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Z-M's Messerschmitt Bf-109G14/U4


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Just come across some really great photos during a flight sim search.  The plane in question is an Erla built G-6 that was on display at this years EAA Oshkosh air show.  The plane is said to be very accurately restored over a ten year period, and there's lots of photos that will be very useful to modellers, starting at post #5.

 

Erla built Bf-109G-6

 

 

Cheers,

Michael

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Fantastic pictures thank you and this is how I always envisage the (actual) machine looked like in wartime. Given their operational life was often very short, how their cockpits came to be all 'faded' and 'chipped' everywhere as some modellers seem to imagine them (were pilots wearing mountaineering ice-clamp boots getting in and out of the pit?) is clearly fantasy.

 

Thanks again for these fabulous and clear images which will be most useful indeed.

Gary

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The Erla BF-109G-6 looks fantastic but appears a little too “lovingly crafted” like almost in pre war showroom condition. I believe hasty war time production with mostly unskilled skilled labour would not have showed consistent fine finishing and painting like this. I used to own some prewar German Mauser rifles as well as some later production wartime examples. The prewar examples were beautifully made and finished whilst the war time examples were absolute garbage in comparison. The build quality was terrible though they did work as they should. Still though can’t blame the restorers for putting so much love into the project. 

Edited by frothingillbellows
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12 hours ago, Gary Needham said:

Fantastic pictures thank you and this is how I always envisage the (actual) machine looked like in wartime. Given their operational life was often very short, how their cockpits came to be all 'faded' and 'chipped' everywhere as some modellers seem to imagine them (were pilots wearing mountaineering ice-clamp boots getting in and out of the pit?) is clearly fantasy.

 

Thanks again for these fabulous and clear images which will be most useful indeed.

Gary

 

My own take on this is that it depends on where the planes were based.  If we're talking about western Europe or the UK, fading and dirt would largely be light.  Grass fields or airfields with paved taxiways and parking areas were not likely to see much fading and dirt.  These sort of areas had good maintenance facilities so it's likely the the planes would be much less grubby and scratched up than a plane operated from dusty, sandy places such as the Western Desert or south west Pacific or some muddy outpost on the eastern front.  Such places are likely to see a much greater rate of dirt and scratching from grubby boots clambering all over the machine, or faded paint in hot sunny climates.  Paints were much more susceptible to fading back then as they weren't as UV resistant as today's offerings.  Japanese paints in particular come to mind here.  Also, red paints suffered more too.  So in summary, I think the amount of wear and tear should be dependent on where your miniature subject was in operation, and how old or at what point in it's career the model is to be depicted. 

 

6 hours ago, frothingillbellows said:

The Erla BF-109G-6 looks fantastic but appears a little too “lovingly crafted” like almost in pre war showroom condition. I believe hasty war time production with mostly unskilled skilled labour would not have showed consistent fine finishing and painting like this. I used to own some prewar German Mauser rifles as well as some later production wartime examples. The prewar examples were beautifully made and finished whilst the war time examples were absolute garbage in comparison. The build quality was terrible though they did work as they should. Still though can’t blame the restorers for putting so much love into the project. 

 

Quite true and you raise a good point.  As an example, 1940 109E's were well built machines, as were most F's.  Late war G and K models much less so as both production ramped up and more unskilled labour was used.  Also, the quality of materials used was sometimes less.  The armour glass in these later planes was often hazy and had a smoky yellow tint as these components could no longer be manufactured to the earlier high quality.  Castings were substituted for forgings as these were quicker and cheaper to produce and unpainted areas became more common.  The latter was also true of allied machines.  Spitfire and Hurricane Mk1's were painted everywhere, but by 1942, only some areas had paint, such as the cockpit.  However, only some of this can be replicated on our models.  A restored warbird is by it's nature a labour of love and these photos prove that.  But how you replicate declining quality on a model with a two inch long or smaller cockpit I don't know, other than to paint it thinly over a bare metal finish and maybe apply a dirty yellow clear wash to your 109's armour glass, for example.  The same might be said for hurriedly applied exterior colours, but once the camo pattern becomes more complex, then I think this becomes harder to replicate.  Well done to those who can.  Me??  I'm too OCD and stuck in the "that looks like garbage" mindset to build my models anything other than as neatly I can.  It's only recently that I've started weathering.

 

 

Cheers,

Michael

Edited by Dpgsbody55
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1 hour ago, Dpgsbody55 said:

 

My own take on this is that it depends on where the planes were based.  If we're talking about western Europe or the UK, fading and dirt would largely be light.  Grass fields or airfields with paved taxiways and parking areas were not likely to see much fading and dirt.  These sort of areas had good maintenance facilities so it's likely the the planes would be much less grubby and scratched up than a plane operated from dusty, sandy places such as the Western Desert or south west Pacific or some muddy outpost on the eastern front.  Such places are likely to see a much greater rate of dirt and scratching from grubby boots clambering all over the machine, or faded paint in hot sunny climates.  Paints were much more susceptible to fading back then as they weren't as UV resistant as today's offerings.  Japanese paints in particular come to mind here.  Also, red paints suffered more too.  So in summary, I think the amount of wear and tear should be dependent on where your miniature subject was in operation, and how old or at what point in it's career the model is to be depicted. 

 

 

Quite true and you raise a good point.  As an example, 1940 109E's were well built machines, as were most F's.  Late war G and K models much less so as both production ramped up and more unskilled labour was used.  Also, the quality of materials used was sometimes less.  The armour glass in these later planes was often hazy and had a smoky yellow tint as these components could no longer be manufactured to the earlier high quality.  Castings were substituted for forgings as these were quicker and cheaper to produce and unpainted areas became more common.  The latter was also true of allied machines.  Spitfire and Hurricane Mk1's were painted everywhere, but by 1942, only some areas had paint, such as the cockpit.  However, only some of this can be replicated on our models.  A restored warbird is by it's nature a labour of love and these photos prove that.  But how you replicate declining quality on a model with a two inch long or smaller cockpit I don't know, other than to paint it thinly over a bare metal finish and maybe apply a dirty yellow clear wash to your 109's armour glass, for example.  The same might be said for hurriedly applied exterior colours, but once the camo pattern becomes more complex, then I think this becomes harder to replicate.  Well done to those who can.  Me??  I'm too OCD and stuck in the "that looks like garbage" mindset to build my models anything other than as neatly I can.  It's only recently that I've started weathering.

 

 

Cheers,

Michael

I agree with you about the painting. Further in the old days other than unstable pigments the oils and resins in paint  tended to “yellow” the finish when fully cured and exposed to the elements over time. That’s why old finishes usually appear warmer whilst newer paints appear colder. Colour matching was not as precise as today as is quality control. No two batches of paint were ever exactly the same shade. I learned the hard way when the company I worked for painted an old large cinema that had kalsomine wall that soaked in a huge amount of paint. We could not get a batch large enough to do the whole job in one go. We requested the paint manufacturer to be extra careful with mixing the colour in the batches. As we painted behind scaffolding we could not see the result until it was removed. When the scaffolding was removed there was a patch work of different shades of cream. It was a nightmare to correct. Sometimes I wonder that some modellers are too fussy and angst too much over paint shades and colour charts. Modern pigments as well may not replicate the right look of old pigments that are no longer in use or age the same way. To me If it’s close enough it’s usually good enough. 

Edited by frothingillbellows
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Agree on the "exact shade" colour observation given that even in 2022 with computer matching, you still can't get the same paint from 2 different batches that blend seamlessly on a flat wall. As such, how on earth did companies subject to wartime restrictions on materials, the varying QC of them along with using (the Axis) slave labour ever really maintain a 'precise' RLM or whatever output. 'Ballpark' most certainly from different factories, but exact specifications even into the closing phases of the war when the enemy were (literally) 'at the gates'...really?

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Curtiss were well known for the colour variations on the P-40.  It was almost a case of them nipping down to the nearest hardware store for a paint re-stock.  RAF Sky on Supermarine built Spitfires was a little more blue than anyone else's Sky.  As to the Luftwaffe, as the situation there became more desperate, factories simply painted their planes in whatever they could lay their hands on.

 

 

Cheers,

Michael

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