Slipping the Bonds
by George Paterson

 

Bf 109D-1-1.JG2-sva

Introduction

JG.2 was formed on 1.May 1939 out of parts of the former JG.131. Its base was at Doeberitz, a little North of Potsdam and just West of the western suburbs of Berlin. It was equipped with the new Bf 109E, the “Emil”, but some of the earlier “Doras” were also retained.

It is likely that JG.2 was one of the few Geschwader that used “Doras” in the brief Poland campaign in September 1939.

The Initial Image

This is one of Scott's many Bf 109 models, and it was built from the Hobbycraft 1:48 kit. Scott gave a rather mixed assessment of this kit, but in general he found it to be a reasonable rendering; my knowledge of early 109's is minuscule, but for what it's worth I agree with him. I did find that a lot of the smaller details of the engine module were not quite in the right places compared to the profiles I had, though the profiles often don't agree with each other on these Jumo-engined machines.

Treatment of the Image

I went over the details rather thoroughly from nose to tail, clarifying them in many instances, and shifting them to be better in accord with the consensus of my other sources. The canopy is closed on the model, so no reconstruction was needed.

I had some unexpected problems with the tailplane geometry, and I think maybe the starboard tailplane is a bit misaligned; anyway, I adjusted it as best I could.

Once the image was done, I decided to use another of Scott's photos to get a wing-man. I did the selections for it with the same care as on the af1 image, because in due course I may want to use it as the primary airframe in a different composition, but for its present use I made a lot fewer selections of details. I coded it as “White 2”, but selected the outline of the “W3” as well, in case I may want to revert to that in a later image.

These early 109's were often finished in a dark camo, using two very similar colours, Dark Green and Black-Green. I know that modellers have problems with this – many complain that although the demarcation is clear on their model, it is lost in the photos of the model. In this case, I can see some, but not all of the boundaries. Scott kindly sent me a 3-view of the pattern he had used, and I applied it to both the af1 and the af2, shifting the darker areas to be little darker still.

Conclusions

I like these dark early 109's, and I've now made a few pictures of them. I'm planning to do a picture of Alfred Held's E-1, in which he scored the first shoot-down of an RAF bomber over German territory, on 4.September 1939. I'm surprised that nobody has made a picture of this before, at least I haven't seen one.