Messerschmitt Me-109 Volume 1


Anis Elbied and Andre Jouineau


Historie and Collections


Scott Van Aken




Since one really cannot have too many Bf-109 books, here is yet another one. This particular book is new to me, but has apparently been published in France. It is part of a series called 'Planes and Pilots', but clearly, this is a 'planes' book.

The 10 x 8 1/2 inch book is card covered and has 84 pages, which in an odd French way, also includes the cover pages. The book is just about all profiles with only a handful of actual photos. The few there are, for the most part, clear and well printed, but there is at least one rather badly pixilated image.

Aircraft covered are from the prototype to the Bf-109F-2, a rather strange inclusion: why not just stop after the last E model? Perhaps they needed to fill 7 more pages, who knows. Though the profiles stop at the F-2, there are tail markings and other reference material for the full run of F models past that.

As I mentioned, this book is full of profiles. They are very well done, but the artist has decided that we need them to have every panel line accentuated as we see in many of today's models. Personally, I can do without this additional 'enhancement' as it detracts from the overall presentation. As with many aspects of this book, the profiles of the prototypes are not 'enhanced' and look, to me, a great deal better than the rest of the book. It also appears that the artist is working from a semi-standard model for his work as all of the Bf-109E-1 profiles have under wing bulges for the cannon where this area should be smooth. I also found his early Jumo 109 renderings to look a bit odd in the nose. It was as if it was too curved on the bottom of the nose with a spinner that was too small. These are just the nit-pickings of your jaded author as the camo schemes on the profiles are really superbly done and should make a great reference for modelers.

Enough on the images. The book itself has a number of very useful sections other than the profiles. First is a page that shows some of the more active bases used by the Jagdwaffe during the Polish and French campaign as well as the Battle of Britain. There is also a page of common maintenance markings as shown on a Bf-109E. This is followed by a couple of pages of wing and group badges. Next are two pages of wing and group markings and colors. The authors use an organization type of chart with pertinent profiles that is quite effective in showing how it all ties in. This is followed by a couple of pages of markings variations and some rudder markings.

The rest of the book is broken down by type. The first section is on prototypes, followed by the Jumo 109s. The 109E section is subdivided into E-1, E-3 and E-4/7. Finally, there is a section on the F that covers basically only the F-2. At the heading of each major section there are profiles showing the different variations and subtypes. Basic camouflage types are also shown in each section heading. These sections are not without glitches. The labeling of camo colors in the E section are not correct for the schemes they show. For instance, the 'late grey' scheme is listed as RLM 40/70 over 65 when it should be RLM 74/75 over 76. Editing should have caught that. Also in the F section, a number of profiles have the fin tips cut off.

The written historical portion of the book is small, but written in English. The translator is a fellow named Alan McKay, but his translation contains a number of very interesting syntax uses. This either means that  English is not his primary language or that the editors did not use him for all the translations. For instance, mottling is referred to in the profiles as 'camouflage', bomb racks are called 'bomb ejectors' and so on. None of this detracts from the write-up, just makes it a bit more unique!  The authors also nearly fell into the trap of the Bf-109D with the Daimler-Benz engine that was part of German propaganda. They list it in the D section, when in reality, the DB.600 powered 109 was really the preproduction Bf-109E-0.

An interesting note on some Jumo 109 camo schemes. The book shows some of the first Bf-109Bs sent to Spain as being painted in RLM 77 over RLM 65. This would definitely account for the lighter grey look of some of the photos of these planes. It is the first 109 book I have that lists RLM 77 for a 109 camo color.

Overall, this is a very useful book and one that will undoubtedly do well amongst 109 enthusiasts and those of us who are real colors and markings fans. Recommended.

Review copy courtesy of  your wiser, but poorer editor.

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