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A swarm from 3./HLeLv 24 - Fin(n)ished


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Savoia-Marchetti in German TGr. 10 colours - what on earth has that got to do with a Messerschmitt Bf 109 Single Type Group Build? A lot.


When the 4:th Soviet Strategic Offensive was launched on 9.6.1944, the Finnish Air Force was seriously lacking in numbers of first line combat aircraft. Since the Finns (that´s us, btw) had earlier had some separate talks about saying bye to Germany and participation in the whole war, the Germans had restricted from supplying weapons etc. stuff because they had a doubt they´d not be put to decent use. When all the hell broke loose on the Karelian Isthmus, that didn´t come as a surprise to fighter units that had seen all the gathering of men and material beyond the stationary frontline - but the Army didn´t believe them. They thought Finnish front was a mere sideshow and all the major action would be put in reaching Berlin from the east before the west. Who´d be interested in us in that case?


Uncle Joe was. He wanted to give our small nation a lesson and solidify his right flank before reaching Berlin. Some people say he also wanted to ease on the Germans so they could move troops to face the Normandy invasion and thus create a vacuum in the central eastern front section, where Operation Bagration would later make the Germans collapse. When the Summer Offensive breached through Finnish frontline and Soviet troops advanced several kilometers in a day, even Old Adolf understood the Finns needed arms and support. One major contributor in helping stop the Red Storm was the Gefechtsverband Kuhlmey. Delivering the ammunition and other supplies for its Stukas was the TGr. 10 with its S-M:s and Ju-52:s. It didn´t take long before someone got the idea that on their return leg, when flying empty to Germany, they could carry Finnish fighter pilots to Insterburg, then to ferry Messerschmitts back where they were needed. And ferry they did... more than 80 airplanes in less than two months.


So here are ylikersantti (senior sergeant?) Leo Ahokas, his colleague in rank (later vääpeli or master sergeant) Eemil Vesa and kersantti (sergeant) Koski Keskinummi with a member of the Italian air crew (guess which one´s Italian :rofl: ) at Lappeenranta airfield on the morning of 19.6.1944 on their way to Insterburg. Remarkably, they were back on the same day and took to battle with their new planes in the very early hours of the next day, 20.6.1944, the day the Finland lost Viipuri, its second largest city. Never to be given back...


The third flight of the fighter squadron 24, 3./HLeLv 24 received eight Bf 109 G-6:s on that day. They were numbered consecutively from MT-436 to -443. I plan to tell you their story, and the story of the pilots that flew them. For me, on Finlands´ centennial year, this Group Build is my place to tell it to anyone who´s interested. I won´t model them all... but many of them. I shall be using AZmodel 1:72 scale kits.


Best regards, V-P

EDIT 020517: I´ll add fourth plane in this build. Even before the Winter War the Finnish Air Force adapted to tactics of 2-plane pairs and 4-plane patrols, later renamed swarms. Thus a trio or a "vic" just didn´t feel appropriate so I decided to go for a swarm of MT-436, -437, -439 and -441.


To ferry her from Insterburg to Lappeenranta, here´s kapteeni (captain) Hans Wind on board the same Pipistrello his three NCO:s are. The one just boarding the plane is a Finnish reporter and the one on the right I believe is part of Italian air crew.


Just to recycle some pics from the MTO GB, where I first planned to build these kits:


And some superior sprue pics from an internet review of the AZ kits:


Plenty of "options", read "spares":


I do have both types of canopies:


A pile of references from our public library, well not all of them:


And finally (never mind the juvenile delinquent with a "Messerschmitts in Finland for 70 years" in his hand) there´s the real MT-452 that was on loan at Finnish Aviation Museum a few years ago.


Best regards, V-P

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Just a little background for my builds. Browsing through history of our MT:s, these eight planes quickly caught my eye. Just think about this;  an experienced and combat proven but materially depleted unit was boosted to full strength with brand new planes in one single day. They had enough pilots, both seasoned veteran aces and able youngsters, that had been taught well before the storm. Those planes were also consecutively numbered, which meant they were the only Flight in those days that had all of their new planes assigned at once. And to battle they went; Hans Wind didn´t even take a nights´ sleep before taking his new plane to an interception mission; he joined another flight at the evening of 19.6.1944, the day he had taken the morning flight to East Prussia to pick up a plane! Here´s a table of their combat record:




It was a rough journey for these planes and their pilots. Here´s their history in brief:

MT-436; combat damage and forced landing 3.7.44. Pilot P-E Ohls ok. Plane recovered and repaired, but saw only post war service

MT-437; combat damage and forced landing 28.6.44. Pilot K. Keskinummi injured (hit his head in the gunsight) but back in a month. Plane recovered and repaired, but saw only post war service.

MT-438; combat damage and forced landing 28.6.44. Pilot E.Vesa ok. Plane recovered and repaired, but saw only post war service.

MT-439; combat damage 28.6.44. Pilot H. Wind severely wounded, didn´t fly again. Plane repaired, shot down and lost 29.6.44. Pilot A. Laitinen severely injured at exiting the plane (his legs hit the vertical stab), parachuted to become POW

MT-440; shot down and lost 11.7.44. Pilot R. Helava ok, parachuted to become POW

MT-441; survived the war

MT-442; shot down and lost 22.6.44. Pilot E. Nukarinen MIA. Remains found in 1993, buried in Lappeenranta 1994.

MT-443; survived the war

So, three planes shot down, three planes force landed; one pilot lost, two pilots captured, one pilot wounded, one pilot injured. Not just by doing formation flying.


Although, it appears to have been a rough journey for several Soviet pilots and their planes too.


I´ll write some pilot histories later, If you´re interested. If not, just skip this :coolio:. Best regards, V-P


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Interesting project and a good read.

Looking forward to see how the AZ 109 getting together got one in my stash.

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Here we go again, just two days to go before we start!


A map from the Karelian Isthmus.


I got these today! One of these will be a prize in this GB, one in the P-39 STGB next year, and the third is a spare :-)


Some references spread out...


...and then piled up.


Some lighter stuff...


...but with heavy information (this is about Finnish Bf 109 G-8:s).


Sprue pics. The G-6/AS fuselage is just taped together, with cockpit tub inside, to see where the crunch is.


The second sprues.


I have a set of SBS Model decals for Finnish G-6:s on the way. These I´ll mix with AZmodel stencils and InScale72 codes, using only SBS insignia. Yes, there´s an Eduard set for 5 x Bf 109 and 5 x FW 190 etch seat belts. 


Yes, I have instructions. Anybody else need one, or two?


Paint diagrams by Pentti Manninen, a guru.


Here´s a pic from my wall calender. It´s a coloured SA- kuva, posted here just to point out what the Finnish MT mottling looked like. Should be good for brush painting too :-)


Started, me, no! I just checked if I can mask the canopies myself without buying a dedicated set. The answer is: Yes, I can.


Best regards, V-P

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All good stuff. I'll tag along if you don't mind. :D


I have a soft spot for Finnish 109's and want to build one in 1/48 myself.


I recently picked this up for less than £5!









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One more night before takeoff! Here are a few pics to keep my thread fresh :bounce:

Please note, I base my builds on the inscale72 decals' diagrams, not these books or internet resources :coolio:


I don't have any wartime pics of MT-436. I do know it had the early (read: non-Erla) canopy and low tail. It was originally R6 equipped gunboat, though they were later removed to restore agility. ALL Finnish gunboats had low tails, btw. I'll build the model in basic 74/75/76 camo with overpainted German insignia, replaced with Finnish ones. I have no knowledge about a code number on the tail.


First two pics are from Stenman/Holda book of Finnish fighters, part 2. I've taken them with my tablet, the book being open on my legs so there's noticeable and intented distortion! First comes MT-437, it's like the -436 but without wingguns and sporting both yellow 9 and the unique lynx head on the tail.




Next comes the MT-439 that Hans Wind took to battle with German markings. There's some background for this plane here and also a great proof that my build plans tend to "live" on the way... The reason I want to build this in Jerry colours is to point there are subtle but practically ridiculous differences in some markings but hey, the military has its way of dealing with orders!




Last but not least comes technically identical to MT-439, the MT-441, only difference being in markings. This was the mount of Ahti Laitinen. When Wind was wounded, Laitinen took the -439 and was shot down the very next day. Though he hurt his legs, he survived the jump and became POW and was repatriated by Christmas -44.





In the pic above the -441 is at Utti after the armistice in september -44. The light fuselage band is a painted over "itärintamatunnus" yellow eastern front band, now in other fuselage colours. They were ordered to be overpainted quickly though the original insignia lasted a bit later, to be replaced by the roundel (see my profile pic). Most likely the dust filter wasn't used before late july -44. I don't know if I'll use it or not :hmmm:

Spent today almost an hour removing unnecessary parts from the sprues. That's not building, right!? 

Regards, V-P


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Here are some pics from my first weekend with these builds. Friday afternoon I removed unnecessary parts from sprues and put them in spares box. I got four types of sprues left, beginning from the upper left clockwise: low tail with gunpods, lowtail with out them, 4 x fuselages (identical) and 2 x high tail, no gunpods. I like to have spares with a stretch of sprue still with it.


Saturday morning, time to gather all the necessary stuff. First I thought I´d block the exhaust openings with a strip of a sprue, and cut 10 of them ready.


It turned out they´d push the exhausts out of their openings, so I went back to traditional square of thin styrene card.


Because I like to do things my way :huh: , next I assembled the radiators.


Then I painted the fuselage side panel details with blue and yellow. Later I have painted the grey "around" them and it turned out nice (but no pics to show you).

The sidewall details are really good and have a lot of depth. Well done!


And, of course, I had a perfectly good reason to assemble the props and landing gear in the very beginning of the build. What was it :hmmm: I can´t remember...


Yesterday I painted the fuselage inner walls grey with Hu67, landing gear, landing gear bays and radiator areas with Hu240.

I just forgot to take any pics... I think otherwise things are going fine :thumbsup:. Best regards, V-P


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Very interesting story, and great looking birds. 


I knew a little about Finland's first war with the USSR, but don't know much about the second conflict. This was interesting to read, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work.


Some people on the web have maligned the AZ BF109, but it looks like a really nice kit. 

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56 minutes ago, SoftScience said:

Very interesting story, and great looking birds. I knew a little about Finland's first war with the USSR, but don't know much about the second conflict. This was interesting to read, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work. Some people on the web have maligned the AZ BF109, but it looks like a really nice kit. 


Thanks! The second one was at least as interesting as the first one - especially the summer of 1944 and prevention of total collapse. There are just three European capitals of countries that took part in the WW2, that weren´t occupied by an other country; London, Moscow and Helsinki. But that last one was quite close; if Finnish defence hadn´t solidified remarkably after the first two weeks of the attack... maybe I´d had to learn Russian instead of English, Swedish and French in school :unamused: 


I agree on how these kits look like, and feel too. Funny, but most of the negative criticism appears to have come from the same country these kits come... maybe the Czech modelling community and model industry have some internal friction :banghead: Anyhoo some pics:


In my usual way of assembling kits #1, I attached tailplanes before joining the fuselage halves together.

In my usual way of assembling kits #2, I mix different coloured parts whenever possible - that priceless Matchbox feeling :thumbsup:


A test pic just for that Matchbox feeling!


Are my radiators too bright? The lower one is painted with Revell 91 Steel. Then I popped the lid from a Revell 8 Matt black, that had stood unused for years. Without stirring it anyway I dipped a paintbrush in the thin paint on the top and "inked" the upper radiator. I don´t know how correct that is... but I liked it so I did it 20 times :hobbyhorse:

Wheellwells are generally painted with Hu240, but the vertical surface is painted with Hu72 Khaki drill, because in real planes they were canvas lined (if I recall correctly...)



Soon I had more wings than sir Paul McCartney...


...but a lot to be done still left. Actually this pic is a fake, I did reorganize that stuff before hitting bed! Best regards, V-P


P.S. That G-6/AS hangs in there as long as the build goes along the same route the regular Gustavs do. When I reach the point I need to fix the cockpit fit... That´ll be another thread, with probably a few more planes to make another swarm :hmmm: I won´t promise myself that pleasure, not yet...




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It's a good thing you are not ambitious in your build!   Five of the same aircraft at once seems a bit daunting in keeping track of what kit has had what done to it and which parts belong to which kit. You must be way better organized than I am. Good start and I can't wait to see the end results of your factory production 

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Well... I am indeed mixing tan and grey parts of two kits to colour key them as the lowtail, early canopy builds. The tailplanes are so far the only technical difference between them. Glad you like it!


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  • vppelt68 changed the title to A swarm from 3./HLeLv 24

My decals are here now :thumbsup: No need to take a lousy pic of them because there's a better review of them available. So far I only have the G-6 set, but... :hmmm:

Just need to really step on the throttle in my build to get to use these :bounce: V-P

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On 5/9/2017 at 1:13 AM, vppelt68 said:

I agree on how these kits look like, and feel too. Funny, but most of the negative criticism appears to have come from the same country these kits come... maybe the Czech modelling community and model industry have some internal friction :banghead: 



Eastern European modelers are notoriously difficult to please. The only thing they seem to enjoy more than criticizing kits is harshly criticizing each other's work.



But back to your Messers. This is interesting to watch, and now you have me convinced to try an AZ Bf109 after I finish my Finemolds kits.

Edited by SoftScience
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  • vppelt68 changed the title to A swarm from 3./HLeLv 24

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