The Bf-109E-3 was the first sub-type of Messerschmitt’s fighter to receive the DB 601 engine. Ourside of the powerplant and cooling system, which included radiators under each inboard wing, the airframe of the Bf-109E-3 was modified to allow mounting of a 20mm MG-FF cannon in the outer wing in the position previously used by the 7.72mm machine gun of the E-1. Originally issued to flight leaders with their wingmen flying the machine-gun armed E-1, the E-3 rapidly spread throughout the Jagdwaffe and was the primary sub-type in service by the time of the German offensive in the West and was also widely used in the Battle of Britain.
The top scoring jagdflieger of the Condor Squadron in the Spanish Civil War, Werner Mölders was posted to command 1./JG 53 following his return to Germany. On September 26, 1939, JG 53 was ordered to form its III. Gruppe. Mölders relinquished command of 1./JG 53 to Oberleutnant Hans-Karl Mayer and formed III./JG 53 at Wiesbaden–Erbenheim; within two weeks, Gruppenkommandeur Mölders reported the Gruppe was conditionally operational with 40 pilots and 48 aircraft.
By the time the Phoney War ended and the invasion of France and the Low Countries (Fall Gelb) began on May 10, 1940, Mölders' tally of aerial victories on the Western Front had increased to nine. On May 14, Mölders was shot down over Sedan, but bailed out safely. He claimed his 19th and 20th victories - two Hawk 75s - on May 27. He was the first fighter pilot to be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht propaganda radio report on May 29, the first of 11 such mentions.
On June 5, on his 133rd sortie of the war, Mölders was shot down in his Bf 109 E-4 while engaged with French Air Force Dewoitine D.520s near Compiègne. He was captured by French soldiers and became a POW but was liberated three weeks later after the Armistice. His victor was Sous lieutenant René Pomier Layrargues from Groupe de Chasse II/7, who was shot down and killed just after downing Mölders.
Mölders returned to Germany and was promoted to Major. He was promoted to Kommodore of JG 51, which he led in the Battle of France and later in Operation Barbarossa before being promoted to General der Jagdflieger in August 1941.
Wingsy Kits has released a very good series of 1/48 A5M Claude fighters, and the Ki-51 Sonia. This Bf 109E-3 is thesecond of a series of Bf-109Es and was released last August. Given current events, Ukrainian model companies are unlikely to be releasing more kits, so this may be the last we see of the Wingsy kit for the foreseeable future.
The kit has superb surface detail, and is the only Bf-109E kit that is completely dimensionally correct other than the Airfix Bf 109E kits. This is a high end limited run kit, on a par with kits from Dora Wings, Modelsvit and AMG. In terms of final look, it is thoroughly competitive with anything from Eduard. The kit provides markings for four Bf 109E-3s.
I particularly like the fabric control surfaces. Some have said these parts are blank – that’s not accurate, If you hold them under the light, you can see verrryyy subtle “hills and valleys,” the way a fabric covered surface really is!
I started with the cockpit and prepainted everything before removing any parts from the sprue. The kit has decals that snuggle right down on the injection-molded instrument panel, which is in two parts as it should be.
Proceeding to the wing, unmodified the kit results in a model with the flaps raised. However, it was easy to trim the main lower flap hinge at the outer edge of the radiators, which will allow the flap to be positioned down. I also drooped the ailerons the slight bit they were in the landing configuration. The leading edge slats are really good – there is no “ledge” there and the wing looks correct. This is the only 109 kit that does this.
I substituted an Eduard prop that I think is more accurate in shape than that provided in the kit.
There are no assembly problems with this kit. Everything goes together without the slightest problem. In fact, I would go so far as to say that in terms of production design and production quality, this beats Tamiya and Eduard can feel a hot breath on their neck.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
I painted the scheme for Mölders Bf-109E-3 flown during the Battle of France when he was Gruppenkommandeur of IIII/JG 53. This was the period when the Jagdwaffe was experimenting with camouflage that was more appropriate for combat conditions than the previous “high side” 70/71/65 or 71/02/65 schemes. Originally painted in 71/02/65 in the “high side” scheme, the fuselage sides were overpainted with a “wash” of RLM 02 to tone down the bright blue, while RLM 02 was also painted over the upper surfaces of the wings and horizontal stabilizer to lighten the colors for aerial combat. This was performed at the unit level.
I did this by first painting the model in the “high-side” earlier scheme, then applying RLM 02 in accordance with photos of the airplane. I used decals from a Tamiya Bf-109E-3 kit for the Gruppenkommandeur and Gruppe markings, with the rest coming from the kit.
I applied exhaust staining to the side of the fuselage and oil stains to the lower surfaces, then attached the landing gear and unmasked the canopy which I installed in the open position.
This is definitely the best Bf 109E, for detail, accuracy, and buildability. The surface detail rivals Eduard’s best. Overall assembly is easy – this would be a kit I could recommend to anyone returning to the hobby after a long layoff, or anyone new to the hobby. Follow the instructions and success is guaranteed. This really is a “weekender.”
17 March 2022 Copyright
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