Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6


Model review

Hasegawa 1/48 JT 48

Box cover and painting guide

Kit
The kit is moulded in grey and and quite hard plastic. Panel lines are sharp and finely engraved. According to many different sources the model has found to be accurate in scale and shape, I think it is the best model of the type in this scale. Tall-tailed Bf 109G-14 can be built strait from the box but the kit includes also all necessary parts to build a tall-tailed Finnish Bf 109G-6. The kit has both canopy types used in Bf 109G, earlier heavily framed and later Erla haube canopy with clear vision (also called Galland canopy). Both canopy types were used in G-6 and G-14 planes. Wing guns (used in G-6), two different type of drop-tanks, two different type of rudders and some other parts which were used in previous Hasegawa's Bf 109 kits are also included.

Construction
Kit's wings are from the previous Hasegawa's Bf 109F kit, this type had round wheel well openings. Constructing guide helps you through the process to cut off some plastic to make the wheel wells right for the Bf 109G. Due to the same reason you also have to scribe two new panel lines on the upper parts of the wings, this is also advised in the construction guide. Bumps on the upper side of the wings for the larger wheels used in G-6 and G-14 planes comes as separate parts. They look right when looked outside. But if you want to look your model from underside the bumps should be engraved hollow. I did this little extra improvement to my model and added also ribs made from stretched sprue to the wheel wells. If you want to depict your model in flaps down there is a notable step on the upper edge of the flaps. On real planes there were no step so it should be removed. It's a few minutes work to file the steps down.

Because I built Finnish tall-tailed G-6 with Erla-haube canopy some changes had to be made to the model. The most visible thing is two external trim tabs of the rudder which have to be removed, Finnish G-6's didn't have them. The kit has two types of gun troughs for the forward cowling. Both types were used in Finnish Bf 109G-6's (parts B1 and E1). I used part E1 on my model, same type of gun trough can be seen in a picture of a tall-tailed G-6 on a book "Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 6". Some pictures of Finnish tall-tailed G-6's shows small trim tabs on horizontal elevators so they (parts G1 and 2) have to make smaller, this is also told in the construction guide. Two small brackets from the left side of the cocpit have to be removed, they were umbrella holdels of Bf 109G's tropical version. Also two hatches between rib number 3 and 4 has to be deleted on the right side of the rear fuselage. Few of the Finnish planes were Bf 109G-6/ Trop which had larger oil-pump, this caused a small bulge and an air scoop to the front of the Mg 131 bulge to the right side of the cowling. The kit includes parts to make this version also. So watch your references!

Cocpit is quite good straight from the box although it might not fulfill the expectations of "cocpit addicts". I'm not any kind of cocpit addict myself and could have used the kit's cocpit in my model if I hadn't purchased an Aires resin cocpit and photo-etched set from Tmi. Kuivalainen's webstore long before. The sidewalls of Aires resin cocpit are 1,5 mm shorter than those of the kit so I had to lengthen the horizontal level ("hat rack") behind the pilots seat in order to prevent a visible threshold between upper part of the pilots seat and the "hat rack". Kit's gunsight is Revi 12 while the G-6 planes had Revi 16 gunsight. I made a new gunsight according the photos I found from internet. Kit's instrument panel was used instead of the Aires PE part. I added a hatch and a horizontal bar which are missing from the kit to the back wall of the cocpit (look "work in progress pictures"). The hatch was made of paper according photographs and it was glued with CA glue. For the first time I used Eduard's pre-painted seat-belts on my model.


Painting and decals
All Finnish Messerschmitts were painted in factory to German three gray sceme RLM 74 / 75 / 76. Cocpits were painted with RLM 66. Yellow Eastern Front markings were painted in Finland, RLM 04 is suitable color. There's a picture of MT-476 in the book "Finnish Air Force 1939 - 1945" by Keskinen and Stenman which I used as a guide when painting my model. In the picture the color line of the Eastern Front markings under the wingtip goes just outside of the national insignia. There's MT-507 in the Central Finland's Aviation Museum which is similarly painted. Landing gear legs, inner sides of the landing gear doors and wheel wells were usually painted with RLM 02 gray. It is possible that some planes had landing gear legs and wheel wells painted with the same light blue gray RLM 76 color than the undersides. I painted my model with XtraColor enamels. It's easy to get smooth and glossy finish with them and the decals can be attached straight without extra layer of clear varnish. I kept my model quite clean and new like because MT-476 was in squadron service only few days before it was destroyed. The model depicts the plane in which Nils "Nipa" Katajainen flew his last sortie (more about Katajainen in history region). The decals I used came from InScale72's AC 010 sheet which is their older production. They were a little thick and the national insignias were out of register. In the sheet you can find many interesting choices to Finnish G-2 and G-6 planes but unfortenately it is out of stock nowadays.

On the decal sheet which comes with the kit there are markings for two German G-14 planes. The white winter camouflaged Eric Hartmann's mount has his famous black tulip painted on it's nose. The other one is III/ JG 7's plane in unusual RLM 75 / 75 / 82 spot scheme.

Summary
The best Bf 109G-6 or G-14 kit in the market today in this scale.


History

Willy Messerschmitt's Bf 109 was the Luftwaffe's benchmark fighter throughout the WW II. It was the mount of the vast majority of the German aces and scored more kills than any other aircraft. Maj. Erich Hartmann was the most sucsesful ace with Bf 109 with 352 kills. The top scorer in the world in all times !

The prototype Bf 109V2 won a fighter desing competition declared by the German Air Ministry (RLM ) in 1936 and was chosen to the premier single-engined fighter for the Luftwaffe. The first production plane Bf 109B-1 "Berta" (341 planes were produced) flew it's first flight in July 1937. 39 B-1's were sent to the Spanish Civil War. In 1938 Bf 109C-1 "Cäsar" (58 planes were produced) and Bf 109D-1 "Dora" (647 planes were produced) models were introduced, they had Junkers Jumo 210 engine as the B-models also did, but the latest versions of it.

The first Bf 109E "Emil" with the new Daimler-Benz DB 600-series engine (1100 hp) and with 3-bladed variable-pitch propeller came in production in the end of 1938. It was armed with two fuselage mounted machine guns and two wing mounted cannons and it became the main fighter of the Luftwaffe for the first few years of the war. Bf 109 B, C, D and E versions took part in the Spanish Civil War with the Legion Condor.

By the beginning of the WW 2 the Luftwaffe had already equipped all it's fighter units (Jagdgeswader JG) with Emils. The greatest test for the Me Bf 109E and for the Luftwaffe was the Battle of Britain in July - September 1940. Bf 109E proved to be better fighter than Hawker Hurricane and it was approximately as good as early Supermarine Spitfire. The worse agility was compensated by better climbing rate and better reliability of the engine wich had direct injection fuel system and had no problems with negative G-forces. The vast majority of the 1172 planes that the RAF Fighter Command lost during the battle were victims of the Bf 109Es. Luftwaffe lost 1792 planes of which 610 were Bf 109E type.

After the Bf 109E next main version during the years 1941 - 42 was the Bf 109F "Fredrik". It was totally re-designed plane and many pilots considered it as the peak of the type's development. It was the main fighter type when Germany attacked to Soviet Union and in African Theatre. In the late summer of 1942 the Bf 109G "Gustav" was introduced in service. It had many subtypes and it was the most produced version of the Bf 109. It was the backbone of the Luftwaffe to the end of the war.

Bf 109K "Kurt" was the final producton version and the second attempt to remove bottlenecks of the production. When the more powerfull DB605D engine entered to serial production an attempt was made to incorporate all the refinements of the G-14 and G-10 into a single model. Externally the K-model was almost similar to G-10. Notable differences compared to G-10 were retractable tailwheel with doors and wheelwell covers for the main wheels. Wider main wheels and the large rectangural upper wing bulges were made standard. The K-4 was armed with two 13 mm MG 131 machine guns and with one 30 mm MK 108 cannon. The jamming problems of the gun were lastly ironed out. The K-4 was the fastest serial produced Bf 109 model achieving the speed of 728 km/h. Deliveries to the Luftwaffe units began in October 1944 and ended in April 1945. In all 700 planes were built.

Bf 109H was a high-altitude fighter which based on F-model and DB 601E engine. It had longer span and GM-1 boosting system. It's maximum speed at 10100 metres was 750 km/h. The type didn't enter serial production. Bf 109T based on E-model and was designed for the German aircraft carrier "Graf Zeppelin" which never materialized. It had longer folding wings and a hook for carrier landings. It had also the ability to use catapult at take-off. When the Graf Zeppelin was cancelled the planes were delivered to the Luftwaffe's land based units. In all 70 pre-production and production machines were manufactured in the years 1939 - 41.



Bf 109 G "Gustav"

The Bf 109G was developed out of the Bf 109F in 1942 around the new Daimler-Benz 1475 hp DB 605 A engine. Dictates of the air war forced the designers sacrifice handling and maneuverability in order to increase maximum speed. Because of the more powerful engine local strengthening was required which increased weight. Wing loading increased and maneuverability decreased little compared to F-model. However the Bf 109G had very good climbing rate and it was very stable gun platform. The Bf 109G was the true workhorse of the Luftwaffe's day fighter units, with over 10 000 planes were built in 10 basic variants. The G-models had the ability to use many different conversion kits, "Rustsatze". The most used of them were R-1 which was a bomb rack for SC 250 bomb, R-2 was a bomb rack for four SC 50 bombs, R-3 was a 300 litres external fueltank, R-5 two MK 108 30 mm cannon gondolas under wings, R-6 two Mg 151/20 20 mm cannon gondolas under wings, R-7 DF-loop antenna. The "Rustsatze's" varied according to the subtypes of the Bf 109G. Here's a short introduction of the subtypes of the Bf 109G and the most important features of them.

Bf 109 G-0
12 pre-procuction planes were fitted with DB601E engine because DB605 was delayed at the end of 1941.

Bf 109 G-1
High altutude fighter with pressurized cocpit and GM-1 nitrous oxide power boost system. In service from May 1942.

Bf 109 G-2
Non-pressurized version without GM-1 boost system. Was in production together with G-1. In service from April 1942.

Bf 109 G-3
Pressurized version. The main wheels and the tail wheel increased in size. A bulge was added to the top of the wings to accommodate the increased main wheel tire size. An external stiffener was added to the tail wheel opening. The tail wheel retraction unit was almost always locked down and fitted with a rubber dust cover.

Bf 109 G-4
The G-4 was identical to the G-3 except that it lacked pressurization. It was widely used in reconnaissance duties. Under the designation G-4 /R2 the engine mounted MG 151/20 was deleted and a camera was installed in the fuselage behind the rear wing root. A 300 litre drop tank was normally carried. G-4 /R6 was the first extensively produced Gustav to use the 20 mm MG 151 /20 cannons in under wing gondolas.

Bf 109 G-5
Pressurized version. The first G-model fitted with 13 mm MG 131 cowling mounted machine guns, thats why it had two bulges in front of the windscreen. The G-5 standardized the new cheaper machined wheels and larger tire sizes introduced in the G-3. A metal plate covering to the tail wheel well was added and a rubber dust cover was fitted to the tail wheel oleo. GM-1 powerboost system became virtually a standard. Way through the production run further refinements were made to the G-5. Short antenna mast and a new pilot armour, which composed of thick armored glass, was introduced. Some late production machines had the tall wooden rudder. Few of the planes were fitted with DB 605AS engine which had enlarged supercharger and longer streamlined engine cover without the typical two bulges. The planes were designated G-5 /AS and they were fitted with the tall wooden rudder. Only few planes were built.

Bf 109 G-6
Non-pressurized version. The only external difference between the G-6 and the G-5 was the small fresh air intake scoop found on either side of the windscreen. The G-6 was the most important and the most produced of all G-versions. In service from the beginning of 1943 until to the end of the war. Early production planes had a tall radio mast and heavily framed canopy, the clear vision "erla haube" canopy (mistakenly called Galland canopy) and short antenna mast was widely used in very late production aircrafts. The tall wooden tail was also widely used on the G-6. Most of the G-6 planes had the direction finder antennas (DF), the round loop antenna behind the canopy, and the IFF antenna (identification friend or foe). To reduce the cooling problems the Me 109G-6/Trop had a larger oil pump and a small air scoop just front of the Mg 131 bulge on the right side of the cowling. Like the G-5 some G-6 aircrafts were fitted with the DB 605AS engine with increased supercharging resulting in the asymetrical "refined" cowling bulges.

Bf 109 G-7, G-9 ja G11
Numbers G-7, G-9 and G-11 were reserved for the pressurized versions which were never produced.

Bf 109 G-8
Photo-reconnaissance fighter equipped with two fuselage mounted cameras and one wing mounted camera in the left wing. The engine mounted MG 151/20 cannon was often deleted.

Bf 109G-12
Dual-place trainer version. The planes were converted from G-2, G-4 and G-6 airframes. The G-12 was not as succesful as hoped and of the 900 G-12 aircraft projected less than 100 were completed.

Bf 109 G-14
The Bf 109G-14 was produced after the G-6 when the G-10 was delayed pending production of the DB 605D engine. To solve the problems and bottlenecks of existing fighter production and to increase the production a special "Jager Stab" Fighter Staff was formed. The G-14 was the result of this committee's first attempt to rationalize the many options and variants of the 109G that were inhibiting maximum production of the aircraft. The G-14 standardized on the tall wooden tail with two external trim tabs and one insert, the "Erla haube" canopy and DB 605AM or AMS engine with MW-50 boost system. Almost all aircraft had the standard wheels and tires (G-6), but a few late-production aircraft had the wider main wheels and tires. The small generator cooling scoop and bulge for the larger oil pump that had appeared on the tropical version of the G-5 and G-6 were standardized on the G-14. The vast majority of G-14 aircraft were produced with the drop tank rack under the designation G-14/R-3. A few reconnaissance G-14 aircraft were built under the designation G-14/R2. Some G-14 aircraft received the DB 605AMS engine and was much more widely used than the earlier types. Its external appearance differed in that it used a new, increased capacity nose oil cooler that resulted in a deep-section cowl covering and the asymetrical "refined" cowling bulges.

Bf 109 G-10
Standards of the airwar had increased and the Bf 109G had became overweight and too slow. In an attempt to increase the speed of the 109G the DB 605D engine was developed. Similar to the DB 605AS the DB 605D's supercharger was increased in size and the compression ratio was increased also. The MW 50 boost was retained and as a result, the G-10 was the fastest of the entire G series. The DB 605D employed the refined cowling, enlarged supercharger intake, deeper oil cooler and wider propeller plades all of which appeared on the G-14 /AS. There were also two bulges on either side of the lower cowling resulting from enlarged oil sumps and camshaft covers. Some production models of the G-10 received wings with the normal size wheel well bulges and tires of the G-6 / G-14 type. These aircraft also had the long shaft, fixed tailwheel and no external trim tabs on the rudder. Other G-10 aircraft received the larger, wider main wheels with the wings having large uppersurface rectangular wheel well bulges. These aircraft had two external, fixed rudder trim tabs and the normal, short fixed tailwheels. The G-10 was issued to the units in early fall 1944.

Bf 109 G-16
The last of all G-versions. Heavily armoured ground-attack plane, never entered production.

Bf 109G in Finland
Finlad acquired from Germany 30 Bf 109G-2 and 129 Bf 109G-6 fighters during 1943 and 1944. The Bf 109G was the only modern fighter in the Finnish Air Force during the Soviet mass offensive on the Karelian Isthmus on June and July of 1944 when Finnish pilots fought against superior number of planes and achieved outstanding number of kills during a short period. The most succesful Finnish ace was ltm. Ilmari "Illu" Juutilainen, achieving 94 kills, of which 59 were scored in Bf 109 Gustavs. He is the hightest-scoring non-German/Austrian pilot of all time and his aircraft were never once hit in aerial combat.


Nils Katajainen - Accident Prone Ace

Written by Ossi Juntunen

Nils Edward "Nipa" Katajainen was born in Helsinki on 31 May 1919. He was interested in aviation since young age. He became a promising glider pilot before the war broke out in 1939. He was drafted and trained into NCO fighter pilot in 1940. As junior Sgt. he was transferred to HLeLv 24 for Brewster training in early 1941. Due to fuel shortage, however, his first flight was delayed until June 1941. Katajainen proved to be a good pilot and he was assigned to the 3. Flight to fly as wingman to Sgt. Lauri Nissinen.

Characteristic to Katajainen's career was the frequency of accidents and damages. In July 1941, before the war broke out, he lost the other undercarriage leg of his BW at takeoff. He successfully landed on one wheel and wingtip, and the mechanics repaired the plane in base in one week.

He scored his first victory on 28 June 1941 over Southern Finland when shooting down one SB-2 bomber. But the bomber gunner managed to damage the engine of his fighter, so that Katajainen had to return to base.

On a reconnaisance flight in October 1941 the enemy AA damaged again the engine of the Brewster so badly that the engine initially stopped in mid-air. By applying pressure in the fuel system with the manual pump and by using the priming pump Katajainen managed to restart the engine. He also was able to maintain enough power to enable the BW limp to base at Mantsi at treetops. During the long slow return flight he developed an aversion for the smell of pine resin: he had been flying so low that the smell of the forest filled the cockpit.

When based at Solomanni, in early 1942 Katajainen took his BW to a test flight after repair. The engine failed at takeoff. "Nipa" turned back, although he did not have enough speed. The BW nosed over at the bumpy landing and the propeller was damaged.

Katajainen also had had successful battles: his score was 13 by August 1942. Then, unexplicably, he was transferred to LeLv 6 to be trained into bomber pilot! LeLv 6 was equipped with war-booty SB-2 bombers used for anti-submarine and maritime reconnaisance duties. His friends in high places started a clandestine campaign to return him back to LeLv24, but he had to fly reconnaisance and anti-submarine patrols with SB-2 planes over the Baltic for six months.

Katajainen was back in LeLv 24 in early 1943. On 6 June 1943 he was wounded in action. Enemy 20 mm shell exploded in the wing of his Brewster above the Gulf of Finland. He was wounded in one leg quite seriously. He managed to return to base, but he was hospitalized for weeks and he was granted recuperation leave for several months. During that time he got married.

"Nipa" Katajainen returned eventually to service and since 27 February 1944 he was in Messerschmitt training. After briefing he took off for his first flight, but at the final of the take-off the fighter engine began to smoke: it was in fire. He was ordered over the radio to make a belly-landing. This he managed to do, and the Me survived. It was found that the engine had been damaged earlier and it happened to fail just when Katajainen was flying.

One week later he had the second try. At takeoff a gust of wind spread a blinding screen of snow on the Me just at takeoff. Katajainen could not see how he drifted a little to the left, and the left wing was caught in the snow bank on the side of the runway. Katajainen had to take off at too low speed. The Me stalled and crashed. The plane was a total loss, but it did not catch fire. Katajainen suffered a concussion of the brain and was grounded for several months.

While recovering, Katajainen received a letter from his squadron pals: there is going to be a lot of action coming. He went to a medical examination and was found fit to fly in June 1944. His third attempt to fly with the Bf 109 was successful.

As replacement Bf 109 planes were supplied, Katajainen continued his string of victories on 21 June 1944. In the next 10 days he shot down 17 enemy planes, making his total score 35. A week later (on 28 June) he was Hans Wind's wingman on his last flight.

On 3 July 1944 Katajainen flew in an enemy AA trap pursuing an Il-2M formation at low altitude. The enemy got a 23 mm hit in the engine cooling system of the "MT-462". With good luck he managed to take the damaged plane over the front and make a belly landing on a field, with glycol boiling in the engine.

Two days later Katajainen's flight was sent to defend Finnish bombers which were attacking enemy ships near Viipuri. Katajainen shot down one Yak-9, but then a 40mm shell fired from a ship exploded in his right wing. There was a jagged hole that a man could put his head through. (According the book "Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 21 - The Flying Knights - [Keskinen, Stenman] a cannon shell was hit at his head armour and almost knocked him out.[ Remark by Jari Juvonen]). The Me was badly damaged in other parts, too. The engine began to smoke and fuel fumes penetrated in the cockpit, making the pilot roggy. He took course to Lappeenranta. Katajainen was half unconscious as he approached the base. He belly landed at a speed of 500 kmh. At the first impact the Me made a 200 m bounce, then another impact, then a 100m bounce. At the third impact the plane cartwheeled, the wings were ripped off first, then the engine. As the wreck of the fighter stopped, ground crews went to see what was left of the pilot. "Nipa" was found alive but unconscious amid the wreckage. He briefly returned to consciousness as he was given first aid and Col.Ltn. Magnusson granted him a decoration. He was flown to a hospital in Mikkeli where he met his friend Hans Wind.

After the war with Soviet Union was over Katajainen was demobilised on 10 November 1944 with the rank of Sr.Sgt.Maj. His total score was 36 victories during 196 missions. In December of 1944 he was granted the Mannerheim Cross.

He was working as civil servant for City of Helsinki until retirement. He died in Helsinki in 1997.


Photos from different stages
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Technical data of Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6

Engine 1475 hp Daimler-Benz DB 605A-1
Dimensions Span 9,92 m; lenght 9,02 m; wing area 16,00 m2
Weights Max. takeoff 3150 kg; empty 2520 kg
Performance Max. speed 620 km/h (at 6000 m)
Armament Fixed armament 1 x 20 mm MG151/20 gun, 2 x 13 mm MG 131 mg
Operational time 1h full power, 1h 20 min cruising speed (internal fuel)
Production 30573 (all versions)

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