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Oberleutnant Helmut Rau was the Staffelkapitan of 3/JG3, based at Colembert in the Pas-De-Calais.

While with Stab I/JG3, he had gained four victories in the Battle of France; A Morane on the 13th May, Two Curtiss Hawk 75s on the following day and a Wellington on the 29th May. On August 24, he took over as Staffelkapitan of 3/JG3.

Ronald Berry was born on 3 May 1917 in Hull. He worked for Hull’s City Corporation Treasury Department and joined the RAFVR in 1937. He was called up in June 1939, shortly before the outbreak of war. He was posted as a sergeant pilot to 603 Squadron at Turnhouse flying Spitfires and was commissioned in December of that year.

No 603 Sqn carried out defensive patrols over Scotland, gaining a number of victories. Finally, on 27 August 1940, the squadron moved to Hornchurch near London, as part 11 Group right in the thick of the Battle of Britain.

Berry was to claim 9 kills during the battle and a total of 17 during the war. He remained with the RAF after the war and served as the CO of the AFDU and 543 Sqn, flying Valiants. He retired in 1969 with the rank of Air Commodore. Ronald Berry passed away on the 13 August 2000.

On Saturday, 31 August 1940, Hornchurch took a battering. The station was bombed heavily in the afternoon while 54 Sqn were taking off. One bomb detonated between three aircraft that were taking off. One, X4236, was piloted by Al Deere. All three aircraft were destroyed, but all three pilots were uninjured and were in action again the following day.

The station was again attacked in the evening. This time 603 Sqn were up and ready for the raiders. Richard Hillary and Peter Pease downed a Bf110 each. Brian Carbury claimed a Bf109 on this sortie, which made a grand total of five for the day. However, Carbury’s aircraft was hit by cannon fire, wounding him. He managed to land safely at Hornchurch.

Helmut Rau was flying top cover for the raid at 30,000 ft when they were attacked from behind by Spitfires of 603 Sqn. Rau attempted to climb away from the attack, but saw that his wingman was in trouble. As he dived to engage the attacking Spitfire, he himself was hit.

Because of an unserviceability with his aircraft, Ronald Berry had not stayed with the rest of his unit. However, his chance came when the dogfight above him came down to his altitude. His combat report said:

As I had no oxygen, I had to leave the squadron at 22,000 feet and waited below in the sun for straggling enemy aircraft. After patrolling for 30 minutes, I saw a Me109 proceeding very fast. To overhaul him I had to press the emergency boost - indicated speed - 345. I caught the enemy aircraft off Shoeburyness. I opened fire at close range and fired all my ammunition until the enemy aircraft streamed with smoke and pancaked on the mud at Shoeburyness.

Rau managed to make a forced landing on the mudflats and walked away unharmed from his aircraft. Berry made a low pass over the downed aircraft to confirm the kill and saw a defiant Rau stood on the sand, shaking his fist angrily. Rau was taken prisoner and spent the remainder of the war as a POW.

Spitfire Ia, R6626 was ordered as part of Contract No. B19713/39, built at Eastleigh. The constructor’s number was 715. It cost £4,250.

Its first flight was on 23 May 1940, flown by George Pickering Two days later it was delivered to 12MU and placed in storage. Issued to 603 Sqn on 20 July, it received the codes XT-V but was later coded XT-Y.

It was transferred to 266 Sqn on 20 October and later to 111 Sqn on 11 April 1941, where it was damaged on operations on 16 April and repaired on the unit. On the 17 June 1941, it was transferred to 58 OTU where it remained for a year. It was received by Scottish Aviation Ltd on 4 June 1942, presumably for mods and then issued to the PRU at Benson on 24 September, where it remained until withdrawn from use on 10 August 1943. Placed in storage at 222 MU, it was sold to Portugal. Embarked on the SS Empire Rhodes on 14 August, it arrived in Portugal on 29 August.

Little is known of Bf-109E-4 Werk nummer 1082 besides the fact that it was barely six weeks old when it was shot down. It was recovered from Shoeburyness and was used in a fund raising tour. In the photo below, it is shown on display in Bolton, Lancashire. The aircraft has three kill markings on the tail. This does not match Rau’s record so I assume that they represent the kills made by the aircraft.


My build will be a “Dogfight Double” (with apologies to Airfix), depicting both Berry and Rau’s aircraft. The Spitfire will duplicate Mish’s build in this GB. However, mine will depict the aircraft on the deck just before the fateful mission.

The Spitfire will be the 1/48 Tamiya kit, with resin from Ultracast and photoetch from Eduard. The Bf-109 will be the 1/48 Airfix kit, with resin from Quickboost and SBS Model and photoetch from Eduard.

Decals are from the superb Southern Expo sheet, courtesy of Baggers. The sheet also has decals to depict both Al Deere and Brian Carbury’s aircraft mentioned above. Profiles from the Southern Expo instruction sheet used with permission.



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This sounds like a great project.....an interesting bit of history...



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Here we go with the sprue shots. Has anyone not actually seen these kits? :analintruder:

I haven't included any shots of the transparencies, 'cos they turned out to be bobbins!






You may notice the edge of the Spitfire box is severely faded. It's been in my stash for quite some time.




I know that the PE is intended for the Tamiya kit. I'll find a way to make it fit...

There are better sprue shots than I can do, plus an excellent review here.

And finally, the superb Southern Expo decal sheet.


This is the decal equivalent of Pokemon. Gotta build 'em all! :)

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Okay, the first order of business on the Bf-109 is to get rid of the ejection pin marks in the cockpit and wheel wells. I've highlighted then with paint. The aft marks in the cockpit aren't as high a priority as they are mostly concealed by the cockpit floor and rear wall.


With the Spitfire, I added a couple of PE panels from the Eduard set


Lovely resin! The Spitfire seat is by Ultracast. I chose one without seatbelts as I want to use the Eduard PE belts. The 109 seat is by SBS Model. Again chosen because I want to use Eduard belts. The Airfix seat looks pretty accurate but it has belts moulded on and I'm too lazy to sand them off! :analintruder:


The cockpit parts of both kits showing the basic paint. The Spitfire has Xtracrylix XA1010 Aircraft Grey/Green while the 109 uses Lifecolor UA504 RLM02 with a floor from Xtracrylix XA1206 RLM66.

I'm using the Eduard PE cockpit armour in the Spitfire.


Next up, detail painting of the cockpits. Not too much weathering as both aircraft were fairly new at the time.

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Basic painting of the cockpits complete. The rear fuselage of the Spitfie is painted with Games Workshop Chainmail using a hairy stick. The interiot detail was highlighted with Tamiya X-19 Smoke.


Everything was then given a couple of thin coats of matt varnish.

The varnish I use is Klear, to which I have added a number of jars of Tamiya flat base. It ends up as an opaque, sludgy looking concoction, but gives a nice matt finish. If you want a satin finish, simply add less flat base.


Next up, seatbelts and instrument panels to be added from the PE sets.

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Cockpits almost finished. There are some shiny bits but they will be taken care of by a final coat of matt varnish. Hopefully tomorrow I can get the cockpits installed and the fuselages assembled.

Control columns are conspicuous by their absence. That's deliberate. I pack the cockpits with tissue paper when I spray. I've lost a number of control colums that way, so they go in towards the end of the build.

Incidentally, the bottle thingy on the starboard side of the 109 is taken from a Tamiya kit. The airfix equivalent is half the size. Odd.




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Okay, I'm calling it a day on these cockpits. Time to close 'em up.

Note that the rear framework on the Spitfire will be installed from underneath when the fuselage is together. Hopefully the seat harness will reach it. If not, I'll have to investigate using some Tamiya masking tape to extend it. Gunsights will go in just before the canopies.

So here they are in horrifically cruel close-up.







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Fantastic work there Enzo, two very lovely cockpits. I'm taking tips for my Bf109 thats sat across the room giving me looks.

And MaltaDefender, I'm in awe at some of the work going on here too, but I still think we can all contribute with our own way with our builds and little bits of BoB history, and still all have a good time :) In otherwords, don't worry!

Fantastic work there Enzo, two very lovely cockpits. I'm taking tips for my Bf109 thats sat across the room giving me looks.

And MaltaDefender, I'm in awe at some of the work going on here too, but I still think we can all contribute with our own way with our builds and little bits of BoB history, and still all have a good time :) In otherwords, don't worry!

Fantastic work there Enzo, two very lovely cockpits. I'm taking tips for my Bf109 thats sat across the room giving me looks.

And MaltaDefender, I'm in awe at some of the work going on here too, but I still think we can all contribute with our own way with our builds and little bits of BoB history, and still all have a good time :) In otherwords, don't worry!

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:banghead: haha oops! page wasn't refreshing, or at least I thought it wasn't! or maybe it was a cunning plan to get a higher post count?

or maybe I think your models are thrice good?

Who knows? I surely dont!

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I'm feeling mildly ashamed about being in the same GB


I really hope that what I'm going to say doesn't make me sound like a patronising jerk... but I don't think I've done anything out of the ordinary here. I have absolutely no artistic talent at all. My builds are all technique, care, patience and time. Mostly time... 'cos I tend to build very slowly, as my Hellcat build in the Whatif GB proves. :)

The instrument panels look good, but that's down to Mr Eduard. I just simply cut 'em out and stuck 'em on. Okay, I wielded a bit of wet and dry to get rid of the moulded on instruments - I'm quite good at getting rid of detail. Not quite so good at restoring it. :analintruder: Besides, if you look closely, you can see some etch tags that I didn't remove completely. Next time I'll take more care.

Technique is quite important, but once I've found a technique that suits me, I just rehash it over and over again. I rarely spray anything freehand - I use a mask whenever possible. That's all technique rather than talent.

As I've said, I work slowly. If I'm doing detail work, I can't seem to do much more than five minutes work at a time. So, I tend to watch a programme on the telly and every twenty minutes or so I put it on pause, dash upstairs and have a five minute detail frenzy. If things aren't going quite as well as I'd like, I put it to one side for a day. I always have a number of builds going at the same time. They are staggered so I can always say "And now for something completely different" if I get bogged down.

The final thing I do is to step outside my comfort zone every now and again. These two builds are sort of smack dab in the middle of my comfort zone, so they are not really challenging me - I'm having a lot of fun instead. However, I have a build planned for the Blitzkreig GB that will take me out of the zone. I'm looking forward to that.

Never, ever let anyone's builds on BM (or anywhere else) intimidate you. Certainly do not let mine do so. Remember, all I have is technique, care, patience and time. The same as everyone else.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Spitfire, assembled and primed.


Bf109, assembled and partly primed.


Both kits went together like a dream. The next stage is to add the canopies and mask them. I hate masking canopies. It can take me days. Weeks...

Hopefully I'll be painting them next weekend.

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