed into their new mounts, briefly familiarized themselves with the controls, cranked engines, taxied out, and Erich unceremoniously ran his Stuka right into the ground controllers hut!
Upon arriving at JG 52 via transport, he was briefed on the dos, don’ts, and dangers of the Red Air Force, then put under the wing of a flying NCO who had been wounded in combat. Erich’s first combat engagement was a total disaster, after completely ignoring everything that the NCO had taught him, he charged off after a target, over shot it, became disoriented, and ran from his flight leader thinking he was a bandit that had latched on his tail. After loosing his “pursuer”, realizing he was now lost, and very low on fuel, he began listening to the voice in his radio that belonged to his flight lead NCO who had been calling for him to slow and turn around for about the past 20 minutes. After being talked back to home base, he received a tongue lashing from his instructor, and came to the conclusion that he needed to listen and learn everything this old man had to offer him.
Two years and 352 confirmed victories later, the war ended, leaving the majority of JG 52, Major Hartmann included, in a Soviet prison. He was given a mock trial, and found “guilty” of sabotaging the Soviet war effort, and destroying Soviet property. Ten and one half years later, he was released (after much political pressure from NATO) back to West Germany, where he was soon talked into serving in the new Bundesluftwaffe. Erich did a great deal of work to help reform, and mold the Bundesluftwaffe into the fighting force it is today. If this story interests you, I suggest you find and read the book, The Blond Knight of Germany, a biography of Erich Hartmann, by Raymond F. Toliver, and Trevor J. Constable.
|Kit:||Fujimi 1/48th Bf 109G-6 Hartmann|
|Kit Number:||48004 (FJM27031 as listed on Great Models Webstore)|
|Price:||Listed on Great Models Webstore for $28.00|
|Decals:||EagleCals EC#36, The Blond Knight|
|Notes:||Teknics Bf 109F/G Super detail set used.|
Upon opening the fairly sturdy box, you find six flash free sprues, a couple of which are individually bagged. The canopy sprue is bagged with the decals preventing scratches from the other sprues. The moldings are of very sharp quality with fine recessed detail for the panel lines, and good raised detail for the cockpit, bumps and bulges where appropriate for the wings and fuselage. The Fujimi kits come with many parts options, the engineering was done to make as many different models (Bf 109G-5 through K-4) as possible by adding and taking away from the molds to box the specific model kit.
On the down side of this, you might get some parts that don’t look quite right, or fit as well as per se the Hasegawa 109 kits. On the up side, depending on what forward fuselage and canopy options come with the specific kit you bought, you can build just about any model of the 109 from the Gustav to the Kurfurst, and you have a lot of left over parts for the parts bin that can be used on other 109 projects (cough, Hobbycraft, cough). This particular kit was the Hartmann special boxing, and came with two marking options, an earlier bird that Erich flew, yellow 1, W. Nr. 166221, and the white washed << while he was briefly assigned as Group Commander of I./ JG 53.
I started off with the Teknics detail set, beginning with the cockpit. The resin parts were removed from their mold blocks, washed in mild detergent to remove any mold separation oils, assembled, painted with RLM 66, and weathered using a wash and dry brushing. I believe these kits were designed for the Hasegawa Bf 109F-G kits, but with a little sanding, work just fine with the Fujimi kits. When all the cockpit sub assemblies were complete, the fuselage halves were glued together, once dry, the cockpit was inserted from the bottom and five minute epoxied in place to insure it would not move later on. The epoxy also gave me a little wiggle time to make sure the cockpit was in it’s proper position, with super glue and resin, you get one shot only. I then assembled the forward fuselage, I cut the machine gun barrels off of their mount and drilled them out, added some evergreen sheet stock on the bottom of the mount so the barrels could be installed post painting.
Dry fitting the nose to the main fuselage as the glue dries reveals one of the down sides I mentioned earlier. The way Fujimi did this leaves a distinctive curve where these parts mate. In all the pictures I have seen of the late model 109s, I have yet to see this. It is not insurmountable though, it can be faired in easily with your filler of choice and sanding.
The wing assembly was completed next. Any small gaps were filled with super glue and sanded smooth. The wing tip lights are molded in the assembly, and only identified as recessed panel lines. The real thing had colored bulbs covered with a clear lens. I cut out the plastic lenses, drilled small holes in some clear sprue to represent the bulb, added a drop of clear green for the right, and clear red for the left. I super glued the new lenses in their place, and sanded them to shape, final polishing was done with a four-sided fingernail polishing stick.
The wing was coupled with the fuselage, the small steps at the leading, and trailing edges of the wing to lower fuselage were filled with putty. The kit provides the short metal, and tall wooden rudders, my subject had the former, so this was installed. If installed flush, this leaves the rudder sitting at an odd angle that just doesn’t look right, if you correct the angle, it leaves a step on the vertical tail, I chose the latter, and dealt with the step with more putty.
The horizontal tails can go on quite tightly with proper fitting, leaving no gap what so ever. The Tekincs kit provides photo etched inboard upper and lower flap assemblies, I bent these into shape, only to find that they would not fit correctly on this kit. The problem lies with a step between the fuselage and wing assembly. The kit provided flaps fit perfectly, so I just used those. Yes, the Teknics flaps look awesome when completed, but I didn’t feel like performing more surgery when the kit parts fit so well. So the Teknics parts went in my Hasegawa, Marseille, Bf 109F-4 box to be used at a later date.
After the filling and sanding was done, I installed the windscreen. This left a noticeable step, which was filled with micro crystal clear. Oh yeah, the clear parts are pretty thick, but dipping them in Future makes this a lot less noticeable. The windscreen and cockpit was masked for painting.
I used a Paasche “VL” double action airbrush to apply the RLM 74, 75, 76 paint scheme. Testor Model Master Enamels were used. The wheel wells and struts were painted RLM 02, washed with the darkened 02, and dry brushed with lightened 02 until satisfied with the results. I used the mentioned book, and the EagleCals direction sheet as my only references for the paint scheme. This particular aircraft appears to have had the camouflage extended further down the sides of the fuselage than normal. This extension also appears lighter than the top, more than likely due to field application. This was brought to my attention through the excellent reference in the EagleCals instructions that also provide pictures of the sheet subjects. The camouflage was applied (starting with the RLM 76, and working too the darker) free hand with the exception of the wing fillet, which was masked. The canopy was masked and painted separately, beginning with RLM 66, then the camo color. When this was completely dry, the lower nose and wing tips were masked, then Gelb 04 applied. When all of this was dry, I applied Testors Metalizer Sealer for the gloss coat.
I chose to represent one of Hartmann’s later mounts, white 1 + – of 4./JG 52, because I love the tulip nose markings. Hartmann had the tulip nose applied to his aircraft shortly after beginning combat missions with JG 52. Soon he began to notice that he could not engage the enemy, they would simply turn from him and run. This is where he got the nickname, the Black Devil. He had the tulip nose removed from his mount, and quickly began to rack up the victories again. As the war progressed, Hartmann knew it could not go on much longer, so he had the tulips re-applied. Microscale produces the EagleCal sheets for Eagle Editions, so I used the Super Set, and Sol to get the decals to snuggle down into the recesses, which performed well. The only problems I had was with the large national Hakenkreuz, but I always have problems with national insignia so I have to assume it is something I am doing wrong. I also applied the tulips without first checking their fit and ruined them, thankfully, I also had an Aero Master sheet with the tulips. These were applied without further issues. Once dry, all solvent/glue residue was removed with a damp cloth. I applied another coat of Metalizer Sealer, and waited for that to dry completely.
Weathering began with a black sludge wash for the upper surfaces, and dark gray for the belly. These washes consisted of Tamiya acrylic paints, water, and dish-washing detergent. Once the excess was removed with a damp cloth, Testors Lacquer Dull Coat was applied to lightly represent the semi-gloss finish more common than not, to Luftwaffe aircraft.
The machine gun barrels were installed in the upper cowling, and the landing gear struts secured in place. The sockets for the struts are fairly weak, and the fit is loose, so I used five-minute epoxy to ensure the sturdiest mating possible. I added brake lines leading from the inboard wheel wells, down to the wheels. I painted the wheels gloss black, and the tires a dark gray. The tires were washed with thinned flat black, then lightly dry brushed with lighter grays. A final dry brush of raw sienna was applied to represent dirt. Dark gray pastel chalks were applied to the exhaust stacks, trailing back down the sides of the fuselage, and also to the M.G. barrels.
A silver pencil was used to represent nicks and scratches to the paint in various places. Another dull coat was applied to seal in the pastels. The mask was removed from the windscreen and cockpit. The canopy was now installed with Micro Crystal Clear, and an open stop tether applied. The canopy had to be left off for painting due to me installing a battery box cover that was installed on this aircraft. I hadn’t made the box too large, but failed to account for the thickness of the clear parts when I made the box……….. When all of the handling was near done, I installed the antenna cable, aileron counter balances, and lower fuselage antennas.
When I was stationed in Okinawa, I bought several of the different Fujimi 109 family kits because at the time, they were cheaper than the Hasegawa kits. I don’t regret getting these instead of the Hase. kits, even if they are of somewhat lesser quality, the Hase. kits have their own accuracy issues, but go together a little better. But that is another story, for another review.
I fully enjoyed this build, with the exception of my own blunders. I look forward to building the others I have in my inventory. It is hard to recommend these kits to others at this time though. If you can find them out there, they cost as much, if not more than the Hase. kits, I’m not knocking the kits, just stating the fact that they are a little hard to come by when you can still get the Hase. kit for about the same price now.
I hope this build is a fitting tribute to a man that did something no other will ever come close to, well, besides Gerhard Barkhorn.
I am Raleigh Lamb Jr, I was born in Mobile AL, and lived my child hood life in Kissimmee FL. I now live here in Hampton, VA with my wife Debbie, and daughter Abigail. My son, Cpl. Raleigh Lamb III, is a U.S. Marine stationed at New River MCAS, Jacksonville, N.C. I retired from the U.S.A.F in 2004, worked for Carter/CAT until being laid off this past February (Praise the Lord, that was a blessing in disguise!), I now work for HRSD, waste water treatment.
I have built models since I was 9 years old, and still love the hobby. I just wish the hobby wasn’t so expensive these days though.
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.
Numbers 6: 24-25(KJV)