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Messerschmitt Bf.109 Early Versions (A-D)


Mike
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Messerschmitt Bf.109 Early Versions (A-D)
Kagero via Casemate


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A lot has been written about the 109 over the years, but this book from Kagero gathers an awful lot of information in its pages, coupled with a lot of contemporary photos, plans, 3D renders and profiles that will build into a comprehensive history of one of the most important types in the WWII Luftwaffe. This hard-backed and weighty tome (I had to get that in somewhere!) covers the early 109 from its very beginnings, including some of Willy Messerschmitt's earlier designs that led to the birth of the 109 at Bayerische from which the Bf was derived – Bayerische Flugzeug-werke, originally BFW, shortened to Bf. for the purposes of aircraft designations.

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The book goes through the aircraft's gestation, birth and subsequent development through the early years of initial flight-tests, V-series airframes, the early (and almost forgotten) A, and subsequent B-series models that fought with the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War that was the crucible in which German WWII military tactics were forged, as well as their initial combat veterans who went on to lead the squadrons and wings during the war. It is laid out in a highly readable two column format, with drawings, photos and small tables interspersed, each with their own caption in smaller bold font. After page 75 there are a wealth of plans for the various marks, plus a handy set of line-art profiles that show the differences between the variants that I find useful, due to my poor memory.

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The next section shows the airframe in 3D renders, in various variants, in various states of undress from different angles, as well as detail renders of the cockpit, engine and radio compartments. There are even some shots with the skin of the aircraft stripped away, showing the spars, ribs and internal structure to good effect. These would be most helpful for maintenance or crash dioramas, allowing the modeller to understand fully what would be exposed in these situations. The final section is devoted to profiles of interesting and important airframes from the side, as well as some from three-quarter views, above and below.


Conclusion
As always with Kagero's titles, the layout, artwork and texts is first rate, with plenty to recommend it. The photos are of great interest from a historical point of view, with many showing maintenance situations, and more candid photos of aircrew and ground crew, as well as the test pilots and technicians. A very thorough book at a reasonable price, and I'm looking forward to seeing the next volume.

Very highly recommended.

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