Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109E 'Hahn'
($16.95 during 1/2 off sale at www.greatmodels.com )
|Scott Van Aken
|Limited Reissue, 2007
Hans "Assi" Hahn was born 14 April 1914 at Gotha in Thüringen. A talented athlete, he was selected to participate in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin in the Pentathlon. Unfortunately, he had to withdraw due to illness.
Hahn enlisted in the army in 1934 as an officer candidate in the Infantry. In November 1935, Hahn transferred to the Luftwaffe, and underwent pilot training. Leutnant Hahn was then posted to 4./JG 134, based near Dortmund. On 1 November 1937, Hahn was posted as a flying instructor and Staffelführer (flight leader) of 1. Staffel at the new Jagdfliegerschule (fighter flying school) at Werneuchen. Promoted to Oberleutnant on 1 February 1939, at the outbreak of World War II , Hahn was assigned to the newly formed II/JG 2, based at Zerbst, being appointed Staffelkapitän of 4./JG 2 late in 1939.
Hahn claimed his first two victories on 14 May 1940 during the Battle of France; two Hawker Hurricane fighters. Hahn would claim five victories during the Battle of France, before becoming even more successful in the Battle of Britain. After 20 claims by September 1940, Hahn was awarded the Ritterkreuz, promoted to the rank of Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of III/JG 2. Hauptmann Hahn was awarded the Eichenlaub in August 1941 for 41 victories. Hahn shot down a Spitfire on 16 September 1942 to record his 66th victory over the Western Front.
Hahn was then appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II/JG 54 Grünherz, based near Leningrad on the Eastern front, on 1 November 1942. In three months he claimed a further 42 Soviet kills. He recorded his 100th victory on 27 January 1943.
On 21 February 1943, Hahn encountered fighters near Staraya Russa. He shot down a Lavochkin La-5 fighter for his 108th victory before his aircraft received hits in the left wing. Disengaging from combat, Hahn's engine soon began overheating and he force-landed his Bf 109 G-2/R6 in enemy territory. Soviet sources claim Hahn was shot down by Russian ace Starshiy Leytenant Pavel Grazhdanikov (13 victories) of 169 IAP.
Hahn was captured and subsequently made a prisoner of war. Hahn's recalcitrant and forceful personality even in the harsh Soviet regime of a prison camp meant he was held captive by the Soviet Union until 1950. After his release Hahn worked at the International Corporation of Bayer Leverkusen. He later became a director of Wano Schwarzpulver Company, which manufactured gunpowder, at Kunigunde near Goslar. He retired in 1977 and lived in southern France. Hahn died on 18 December 1982 in Munich.
Hahn was credited with 108 victories in some 560 missions. He recorded 66 victories over the Western Front, of which 53 were Spitfires. Of the 42 victories he recorded over the Eastern front, at least seven were Il-2 Sturmovik ground-attack aircraft.
As you might guess, an old friend to many of us and totally unchanged since the initial boxing of the 'fixed' version. What I find particularly impressive is that the molds seem just as crisp and fresh as when it first came out. The initial run of 109Es had some problems around the nose section, but since fixing it was easy (in other words, material could be removed from the existing mold to do so), the glitch was fixed after only a few production runs. As a word to the wise, those 109E kits whose series number starts with a J instead of Jt or a five digit number, are those to avoid.
The kit has held up well over the ages and for many is preferable to the Tamiya 109E kit that some will tell you has overdone surface detailing. I know that I have built both and find both to be enjoyable builds. The kit includes a nicely done cockpit, comes with both types of windscreen and canopy, and has bombs, drop tank and rack that are not used in any of the decal options. The Bf-109E-7 was built from the start to handle the drop tank and bomb, while bomb carrying abilities were retrofitted into many earlier versions of the E used for fighter bomber work. These have a B in the designation (E-1/B, E-3/B, E-4/B). Some E-3/4 versions were rebuilt as E-7s. The only reason I'm going over all this is that with the bits in the box, one can do an E-3/4/7 version if desired.
The kit comes with photo etch that is used for the head armor and oil, coolant radiators. Not all 109Es had the small splitter in the nose oil radiator so check your references. The kit also provided the option to paint the instrument panel and detail the raised parts or use a decal. In my experience, the decal will fit over the instruments quite well. The kit has separate slats and flaps, but are designed to be built in the closed position. A tiny bit of work will allow these to be deployed.
The Gunze referenced painting and decal guide provides markings for three planes. One is his September 1939 mount as shown on the box art with camo in RLM 70/71/65. This is a Bf-109E-3 without the heavier framed canopy and windscreen. The other two are 109E-4s with the later windscreen/canopy. Both of these have yellow noses and rudders. One while with III./JG2 in France during the fall of 1940 and the other while with I./JG 3 around the same time. I'll let others determine whether the decal info or the history provided is correct as there are some differences. Hasegawa seems to think he was with JG 3 a couple of times where it seems from the history that he was with JG 2 for this entire period. I tend not to believe Hasegawa as their research into units has proven faulty in the past. Those later planes were painted in RLM 7/02/65. The decal sheet is quite well done and any of the schemes will look good.
So there you have it. A still nice kit that makes into a great model with some interesting camo schemes to go along with it. Plus it is a 109.
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