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Basilisk

Schweizer Fliegertruppe Me 109 DB from the Fliegerkompanie 21

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My chosen model is the Cyber Hobby Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 kit in the markings of the 21st Squadron (Fliegerkompanie 21) of the Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Fliegertruppe).

 

Me-109-1a.jpg

Me-109-1b.jpg

The picture was taken during Summer 1940 at Emmen Air Base. J-377 has the large fuselage Swiss cross introduced in April 1940, but still the roundels under the wings from when the aircraft was delivered (J-313 behind it has the square underwing wakings introduced at the same time as the fuselage markings). J-377 was taken off charge on 28 December 1949 together with all the other remaining Me 109 DBs.

 

Before you get stuck into me about the title, which you think should be Bf 109 E-3, the Emil was known in Switzerland as Me 109 DB and was so mentioned in official documents! And the Doras purchased at the same time were Me 109 Jumo ...

 

Switzerland was the largest export customer of the Emil with a purchase of 80 aircraft, purchased in two lots of 30 and 50 aircraft between Mai 1939 and April 1940, produced at the "Werk Regensburg"  (and an additional 9 built from spare parts later).

I always wanted to build a Swiss 109 E, but never thought doing it in the large scale. Should be a straight forward build I thought, but reading Georg Hoch's excellent book on the Swiss Messerschmitt 109s (also published in English by Schiffer) made it clear that it will be far from a straight forward build!

Why you may ask. well the Swiss purchased the Emils without any weapons and radios! The idea behind that was to fit locally manufactured  weapons and radios. In addition, the gun sight was a Revi 3c , the fitted control stick was a KG 11 which was similar to British control sticks and the seat Harness was attached in a different way for whatever reason as well... In a 1/72 scale model. these details are hardly noticeable, but not so in 1/32.

The story on the purchase of the Messerschmitt fighters is fascinating and I highly recommend to read Georg Hoch's book which is a great read filled with anecdotes on the Me 109 operation in Switzerland. The following information is from this book:

When purchasing the DBs, it was undecided what weapon configuration to use on the unarmed aircraft. At the end it was decided to use two 7.45 mm Fl MG 29 with 960 rounds above the engine and one 20 mm FF-K Oerlikon with 60 rounds in each wing.

Compared to the armament installed in German Bf 109E-3 consisting of two 7.92 mm MG 17 with 2000 rounds and one 20mm  MG FF  in each wing, the Swiss weapons have to be seen as a step back. They also needed several modifications on the airframe to be fitted and had to be loaded manually and not electro-pneumatic as was the case with the German weapons.

The Fl MG 29 had been mounted without any off-set and closer together (300 mm compared to 340 mm) which needed modifications of the engine cover and a new ammunition storage and feed which resulted in reduced ammunition by over half compared to the German arrangement.

Me-109-1e.jpg

In regards to the radio equipment, it was planed to fit a French radio produced under license in Switzerland. But production got delayed due to France being occupied by Germany. The radio became finally available in limited quantities by the end of 1941, but its performance was poor.

Three Flieger Kompannien received the new Me 109 DB in 1939 and Fliegerkompanie 21 was one of them. Originally no special markings had been painted onto the new aircraft. During the war in France, it became o common occurrence that German aircraft flew into Swiss airspace, resulting in several aerial combats with Swiss aircraft including the 109s. The first German aircraft, a Heinkel He 111 was shot down on 10th of May and several more followed until early June. Under the pressure from the German government, the Swiss Air Force stoped attacking intruding aircraft there after.

This resulted in very low spirit of the Swiss flying personnel. To lift the spirit, it was decided that it is now acceptable that the Fliegerkompanien are decorating their aircraft with the squadron markings - which was a sharkmouth for Fliegerkompanie 21.

 

Enough about the history. I began this build over Easter - completely forgetting about this STGB coming up :wall: , but the progress is well below the 25% mark.

 

The Cyber Hobby kit is apparently the most accurate 109 E in 1/32.

Me-109-1.jpg

As I love accessories I got a few too.

Me-109-2.jpg

 

My plan is to build the model with the engine covered, but incorporating all the modifications the Swiss aircraft had at the time the picture was taken in Summer 1940.

 

But first some riveting was in place as the Cyber Hobby cit looks a bit bare when it comes to rivets - strangely there are some on the kit here and there. I used some drawings to mark where the rivets go.

Me-109-3.jpg

 

Some pictures are helpful too.

Me-109-4.jpg

 

Rosie the Riveter does most of the work.

Me-109-5.jpg

 

And it does make a difference - braking down the monotony of the large surface.

Me-109-6.jpg

The fuselage was next.

Me-109-7.jpg

And several days later, It was all done.

Me-109-9.jpg

 

Strangely, Cyber Hobby has positive rivets at several places where there shouldn't be any.

Me-109-6b.jpg

The cockpit of the Swiss 109 E has some noticeable differences of which most are on the Instrument panel

Me-109-1c.jpg

Most of the changes circled in red are for the weapons - Top to bottom, two pulleys to arm the two Fl MG 29. Don't know what the handle is at the right. Below is the FF-K cannon selection switch and the ammunition counter. Also note the KG 11 control stick

 

I wanted to incorporate these changes on this build which needed a bit of scratch building.

Me-109-10.jpg

And all together.

Me-109-11.jpg

 

I also made the KG 11 control stick by using a CMK resin control stick intended for the Hawker Tempest.

Me-109-12.jpg

It was a reasonable starting point, but some modifications where needed. Not perfect, but close enough. That is where I am at the moment.

 

Cheers, Peter

Edited by Basilisk

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This going to look very impressive when finished :)

Following with interest :popcorn:

Joss

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Nice start.  I like the riveting done. I have tried it a few times, but I never manage to get straight lines.

The detailing on the instrument panel is also very good. 

I have read a article many moons ago about the Bf-109 in Swiss service and I can remember that they also had a morse code key in the cockpit. I believe it was in a Scale Aircraft Modeling International magazine.

 

Cheers,

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6 hours ago, Joss said:

This going to look very impressive when finished :)

Following with interest :popcorn:

Joss

Thanks Joss. Maybe it should read IF finished ...

 

4 hours ago, Arniec said:

Nice start.  I like the riveting done. I have tried it a few times, but I never manage to get straight lines.

The detailing on the instrument panel is also very good. 

I have read a article many moons ago about the Bf-109 in Swiss service and I can remember that they also had a morse code key in the cockpit. I believe it was in a Scale Aircraft Modeling International magazine.

 

Cheers,

Thanks Arniec. Rosie the Riveter tools are great for freehand riveting as the wheel has a very precise fit with no wobble.

 

Yes morse code units were fitted in the cockpit of Swiss 109 Es at the bottom left under the IP, but happened towards the end of WW2, so wasn't part of this aircraft.

 

Cheers, Peter

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nice little summer project Peter, can wait to see more :popcorn:

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8 hours ago, Ozzy said:

nice little summer project Peter, can wait to see more :popcorn:

Thanks Ozzi, but I wouldn't call it little and it will be a winter project for me ;)

 

Cheers, Peter

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I made some other enhancements to some of the small parts during the week - I know it was prior the start of the GB but there is so much to do, so I needed a bit of a head start (and still well below the 25% mark).

 

I drilled open the holes on the oxygen regulator.

Me-109-15.jpg

Stuffed up the bottom hole, but should be ok when assembled in the cockpit.

 

There where some more holes to be drilled on the rudder pedals.

Me-109-16.jpg

 

 

The map holder underwent some improvement as well.

Me-109-21.jpg

The chain for trimming is massive - more like a motor bike chain! I will replace it with some PE I found in my stash.

Me-109-22.jpg

Will be interesting to see how it will work out.

 

I also thought the seat is a bit too narrow on the top, so I widened it a little.

Me-109-14.jpg

I think it looks better now.

 

After seeing this picture, I had to do something about the solid seat rails in the kit. Just noticed the small hole on the side. May add it later.

Me-109-20b.jpg

By the way, I still hope someone knows more about the harness.

 

I replaced them wit an L profile.

Me-109-17.jpg

This was a bit tricky as I had to reduce the profile in size and sickness. But I think the end-result is looking ok.

Me-109-18.jpg

Me-109-19.jpg

 

 

Me-109-20.jpg

 

Also added the various parts to the cockpit sides. Where to put them was a bit vague in many cases and the location pins at wrong spots too.

Me-109-24.jpg

 

Also added a slot to the throttle console (bottom right) and replaced the throttle with an airscale part.

Me-109-23.jpg

 

The sides contain now most parts.

Me-109-25.jpg

I will add some of the smaller parts I have already prepared after I painted the cockpit.

 

Next up is the placement of some of the visible wiring in the cockpit.

 

I also assembled the engine to the bare minimum as it is needed to hold the exhausts, proppeller and radiator in place.

Me-109-26.jpg

Thanks for watching.

Cheers, Peter

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Wow. Plenty of reasons for me and my lack of both skills and nerves to stick in 1:72 scale and keep my canopies closed. Yet I think I'm most delighted to be priviledged to witness craftsmanship and dedication like yours, Peter 👍. V-P

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Most impressive  peter,pray tell how you got such a perfect circle  riveted on the upper wing surface ( wheel well) did you do the rivets  individually?

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Really impressive work on this Swiss aircraft. I was looking in the stash and realized I had the Eduard Royal  boxing of the  "E" and "G" versions. One of the options is a Swiss plane. Yours color scheme is much nicer than the Eduard version!  Look forward to more progress. 

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10 hours ago, Hewy said:

Most impressive  peter,pray tell how you got such a perfect circle  riveted on the upper wing surface ( wheel well) did you do the rivets  individually?

Thanks Hewy. The circled rivets were easy as the kit had them already, but much wider spaced, so I added two rivets in each gap with a pointy scriber ;)

 

9 hours ago, georgeusa said:

Really impressive work on this Swiss aircraft. I was looking in the stash and realized I had the Eduard Royal  boxing of the  "E" and "G" versions. One of the options is a Swiss plane. Yours color scheme is much nicer than the Eduard version!  Look forward to more progress. 

Thanks George. The Victory Models decal sheet gives you most of the colour variations the Swiss Air Force had the 109s painted in. But I will airbrush most of the markings with masks as it looks so much better than decals - specially in the larger scale.

 

I managed to get a bit more done. As I have the Brassin wheels which also includes the tail wheel, I decided to use it. But as it is designed for the Eduard kit, it needed a bit of adapting to make it fit the Cyber Hobby kit.

Me-109-28.jpg

Me-109-29.jpg

 

But when I checked my references, I noticed that the Swiss 109Es all had the tail wheel well covered :BANGHEAD2:

 

Me-109-30b.jpg

 

Me-109-30c.jpg

 

This cover looks to be of a rather complex shape. Does someone has some more information on it?

 

At least the Brassin tail wheel does look more detailed in comparison to the kit item.

Me-109-30.jpg

But I wonder how strong it is :shrug:

 

I added some more detail to the cockpit side walls in the shape of some pluming.

Me-109-31.jpg

 

All the cockpit parts are now ready for primer and painting.

Me-109-32.jpg

 

I decided to paint some of the smaller parts prior assembly as I think it is easier that way.

 

That is all for now. Looking forward getting some colours on.

Cheers, Peter

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