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Bf 109F Wheel Wells


fishplanebeer
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Dear All,

 

I'm currently building two Bf 109F's in 72nd scale, the AZ F-4 and the Zvezda F-2, and wondering about the correct shape of the wheel wells.

 

The AZ kit has the rounded style which I believe to be correct, and the Zvezda kit has the angular version seen on the Emil and Gustav so wondering if this is correct for an F-2? 

 

My understanding is that the original F-0 and early F-1's retained the angular shape of the Emil but thereafter all F versions had the rounded shape, however I have a pic of an F-4/R1 with the angular shaped wells ('Augsburg Eagle' by William Green, page 79). So my question is was the rounded shape uniform or, much like the strengthening plates at the tail which are often seen not just on early F versions, did it vary depending upon which factory the aircraft was built in?

 

The tail strengthening plates appear to vary depending upon when particular factories adopted the new modification so wondering if this is also the case for the wheel wells, as suggested by this pic of an F-4? If so then I can then happily leave the F-2 wheel wells as is.

 

Apologies if this has already been covered in a previous thread.

 

Regards

Colin.

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Yes, from past discussions it can be found that both the deletion of tail stiffing strips and wheel wells changed shape to round style during F-4 production.  So without a photo, it would be difficult to say exactly which way to go with the F-4 details.  I don't know if a werk nummer would help, as I've not searched for possible correlation between serials and details changes?

 

regards,

Jack

Edited by JackG
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Hi, you may consult my WIP thread here. It's the old Heller 'Friedrich' (participating in the groupbuild) but many details are generally applicable. The latest work stage is at the end of the thread.

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Wow, your work on the Heller kit is quite something and rather beyond the capabilities of my failing eyesight and unsteady hands these days, hence my reason to go for two kits that should (in theory) be fairly straightforward to build with minimal extras required.

 

It seems there is no hard and fast rule regarding either the tail bracing and wheel well shape so I'm happy to leave them as they are and finish both in desert camouflage as the F-2/Trop version definitely saw service in North Africa.

 

The only visible differences I've been able to find between the F-2 and F-4 seem to be the fuel octane rating (C3 for the F-2 and 87 for the F-4), the F-4 having a slightly larger super charger intake (as introduced on the F-2/Z) and the head rest armour of the F-4 which had an additional curved section added to better protect the pilots head. I've also seen pics of an F-4/Trop with the umbrella/sun shade attached but not sure if the attachment points were also there on the F-2/Trop as well.

 

Regards

Colin. 

 

 

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Colin,

 

Regarding the 'visible differences,' you're precisely right about the octane triangle(s), but after that, the early F-4s look no different than the early F-2s (five different manufacturers* produced the F-2, from November 1940 through to August 1941); the late F-2s have the same external features as the late F-4s.  Most of the fighter units in the East phased out the F-2 during the spring of 1942, only the JG 51 continued to use them (and inherited many from other units, most of the remainder going to the schools).  The Stab flight of the JG 51 had a very-few F-4s, in 1942 but otherwise their Gruppen, and the attached Spanish Staffel were using F-2s until I, III , and IV Gruppen converted to the Fw 190A-2, 3 and 4.  It was logical to equip this unit first as the 100 octane fuel ('C3') that the BMW 801 required was already in the supply pipeline for the JG 51's F-2s.

 

The teardrop-shaped umbrella mounts on the port side of the cockpit didn't appear until the G-2/Trop.  There never was an 'F-2/Trop'; the only examples of an 'F-2' in the Mediterranean theatre flew with a recon outfit, and while their Werknummern reveals they started life as an F-2, by this time, they'd been re-engined to use the more common B4, 87 octane fuel.  The Bf 109Fs that went to North Africa (with the JG 27, JG 53, and very-briefly, II/JG 3; later I/JG 77) were all F-4s.  The same "no F-2s" holds for the II & III/JG 5 in northern Finland, they were still flying Bf 109Es quite late, only receiving F-4s in late summer 1942.

 

The wheel well situation with the F-2 is a confusing one, and it depends on the Werknummer (and manufacturer) of your particular subject.  Erla Leipzig F-2s (WNr.8075 – 8266) had the ‘squared’ wheel wells; WNF F-2s (WNr.6651 - 6822) had ‘squared’ wheel wells -- except some of them didn't.  It seems they introduced the round well in January or February of 1941.  The AGO-built F-2s (WNr.12601 – 12978) certainly have some 'squares' in their ranks (WNr.12765 of the Stab/JG 1, for example).

Arado Warnemünde F-2s – had round wheel wells (two ranges, WNr.5401 – 5558, WNr.9535 – 9734).  That said, WNr.5458 (Hptm Hans von Hahn, Gruppenkommandeur of the I./JG 3) had the squared-off wheel wells, which were still being installed in February.  These discrepancies may be explained by German manufacturing practice:  new components arrive and are installed, but earlier parts remain, and can be used when the new batch is used up.  This same implementation can be seen in other fields, such as tank production (with a mixture of new and older parts).

 

Something to note if choosing a very-early Bf 109F, some of these have the supercharger intake at a different angle, not line-of-flight, but rather 'pitched down' rather than aligned to the horizontal.  Some examples: WNr.5458 of the Stab I/JG 3, WNr.8980 of the 3./JG 3, WNr.8115 of the 9./JG 3, WNr.9209 of the 6./JG 52, WNr.12633 of the 9./JG 53, WNr.12609 of the 10./JG 51 and several from the 11./JG 51 (WNr.5432 and WNr.6607).  Two examples, the Technical Officer's "Winkel-Kreis" of I/JG 51 and "schwarze 2" from 2./JG 51 have theirs at an unusually-steep angle.  It's one of those sorts of things to look for, unnoticed until you do.  But don't get me wrong, it's by no means common.  Perhaps it was at the whim of the mechanic?

 

If you've made it this far, without your eyes glazing over, I hope this added light, not heat.  Good luck with your builds, GRM

 

*Messerschmitt Regensburg, WNF, Erla Leipzig, Arado Warnemünde, and AGO

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GRM,

 

Thank you this detailed and highly informative reply which is of great help.

 

I must confess that I never realised that the F-2 didn't had a Trop version as most/all of my sources refer to it and have pics, line drawings and colour plates showing such examples, including machines from I/JG27, II/JG27 and I/JG53. That said they also refer to the F-2/Trop being a field conversion and therefore not built on the assembly line in this configuration.

 

That said one cannot always rely upon written sources as quite often the photo captions can be incorrect and they also have a knack of perpetuating errors by relying upon 'facts' published previously instead of carrying out their own research. In which case can I also now assume that there was never a F-2z/Trop version and that the photos captioned as such are in all probability F-4z/Trop's instead?

 

Regards

Colin.

 

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I think the main reason for not supplying F-2 versions to North Africa was the unavailability of 100 Octane fuel. Given the precarious supply situation in this theatre, fuel of another grade would have been an unaffordable luxury.

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