Possum Werks ‘Macky’ Steinhoff sheet / Tamiya Bf109E-3 1:48

Steve Budd submitted these details of his Tamiya 1/48 Bf109E-3 build, using Possum Werks decals created by our late brother in Christ, Tom Meyers.

When the idea of a memorial build for Tom Meyers was first mooted I was spoilt for choice; Tom had previously and very generously sent me a selection of his 1:48 scale Possum Werks decal sheets covering the B-17, Hellcat and (unusually for a decal release) a pilot – Johannes ‘Macky’ Steinhoff. These, together with the Accurate Miniatures (AM) kits I had in the loft, presented a pleasant conundrum deciding which would best honor Tom’s memory.

Instinctively, I felt that the right selection would be a decal sheet, rather than an AM kit. I reasoned that as Tom’s role at AM was Art Director and the decals were of his own creation, that a Possum Werks sheet was the right thing to go for. In tandem with this, it is a little off mainstream for a decal sheet to cover a pilot as I mentioned earlier and so it was obvious that ‘Macky’ Steinhoff must have held a particular and significant appeal for Tom. Well, that clinched it and all that remained was to select which of the four aircraft Tom had included, would wind up on a kit. All the choices are interesting, all are Bf109s and range from an E-3, an F-4, a G-2 through to a G-6. I chose the Battle of Britain E-3 as a natural display shelf partner to my Spitfire MkIIa and Hurricane MkI.

The sheet is printed by Cartograf and includes markings and stencils sufficient to cover all the options featured (very well done Tom!) – many decal sheets don’t cater for the purchaser in this way and that aspect alone makes the release superb value for money. I’d better ‘fess up now – me and decals don’t have an easy time. I own virtually every softener going and still have difficulties with silvering and dropping into panel lines and so forth. These decals actually responded best to Micro Sol; Daco Strong and Gunze Mr Softer beaded up and were ineffective, while good old fashioned Micro Sol had no visible surface tension problems and stayed.

I cured the panel line thing by carefully gliding the tip of a No11 scalpel blade through the markings. Micro Sol then finished them off. The Stencils did have a propensity to silver a little but this was cured by picking them off the wet backing sheet with fine tweezers and touching their under surfaces to a pool of Klear (Future in the US). The silvering occurred despite a very high gloss surface, courtesy of Gunze’s acrylic clear varnish. The Klear eliminates air completely and once the stencils were dry, a semi-mat (eggshell) coat sealed them perfectly.

The Tamiya Emil is a little gem, as you’ll know but with one telling flaw that affects decal placement – the rear fuselage stations (the vertical panel lines on the fuselage) from the the rear of the cockpit back to the tail, should be equidistant but aren’t. This means the fuselage crosses overlap stations, when they should sit the exact width between. This is no fault of Tom’s and the markings are correctly sized so my only option was to overlap.

I hope Tom would have been pleased with the result – I deliberately left the markings un-weathered and as vibrant as they were on the backing paper; as it just felt like the right thing to do.

As a pleasant postscript, the finish, together with Tom’s decals, combined to pick up a very positive and welcome on-line compliment from Lynn Ritger, whose highly respected two part Modeller’s Datafile publication on the Bf109 was a key reference used on this project. I was pleased for Tom and thought it would make him smile – I’ll ask him if I got that right in person one day… 😉

Now go build something!