Slipping the Bonds
by George Paterson
The final production version of the Bf 109 was not the G-14 or the K-4, but the Bf 109-G-10, examples of which were still being delivered in the last few weeks of the War. Post-war production of derivative aircraft in Czechoslovakia and Spain only added a few hundred aircraft to the total German production of around 35,000.
In an effort to improve the streamlining of these last three Luftwaffe versions, two different types of cowling were designed for the forward fuselage. The more common type gave a wider upper fuselage ahead of the canopy, the widening tapering away again more or less in line with the gun muzzles. This eliminated the need for the “Beulen” on the upper cowling. However, some engine options (DB 605D) necessitated the use of a bigger oil cooler, so a new bulge was needed below the front of the exhaust stack. Erla designed a cowling that was wide enough to avoid this bulge as well.
The Initial Image
This model by Scott van Aken is based on the 1:32 Hasegawa G-14 kit which he has adapted to portray a G-10 with the Erla cowling. The cowling widens the fuselage over its full depth, starting from a vertical panel joint just below the windscreen, and the width is maintained almost to the spinner. As a result, the engine bay's appearance looks more like a G-2; of course, the tall fin and several other details belie this impression.
Scott's text gives a detailed explanation of the whys and wherefores of this uncommon cowling – it's all rather complicated!
The quality of the image is up to Scott's normal standard, so I will not have any problems.
Treatment of the Image
This is not Scott's headline image, and so it's a bit smaller, at 600 x 263 pixels. Therefore I knew I would need to reinforce many of the panel lines and other details. But first of all I set about closing the canopy, retracting the main gear, and reconstructing the areas where the gear obscured the radiator and flap on the starboard side. The panel lines etc. caused no problems, but I had to be careful that the frame lines on the rear fuselage had curvatures consistent with the decor.
I pasted the airframe image onto a bright skyscape background, and the image was finished. However, I decided to add, as a secondary airframe, a picture of another JG300 G-10, which also had the Erla cowling. It is marked as “Green 7”. The RV (Reichsverteidigung) bands on both aircraft are blue/white/blue, which marked JG300 aircraft until January 1945, when it was changed to a monochrome red band.
Before I made this image I was vaguely aware that there was more than one type of cladding for the engine modules of these late 109's, but the topic is now much clearer to me.
By the way, my “Green 7” appears as a small detail in the present picture, but it is the central feature of another picture that I've made. My work on it was more troublesome than on Scott's G-10, but that's another story.
Watch this space!