Max-Hellmuth Ostermann (11 December 1917 – 9 August 1942) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace during World War II. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. He is credited with 102 enemy aircraft shot down claimed in over 300 combat missions. The majority of his victories were claimed over the Eastern front with eight claims over the Western front and one over Belgrade. Ostermann was of such short height that wooden blocks had to be attached to his rudder pedals for him to engage in tight turning aerial combat.
Ostermann was born in Hamburg on 11 December 1917. He joined the military service of the Luftwaffe in 1937 and was trained as a pilot. After a brief period with Zerstörergeschwader 1 (ZG 1), a heavy fighter unit, he was transferred to Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54). He participated in the Battle of France and Britain before transferring east. He became the sixth fighter pilot in aviation history to achieve 100 aerial victories on the Eastern front for which he was awarded Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern). He was killed in aerial combat with Soviet fighters southeast of Lake Ilmen on 9 August 1942.
Molded in a standard grey plastic, there are four grey sprues and one rather large clear one. It is pretty obvious that Zvezda will be starting a rather large line of later 109 as there are lots of inserts and it starts with a fuselage that is in several parts. There is a center section, a separate tail section, and separate nose section. The nose is so designed so that you can install a full engine, which is included. Not only a full engine, but separate exhaust stubs which means this is a kit for those who like to have everything opened up. Additional pieces are included for a closed cowling option in case you have bought the Zvezda stand and want to do an in-flight option or just do not want to mess with all the engine detail. The cockpit is quite well detailed and includes a pilot figure for those who wish to use it. Two instrument panels are provided, one with raised detailing and the other a flat section on which to place the decal. There is lots of sidewall detail including separate map pocket, radio panel, fuel line, oxygen regulator and other bits.
Moving along, the wheel wells are separate bits made up of several pieces that fit into the wings. There are even two different styles of wing tips, one with larger light lenses than the other. On the underside, there are different lower wing inserts and vent sections for just behind the engine. Of course, ailerons, flaps and slats are separate pieces, as are the rudder and elevators. Even the radiator openings have separate 'lips'. Several different windscreens are provided depending on the markings option chosen.
Where this kit differs is by adding some additional bits to do the upgraded F-4 version. It includes a bunch of ordnance and bomb racks for that ordnance, among them a pallet for four smaller bombs. It also has a sprue that includes under wing cannon pods, as some F-4 versions carried these guns. An additional tail section is also included with the external braces. I found sink areas on the underside of both wing tips as well as near the tail wheel well on both tail sections. These were also near the base of one side of the supercharger intake. A sand filter is provided as well, so those with a lot of North Africa aftermarket sheets will find this useful.
Instructions are very well done with generic and Humbrol paint references. Both markings options are for Ostermann's plane, one in winter wash and the other in standard RLM 74/75/76 paint with the usual yellow Russian Front markings. The decal sheet is well printed and having used Zvezda decals on other models, I can tell you they are opaque and work fairly well. Might want to get aftermarket swastikas unless you like putting together a small, four piece marking.
Judging from all the positive vibe by 109 freaks to the first kit, this one will be just as well received. It seems like Zvezda is doing these in version order with first an F-2 and now an F-4. I would think that next would be a G-2 and on up the chain until all the round wing 109s are covered. As nice as these are, I would really like a nice set of Jumo engine 109s. What we have had are either light on detail (Hobbycraft) or heavy on short run (Classic Airframes). Perhaps Zvezda will be the ones to fill in the gaps.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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