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Messerschmitt Bf 110 D1/R1***FINISHED***


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I thought my Hasegawa Intruder was the only old Japanese kit I had but then I found this.

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I built 3 back in the early 1990's to replace my old 1959 Airfix ones - two C's and one D and then somewhere along the line I seem to have bought another one. According to Scalemates Fujimi released a kit of the 110C in 1976 and another version with changed parts as a 110D. Later they merged the two in the 1987 boxing which this looks like, though the instructions are dated 1997, but that box was different supposedly! I presume it will be eligible in any case due to the original moulding date?

 

Exactly which version I will build is still under consideration - it could be an OOB build of the D-1/R-1 from Luftflotte 5 with the large plywood ventral drop tank, or maybe a plain black night fighter version, but that would involve printing some grey markings. I know when I bought it I was playing with the latter idea or maybe one of the C-6  experimental versions with the ventral 30mm cannon reputedly used by 1.Staffel of Erprobungs Gruppe 210 or perhaps one of the more normal C-4/B "Jabo" versions used by their 2.Staffel.

 

Pete

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Nice choice Peter. As you know I'm not an aircraft person but I've seen so many bf-109's on this forum even I know what that is. I didn't know there was a 110 as well, so it will be a nice change!

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Great choice Pete

 

I've always thought the pregnant 110 looked really interesting.

 

I can only imaging a wheels up landing would have been like riding on a see-saw !

 

Cheers Pat

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16 hours ago, JOCKNEY said:

Great choice Pete

 

I've always thought the pregnant 110 looked really interesting.

 

I can only imaging a wheels up landing would have been like riding on a see-saw !

 

Cheers Pat

It was supposed to be droppable Pat, but there were accounts of several failures to release, and even when empty it was still full of fumes and potentially highly inflammable which is one of the reasons several of my sources class it as dangerous. In fact, whilst there certainly was at least one recorded incident of the tank exploding during the ill fated attack over the North Sea by Luftflotte 5 during the Battle of Britain, killing the Gruppenkommandeur of I./ZG 76, the Kagero book says the crews did not seem too concerned about it. In fact they say the main reason it was replaced with normal drop tanks on the D-2 was because it had to be taken off if ETC 500 bomb racks were to be used. Being plywood I guess it would break up fairly quickly in a crash if still in place but could be a fire hazard.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB
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  • 1 month later...

Hi Pat,

 

I am hoping to make a start next week once I have finished the A-6E - I would prefer not to have more than 4 builds on the go at any one time! The same reasoning applies to the King Tiger but as I have another build approaching completion it may not be too long before I start on that as well.

 

Pete

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  • PeterB changed the title to Messerschmitt Bf 110 D1/R1

Given its age, the cockpit is pretty basic but a vast improvement on my old Airfix version.

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Reviews say it is not a bad kit, but that the rear fuselage is too narrow, the wingtip shape wrong and the u/c legs too long. Oddly there is no mention of the horizontal tail which on many kits of the 110 is said to be the wrong span! I have painted and glued in the interior and put the dec on the IP so it is ready to go together, as are the wings now I have added the u/c bay rooves and the radiators.

 

Between the wars several countries looked at the concept of the long range twin engined “heavy” fighter, but the only ones anything like that to get built AFAIK were the Bf 110 and Me 210/410, Westland Whirlwind, Bristol Beaufighter, Lockheed P-38 and Fokker G.1 Reaper, and maybe one or two more, though of course the DH Mosquito also evolved along those lines to a certain extent and its smaller derivative, the Hornet was according to Eric Brown a “real hot rod”.. Hermann Goering liked the idea of the so called Zerstorer and pushed for the Bf 110, creating elite units and transferring some of the best pilots from single seaters, but to some extent it was a mistake, as few if any twin engined planes could hope to match the manoeuvrability of a single engined fighter. Nonetheless, although a bit of a failure at its intended role the 110 went on to become an acceptable night fighter. The 110 was certainly heavily armed and was fast for its day, slightly faster in fact than the Hawker Hurricane, but in a turning fight it was at a marked disadvantage.

 

As to “long range”, well that is a complicated subject as it depends on a number of factors – fuel load, altitude, speed and of course air temperature and prevailing wing strength and direction. In still air the Bf 109E could on paper just about manage 410 miles when flying at the ideal economical speed and altitude, but when forced into close escort of bomber groups it suffered badly, and with a period of full power in combat it could barely get to London before turning back to its bases in France. By comparison and depending on the trade-off between bombload and fuel, the Dornier 17Z could manage perhaps 500 miles and the He 111 and Ju 88 around 1000 miles, so the best range of the Bf 110C on the 1250 litres of internal fuel of only 600 miles was disappointing. When the 110D arrived it initially had the Dackelbauch belly tank – a plywood fairing containing another 1050 litres of fuel and a small tank for more oil and potentially that almost doubled the fuel but I have not been able to find any figures for the range – allowing for the extra weight and drag I would have thought maybe an extra 200 miles at best.

 

Sources vary as to whether or not the tank was jettisonable - most say it was but that it frequently failed to release and was an explosion hazard if it hung up when filled with petrol fumes, citing this as a reason for it being replaced with more normal wing drop tanks, though as I mentioned earlier other sources say it was not too bad, but the work involved switching it for fuselage bomb racks and then back again was too time consuming. Anyway, later models had either small 300L wing drop tanks or else the large 900L drop tanks together with a small droppable extra oil tank under the fuselage behind the wing root.

 

Pete

 

Edited by PeterB
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Maybe one or two others?  Kawasaki Ki.45 plus a number of similar if largely prototype Kawasaki and Mitsubishi types.  Potez 63, plus the later SE.100.  There were several Italian designs - Fiat  FC 20, plus Meridonali and Savoia prototypes.  Gloster F.9/37.  Not, I think, an exhaustive list.  It is something that pretty well every nation designing fighters had a go at.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Graham Boak said:

Maybe one or two others?  Kawasaki Ki.45 plus a number of similar if largely prototype Kawasaki and Mitsubishi types.  Potez 63, plus the later SE.100.  There were several Italian designs - Fiat  FC 20, plus Meridonali and Savoia prototypes.  Gloster F.9/37.  Not, I think, an exhaustive list.  It is something that pretty well every nation designing fighters had a go at.

 

 

Mea Culpa!:banghead: Certainly the Ki-45 and the fighter versions of the  Potez 63 family, but the Fiat was I believe a recce-bomber or ground attack machine and the rest were as you say prototypes or had a very limited production run.

 

Pete

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The Fiat was used for convoy protection flights, which I think covers the heavy fighter role.  The Me210 was originally intended to replace the Ju.87 as well as the Bf.110, but the ability to multi-role seems to be a common feature of the types (dive bombing excepted!).  Having said that, the Pe.2 level and dive bomber started out as a heavy fighter.  The "long range" requirement could be said to rule out some of the options, as not specifically required, but it does tend to fall out of the other requirements. 

 

Most aircraft of WW2 were only prototypes or limited production runs, so the heavy fighter is only representative rather than distinctive.  If you are going to include the Hornet, then it would be wrong to exclude other nations' aircraft developed to the same timescale but which died out because they lost the war.

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Fair enough - I only mentioned the Hornet as an example of one of the very few twin engined planes that seemed able to almost match the performance of a single engined fighter according to Winkle Brown.. A common thread in all his reports on the many aircraft he flew was that they were nearly all underpowered to his mind, but not the Hornet, which was decidedly overpowered according to him and one of his all time favourites.

 

Pete

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Compared with some of the other kits I have been building lately this is a nice simple one and it has gone together rather quickly.

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The fit is good and only needed a tiny bit of filler. According to the scale plans I have it is quite accurate though as mentioned previously the fuselage from the trailing edge back tapers too much making it a fair bit narrower than it should be, but fixing that would be tricky so I won't bother. As the review said the wing tips were not quite right - on the 110 B the tips were rounded but from the C onwards they were cropped, but the kit ones were too "square" so I rounded them slightly. The other complaint was that the wheel legs were too long and indeed they are. It would be easy enough to remove a couple of mil and pin them back together but knowing what I am like at accurate cutting, I thought the risk of having them not quite the same length resulting in it sitting one wing low outweighed the slight inaccuracy in height so again I won't bother, though I will add the missing retraction/support struts which are not provided. The horizontal tail actually seems about right!

 

Besides the undercarriage the only major components left to go on are the engine cowlings and when looking at the sprues I realised I had a possible problem - the exhausts are missing! After a bit of head scratching I remembered that I had "borrowed" them during my first GB back in 2019 when building the Frog Bf 110G. That kit came with two optional versions, a radar equipped day fighter which I had built when it first came out and a heavy day fighter which I decided to build as a "bomber destroyer" with rocket tubes under the wings. Unfortunately Frog only provided one set of exhausts - the night fighter ones with the big shrouds on them and the instructions suggested cutting the individual stacks off and gluing them on one by one for a day fighter - not a very tempting prospect. I therefore bought a replacement resin set.

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When they arrived they looked so fragile I chickened out and used the ones from this kit, so now I have to use the AM resin ones on it instead - could be fun. It would be easier to fit them on the assembled cowlings before gluing them onto the nacelles but then I would have a potential problem getting in to fill and file any joints without breaking the exhausts, so I think I will fit and fettle the cowlings first - access to put the stacks on will be harder but should still be possible - I hope.

 

Incidentally, the kit comes with two options for the tail fairing - long and short. I have used the short ones, but later D,E,and F versions often used the long one which was a housing for a dinghy introduced on the D-3 - presumably because the long range tanks meant that the 110 was sometimes used for long over-water flights as in the Mediterranean theatre, so the risk of ditching was greater.

 

More before too long I expect.

 

Pete

 

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Engine cowlings fitted and cleaned up and exhausts added, I gave it a shot of rattle can primer which revealed no problems so it is time for paint. The exhausts are beautifully moulded but rather fragile but I managed to get them on.

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As most of you will know the exhausts on the day fighter 110's were a little complicated - those on the outboard side of the nacelles were raked up and back and on the inboard they were raked down and back - they are on right, it is just an optical illusion that makes the one nearest the camera look wrong - honest! When I built my batch of 3 Fujimi ones twenty or so years back I must have been looking at the instructions upside-down I suspect as I did get all of them reversed that time!:banghead:

 

Fujimi provide details for 2 C and 2 D models – here are the D's and there are a couple of potential problems!

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First they show the D1/R1 in plain RLM 71 over 65 which is I suppose possible but rather unlikely – photos in a small book I have on planes based in Norway show that they were in the standard two tone splinter pattern though it can at times be difficult to see. The second problem is the decs – M8 is for ZG.76 which is fine – their experience in the invasion of Norway had in part shown the need for more fuel so unsurprisingly some of that unit was based there with the D1 during the Battle of Britain. However I am not happy with the markings to the right of the cross – FA, the individual aircraft letter “F” being in yellow. According to my understanding of the system in force at the time, “A” indicated a plane used by the Geschwader Stab flight, and Stab or Staff flights normally used green for their individual letters, not yellow! Anyway, there was no M8+FA included on the list in the book, so I will go for Werk Nr 3155 M8+CB of Stab I/ZG.76 based at Varnes in 1940 as I have a photo of it. Whether or not it was one of the planes involved in the notorious/disasterous Luftflotte 5 raid on August 15th 1940 I cannot be sure, but it seems a definite possibility as, depending on which source you believe ZG.76 provided an escort of around 21 Bf 110 to the force of over 70 He 111 involved, but more on that next time.

 

Incidentally, looking at the plans in the Revi book I see that they show the D-0, D-1 and D-2 with the option of the "Dachshund's Belly" ventral tank and/or 2 x 900L wing drop tanks. With all 3 tanks fitted that would increase the fuel load from 1250L to about 4000L which sounds like it should result in an impressive increase in range, but I have my doubts as the increase in weight and drag must have been significant. Not only that but it would have been a fair bit slower and must have handled like the proverbial brick! Perhaps it was used that way during long ferry flights but most of time it must surely have been either one or the other, not both.

 

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB
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I have followed the instructions and used Gunze 74/75 for the RLM 70/71 but done what I believe is a rather more accurate splinter pattern. I know some modellers find the Gunze 71 a bit too yellow/olive but I quite like it.

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I was looking at a few other manufacturers take on the colours on this plane and most seem to agree with 70/71, but one, I think it was a Dragon large scale version, has one described as "Norway 1940" in 70/71 and another described as "North Sea 1940" in plain RLM 70 on the uppers! Over the years I have found that the Luftwaffe started using "grey" schemes far earlier than I originally thought, starting with RLM 02 replacing one of the greens and then what would become RLM 74/75 as early as late 1940. Given the terrain in Norway I would think that perhaps the RLM 02/71 might have been used pretty early on.

 

The reference to "North Sea" might be something to do with the well know "bad hair day" that Luftflotte 5 had during the Battle of Britain -

 

During the critical period of the battle many of the aircraft of Luftflotte 5 were based in Norway and Denmark and the distances involved kept them pretty much out of the action but as part of the planning for “Eagle Day” on August 15th 1940 they carried out a couple of raids on Scotland and the North of England. Believing their own intelligence reports perhaps, they thought that the few RAF Squadrons in the North would be well under strength, but as a precaution a diversion was mounted for the raid on Scotland in the form of a number of He 115 floatplanes. The main raid consisted of over 70 He 111 from the Lowen Geschwader, KG.26 with an escort of around 20 Bf 110 from ZG76, both based at Stavanger, but as the distance involved (about 650 miles return trip) was at the limit of the latter's range it is said that they left their rear gunners at home to reduce weight. Lacking the experience of their Southern counterparts, the RAF radar operators underestimated the strength of the raid at 30+ and initially the 13 Group controller initially only scrambled 72 Squadron based at Acklington to meet them. Meanwhile, due to poor navigation the main raid was off course and far too close to the “diversion” and things were about to go drastically wrong.

 

According to book accounts, the Spitfires of 72 Squadron found themselves about 3000ft above the huge enemy formation and turned East to make the attack from “up sun” causing either one of the pilots, or more likely the Ground Controller (sources vary) to ask the acting CO, Squadron Leader Ted Graham if he had not seen them. Unlike Christopher Plummer in the film (assuming it was meant to depict this raid and not the next one - see below) it seems he had a slight stutter when excited and his reply has been quoted in quite a few books - “Of course I've seen the b-b-b-b*stards, I'm trying to w-w-w-work out what to do”! Taking a chance that this was in fact the only genuine raid, the controller had by then also scrambled the Spitfires of 41 Squadron and the Hurricanes of 79 and 605 Squadrons to intercept and the result was 15 German aircraft shot down including 3 of the 110's. Reportedly the 110's, lacking the rear gunner, ended up in a circle to try and defend themselves, and the leader of I/ZG 76, Hauptmann Restemeyer, could not jettison his belly tank and it exploded when hit, killing him. The bombers turned and ran for home.

 

Later that day a formation from Luftflotte 5 of 50 Ju 88 flew unescorted (about 900 miles this time) from Aalborg in Denmark and Leigh Mallory's 12 Group scrambled only 18 fighter for some reason, but they still managed to shoot down 7 and fatally damage 3 more, although, unlike the earlier raid they pressed on and bombed the Bomber Command airfield at Driffield, destroying 10 Whitleys. That seems to have been the end of Luftflotte 5's participation in the Battle, at least from their northern bases. This second raid might be the one depicted in the film as the producers only had "He 111" to play with, and I seem to remember Plummer saying "no escorts" - must dig my DVD out and have a look

 

Cheers

 

Pete

 

Edited by PeterB
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14 hours ago, PeterB said:

must dig my DVD out and have a look

Never a bad time to have a look at this film - the 110 is coming along nicely as well.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I have been a bit busy on other GB but still picking away at this build and now it is ready for the decs.

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Once that is done I will add the various aerials, balance weights, pitot tube and props and it will be ready for a finishing spray of varnish.

 

Pete

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • PeterB changed the title to Messerschmitt Bf 110 D1/R1***FINISHED***

Ok, I am calling this one done and will post in the gallery shortly.

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Not a bad looking plane and a fairly simple kit. The rear of the fuselage is said to taper a bit too much, and I have always thought the spinners were a bit small, but in its day it was probably one of the better 1/72 versions of the 110.

 

Pete

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