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Odd Bedfellows - A Romanian Bf.109E-3 and Hurricane Mk.I


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53341222576_a4c65c82e8_h.jpg404175609_10161127860529437_7868004904093265327_n by Evan Bailly, on Flickr

 

Prior to WWII, Romania found itself reeling against an expansionist Soviet Union and reached out to anyone willing to help stem the growing tide of Communism in Eastern Europe. Both England and Germany were keen to oblige, they were equally opposed to Communist expansion and eager for defense exports. Without a viable domestic fighter, in 1939 the Royal Romanian Air Force ordered 50 each of what were then considered the best available fighters from both of these suitors: the Messerschmitt Bf.109E and the Hawker Hurricane Mk.I

 

The Romanian 7th Grupul Vanatoare (Fighter Group) is quite possibly the only single unit to have been equipped with Hurricanes and Bf.109s as standard at the same time. The Messerschmitts were assigned to the group’s 57th Squadron, emblazoned with a Donald Duck mascot, and the Hurricanes went to the group’s 53rd Squadron, a Mickey Mouse mascot presiding.

 

Only 12 Hurricanes arrived from England before Romania officially joined the Axis powers in late 1939, but the squadron was filled out with Yugoslavian Hurricanes after the invasion of that country. The Messerschmitts were similarly slow to arrive, only about a dozen had arrived by the time the invasion of Poland delayed exports from Germany. However, all 50 of the Bf.109E-3a fighters had been delivered by the time the 7th Group was set to participate in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the USSR in 1941.

In what Romania called “the Crusade Against Communism” both the Emils and Hurricanes proved successful, both types racked up kills over the Eastern Front’s southern sector. Both these small fleets would last for more than two years, in 1943 the Bf.109Es would start to be replaced by new G models and the Hurricanes would phase out in favor of Romania’s only domestic fighter of the war: the IAR 80.

 

53340337407_35a908ccd4_h.jpg404002660_10161127860494437_8518800263754336755_n by Evan Bailly, on Flickr

 

My models, both in 1/72 scale, are Arma’s excellent Hurricane Mk.I and Tamiya’s expectedly pleasant Bf.109E-3. Both were built largely from the box, a few bits of photoetch such as seatbelts and some scratch details like fine wire brake lines found their way into the builds. Both utilized aftermarket decal sets, the Hurricane’s from Kits World, and the Emil’s from Print Scale. Oddly, the latter did not include the prominent Donald Duck mascots, so I ended up buying a kit from AZ that did have them, I plan on using that kit to build a Yugoslavian Emil in the future. Paints on both are mostly AK real colors, and both kits built beautifully and without any fuss.

 

53341675185_3a6fd0c713_h.jpg404024915_10161127860574437_7291387672055969402_n by Evan Bailly, on Flickr

 

53341443203_791bdd9f7a_h.jpg403986709_10161127860584437_6310463299883284104_n by Evan Bailly, on Flickr

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