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"The Star of Africa" - Hans-Joachim Marseille's Do-335 A-2/Trop - Yellow 14 - FINISHED!


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Its late 1944, and Hitler's Luftwaffe has been hard at work defending the father-land.......................


Nearly 4  years earlier in the war, Hitler almost made a costly decision to try to get the newly designed Me-262 Swallow into combat as a bomber, which would have delayed its debut into front line service.
Fortunately for the Luftwaffe, Hitler's top generals and advisers convinced him to press the 262 into service as a fighter as fast as they could, to help crush the Allies in the air.  Hitler's fateful decision to press new factories into service all across occupied Europe,  in hidden underground and out of reach facilities made all the difference.  The Me-262 significantly impacted the air-war over Germany, as it was 100Mph faster than anything the Allies had, and after 2 and 1/2 years of uninterrupted front line service, the 262 along with other newly designed fighters were starting to turn the tide.
This gave Germany the time it needed to fortify its defenses and start pressing home offensive attacks on the bombers over their homeland. Hitler's concealed underground bunkers, machine shops and assembly plants, separated all across Europe to produce and assemble his new secret Luftwaffe Jagdwaffe weapons for defense of the home-land, had now been fully ramping up for more than 2 years.  Most factories that produced Hitler's so called new "Wonder weapons" were now fully operational  and producing substantial quantities of these new weapons.


Along with the Me-262, the new Do-335 "Arrow" had been made a priority as part of Hitler's developing Jagdwaffe program, as well as a host of other fighters back in the 1941 after much prodding from his subordinates indicating if Hitler wanted to win the war, he was going to have to match the allies numbers in the air..

After years of production across many different occupied countries, the numbers were starting to catch up to the Allies, including the Allied forces in the deserts of Africa.

 Multiple Do-335 manufacturing lines were established at the Mittelwerk factory in the Kohnstein located in Thuringia, Germany (along with one other airframe) to make sure production was un-interrupted by the Allied bombing. Do-335 assembly and production commenced in earnest in 1941 established by forced labor, and by 1944 had ramped up significantly, and was producing Do-335 Arrows at an alarming rate, sending them to all available fronts for ground attack, front line fighter, fighter bomber, and night fighter service.

This included the Luftwaffe's JG 27 attempting to crush the British desert air force in Africa....................



Hans-Joachim Walter Rudolf Siegfried Marseille  (or Jochen to his friends) was transferred to JG 27 on Christmas eve day 1940, as they were preparing to invade Yugoslavia.

By April 10th 1941, the Africa campaign was coming along very nicely and the Afrika Korps were pushing the British back at almost every turn. Hitler deployed Jagdgeschwader 27 to North Africa, based in Tripoli to help crush the British Desert Army.

Jochen was a self-taught natural pilot, and was an ace by American standards before even getting transferred to GJ 27 in 1940.

 Jochen's new Gruppenkommandeur, Eduard Neumann, later recalled, "His hair was too long and he brought with him a list of disciplinary punishments as long as your arm. He was tempestuous, temperamental and unruly." Nevertheless, Neumann quickly recognized Marseille's potential as a pilot.

 Marseilles aerial victories in the Africa campaign quickly mounted after he created a unique self-training program for himself, both physical and tactical, which resulted not only in outstanding situational awareness, marksmanship and confident control of the aircraft, but also in a unique attack tactic that preferred a high angle deflection shooting attack and shooting at the target's front from the side, instead of the common method of chasing an aircraft and shooting at it directly from behind.


By mid December 1941 as Hitler's forces continued to roll across Africa, Jochen had reached 30 victories and was awarded the German Cross in Gold flying his Bf-109E Trop. His Staffel was rotated to Germany in November/December 1941 to convert from his Bf-109E to the Bf 109F-4/trop, the variant that was described as the Experten (experts) "mount."

On 3 June 1942,  after returning to Africa Marseille attacked alone a formation of 16 Curtiss P-40fighters and shot down six aircraft of No. 5 Squadron SAAF, five of them in six minutes, including three aces: Robin Pare (six victories), Cecil Golding (6.5 victories) and Andre Botha (five victories). This success inflated his score further, recording his 75–80th victories. Marseille was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves on 6 June 1942. By this time Romel and the Luftwaffe in Africa had pushed the Allies all the way to the middle of the continent, and threatened to push them out of the Mediterranean completely.


On 17 June 1942, Marseille claimed his 100th aerial victory. He was the 21st  Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark by that time in the war. Marseille then returned to Germany for two months leave and the following day was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.

On 1 September 1942, returning to combat duties after some personal time in Italy, Jochen had his most successful day, claiming to destroy 17 Allied aircraft (nos. 105–121), and September would see him claim 54 victories, his most productive month.

The 17 aircraft claimed included eight in 10 minutes; as a result of this feat, he was presented with a Volkswagen Kübelwagen by a Regia Aeronautica squadron, on which his Italian comrades had painted "Otto" (Italianlanguage: Otto = eight).  This was the most aircraft from Western Allied air forces shot down by a single pilot in one day. Only one pilot, Emil "Bully" Lang, on 4 November 1943, would better this score, against the Soviet Air Force on the Eastern Front.


In December 1942  Marseille and his Staffel were once again transferred to Germany, this time to convert to the new Do-335 Arrow A-2/Trop variant. This was the fastest hardest hitting airframe Marseille's  Staffel had yet flown.  This variant was capable of ground attack, fighter bomber as well as air superiority rolls, along with night fighter roles.

The Do-335 A-2 Trop was a single seat fighter-bomber variant equipped with a new weapon aiming systems, enlarged DB603M engines, longer/ reinforced wings for excellent low & high level performance and strength, tropical dust filters for the newly redesigned DB603M engines, as well as an upgraded cooling system for the rear engine to cope with the intense tropical heat. The Do-335 Arrow A-2/Trop variant was also equipped with a tropical umbrella holder for pilot comfort /shade from direct sun while on the ground, that tended to heat up the cockpit interior to upwards of 40c without shade protection. The A-2/Trop variant was also equipped with ETC 70 or 71 bomb rack wing pylons that were capable of carrying the newly resigned and now much more accurate wire guided X-4 "Ruhrstahl"  missiles, or drop tanks or 114 kg bombs. The goal was to equip JG 27 to push the Allies completely off the African continent.


 After returning to Africa in mid February 1943, Marseille's Staffel was transferred to a new base equipped for the Do-335s at Martuba/Libya. The Staffel was  fully equipped and  the new Do-335 Trops were up and operational by the end of February.  The new aircraft started taking an almost immediate toll on the British Desert Army.

 Marseille had been flying his  Bf 109F-4 "Yellow 14"  for more than 2 years and loved the quick and light  handing of the 109, but found the new Arrow to be exceptionally fast and extremely agile for its immense size. Its speed was a substantial leap over any allied aircraft in the theater. 

 On March 30th 1943 Hans-Joachim Marseille got his 200th kill, a British Tempest V, shot down as it was straggling back to base low on fuel, which by now was becoming an issue for the Allies in Africa. 

On April 2nd 1943 Marseille had his lone close call in his new Do0335 A-2.

After a bomber interdiction mission in which he racked up a bomber kill and one escort fighter kill, he broke away from the pack to do a low level sweep of the desert floor, putting his exceptionally keep eyesight to use, spotting a small convoy of Allied soft sided vehicles. Upon seeing seeing Marseille's Do-335 dive on them the convoy scattered, as Marseille dived on them unloading the last of his canon ammunition.  Although fully out of ammunition Marseille pulled up, and put the big push/puller into an Immelman, for one last diving attack to break up the convoy, even though he was out of ammunitionAs Marseille pulled out from this last dive, he heard a loud "thunk" come from the outside of his windscreen, as if someone had thown a large stone at it. Marseille's windscreen was spider cracked on the port side emanating from one of the windscreen braces.  After landing Marseille discovered that someone on the ground had gotten in a lucky shot, as a single bullet from a small caliber Carbine that ricocheted off of his port windscreen cracking it slightly but not penetrating the cockpit. 


In mid April, in honor of his 200th kill Marseille was allowed to pay tribute to the first days of JG-27 in Africa, and had his new Do-335 A-2 Trop painted in the "leopard spot" scheme JG-27 used in 1941 when the fighter wing was first transferred to Africa.

Marseille had been flying his Bf 109F-4 "Yellow 14" immediately prior to getting transitioned to the new Do-335 A-2, so he transitioned to "Yellow 14" for his new mount keeping the 14 Staffel designation.  Marseille had the twin rudders on his new mount painted white to reflect his immense kill scores. Marseille also had the word "Otto" painted in black on the port side of the cockpit of his Do-335, in reference to his Italian comrades and his eight kills in 10 minutes back in 1942.  By the summer of 1943, the Luftwaffe had perfected their wire guided technology, and Marseille's  Staffel also was equipped with the newly re-designed X-4 Ruhrstahl wire guided air to air missiles. This new air to air technology really started to take a toll on Allied bombers still attempting to resist the German push across Africa.  

By the end of August 1944, Marseilles Gruppe were flying steady interdiction and interception/attack missions nearly daily. The sheer volume of combat that Marseille and his pilots saw was astounding, and the kills were racking up steadily. 
At this point in the war, the Allies still had the numbers, and Marseille's previous aversion to using the newly perfected air to air rocket technology was overridden by his desire to down more bombers. 
Marseille had previously been apposed to the new technology, including the upgraded R4M/2 air to air rockets (Luftwaffe scientists had finally perfected accuracy of the rocket, and significantly reduced the smoke trail) as well as the newly perfected wire guided technology of the Ruhrstahl Ru 344 X-4 missiles, feeling it would make his pilots sloppy, and take the edge off of their air to air gunnery skills. By this time in the war, Marseille had drilled those gunnery skills into their heads. 
While the 2 20mm canon and single Motorkanone Mk 103 canon the Do-335 A-2 Trops carried did take out a significant amount of damage on the bombers, Marseille found that a single pass did not always take out a bomber, and not all his pilots were as deadly accurate as he was with gunnery targets. Now that the new wire guided technology was on line, Marseille relented on equipping his Gruppe with the new air to air technology, especially the new X-4 missiles, as one missile could easily take down 1 bomber, and with the size of the warhead the X-4 carried, two-dozen yards away from the target was well within the missiles kill radius. This way his pilots did not have to be 100% accurate, yet still had a high percentage for a bomber kill. 

Marseille himself even started carrying a pair of the missiles on bomber interdiction missions as he found he down or severely damage  one sometimes two bombers with the X-4s, and save all his canon ammunition for offensive attacks against the escorting fighters.

Marseille would eventually go on to break the 300 kill mark in his Do-335 A-2 Trop "Yellow 14".


By July of 1943 JG 27s new Do-335s had been in service for 4 months and were really taking a toll on the British desert air force, as the Do-335s had almost a 100 MPH advantage over most any fighter the Allies could spare in the African theater. The hit and run tactics JG 27 had been using, had to be used less and less as more and more fighters came on line, and the bombers over the homeland were finally being curtailed. The  Do-335 excelled at executing Marseilles lightning fast, hard hitting tactics, and with the armament and speed advantage the Do-335 gave him, Marseille's kills continued to mount.


By late 1944 Marseille had racked up 36 more kills in the skies over Africa and became the scourge of the desert....................

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Thanks Iain! It seems I am in good company round ere!



Lets get started shall we?


The standard intro fare of what we'll be working with:








Also had to have X2 109 Trop filters Ill be adapting for the A-2 Trop 335, as well as a host of other AM junk:







Marseille's 109E in Africa, and some general Ideas of what Ill be going for on the Do-335:








The very famous 109E Trop shot of Marseille's mount in Africa:








This is generally what I will be going for, but applied with "Yellow 14" for the Do-335:








Thanks for looking in on me, this is one Ive been looking forward to, as Im not much of a what-if guy, but this one just felt so "right" for some reason I had to do it. Im not going to put a TON of time into making huge mods with is, but I will be adding in the above AM and keeping all said panels closed, as this one is about the look of it.



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Thanks gents!

Off to a decent start for one night. Im not used to things going together this easy after working on so may large resin kits. Started off by scraping off all the detail on the OOB pit consoles:








Stuck some rivets on the seat as well as planning on raising the right arm of the chair for some interest. I wont be going too crazy in the pit, but will add the necessary AM and mods to make it look right


Nothing special here, but just some gizmology:










Harder to see are the but indentations I put in the cushion also for some more visual interest:








Finally for a wrap up of last night, I got quite a few things knocked out. All simple stuff, but headway none the less. All this stuff went together quite well with no issues, including an OOB weight that HKM gives you for the forward engine. Im going to install both engines since I need a good and accurately aligned starting point to attach the exhaust stubs too, but Im not going to be adding anything to them that isnt required for install of the props or exhausts, which means no extras attached to the engines. These are actually VERY nice OOB, and if I was a panels open kind of guy, Id use them, but generally I think open panel lines destroys the lines that attracted me to the model in the first place.







Im actually in the paint booth as I type this, so will have another update ready for tomorrow too, as Im feeling much better from my surgery, and the MoJo is flowing!





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Ah phooey! I forgot those! I already got started on painting the seat...................Might see if I can still sneak them in after the fact!



BUT, I have planned another Trop mod, to install some canopy curtains inside atop the canopy, slid back in position.     

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