Saturday, 25 April 2015

Claes Sundin - new profile book Luftwaffe Attack Aircraft- published on 5 May

announcing a new profile book from Claes Sundin...

    " I would like to inform you that my new profile book - Luftwaffe Attack Aircraft - is now printed and will be sent out to customers on May the 5th..

 This book follows the same layout of my previous four profile books;

 - I have included 90 additional artworks
 - all the 124 profiles feature a short text, dealing with topics like: unit history, the mission flown or the crew that flew the machine.
 - Included in the book you will also find a chapter about Luftwaffe Attack missions and a description of the five aircraft types included.
 - 85% of the profiles are newly created for this book and the remainder have been previously published but are here updated to my latest standards.

 Definitely my best work to date. cheers,  Claes "

 To read more about Claes' stunning new profile book, see photos from the printing of the book and place an order, go to

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Aces of the Luftwaffe - Peter Jacobs (Frontline books, 2014) - Luftwaffe book review

..Interest in the subject of Luftwaffe "aces" appears never-ending although I suppose any decent military publisher needs at least one such title in his catalogue. Pen and Sword imprint Frontline has recently added this volume from ex-RAF Phantom and Tornado F3 air defence navigator Peter Jacobs,  the latest to chronicle the life and times of the Luftwaffe's fighter pilots in action. A 2014 Frontline Books release, Jacobs' 'Aces of the Luftwaffe' is a comprehensive and reasonably informative summary of all those bemedalled Jagdflieger on all fronts. Life and times though ? ..not really ! Author Jacobs has apparently written on RAF subjects, so with that sort of background you would expect him to have a keen understanding of air warfare and his descriptions of air combat are well done. However neither the cover nor the title quite convey what this book actually deals with. Mostly it is a pretty dry - if not to say occasionally dull - history of the Luftwaffe in combat from its furtive foundation in March 1935 to its demise with the German collapse in 1945. Written by a non-expert. It focuses only intermittently on the careers and individual experiences of the top German fighter aces - there are no biographies-  preferring to concentrate almost entirely on the broad historical context. Here's a good idea of the type of treatment here; the following paragraph excerpt covers the 7 July 1944 Oschersleben mission, the raid that saw IV (Sturm)./ JG 3 "blitz" the 445th BG..

I failed to find any discussion in Jacob's book of how the German Experten amassed their incredible individual tallies of aerial victories. He records - as if we didn't already know -  that 15 Luftwaffe fighter pilots achieved over 200 kills, with the 22 year old Erich Hartmann shooting down 352 enemy aircraft and surviving the war! Amazing - and he remains the most successful fighter pilot of all time. A further 91 Experten scored over 100 kills. By comparison the top British ace scored 47 and the top US ace 40. . Jacobs does not directly answer why this was so. Some indirect answers do emerge; the Luftwaffe operated for most of the war in a target rich environment with good (or better) equipment and more experienced pilots. Although the author doesn't say this, what drove many Jagdflieger - especially early on in the war - appears to have been an almost over-riding concern for the Abschussliste - the system of points and then decorations awarded for a certain number of 'victories'-  which was ultimately no more than personal ambition and the need for recognition. Combat may have been relentless in some theatres, but at least it was regularly punctuated by trips to Berlin to collect the latest medal upgrade..

There is no discussion in Jacob's book of the veracity of the leading aces claims totals, no discussion of 'over-claiming' per se - in fact the word doesn't even appear anywhere in the text- just the usual platitudes regarding the inherent reliability of the Luftwaffe's claims verification system "...which generated a lot of paperwork". Of the high Luftwaffe scorers there were doubtless some who over inflated their tallies. Thus Michulec in 'Luftwaffe Fighter Aces in the West' (Greenhill) refers to Helmut Wick - JG 2 Kommodore for a brief period during the Battle of Britain- as the 'greatest liar in the Luftwaffe'. Equally, some claims were probably made in good faith and yet were entirely without any real foundation. In the heat of combat the ability to attribute specific losses to specific claimants, and thus tally up a score, becomes increasingly problematic. Indeed, it has never been clear who shot down Wick himself and as Andy Saunder's research has demonstrated 'friendly fire' is a not insignificant factor in air combat. Trying to work out who really "got the most" is pretty much a futile task.

While JG 2 may have been one of the Luftwaffe's leading fighter units, over-claiming was endemic in this unit as detailed on this blog here for the summer of 1941. Given the above, in my view any list of  Luftwaffe aces should be open to constant re-evaluation and interpretation.  Jacobs' lists of aces and their 'victory totals' appeared to have been compiled directly from Mick Spick's. I always check Walther Dahl's 'score' in books like this - just to see if the author has read any recent 'research' ie the Lorant/Goyat JG 300 history. He has not - Dahl is still credited with 128 victories, an utterly absurd total which fails to stand up to any sort of examination as here on this blog. Recent Russian 'research' baldly states that Hartmann's actual score was probably no more than 80 enemy aircraft downed. Read more about this on this blog here. Even if authors like Jacobs give Khazanov's findings no credence whatsoever my feeling is that they should be at least discussed in a title like this.

Some of the author's statements I find slightly worrying. Writing about the end of the campaign in the West, Jacobs asserts; " for two months the Luftwaffe apparently stood idly by, while the RAF continued their rearmament apace.."  No mention of the huge losses in men and material - some 600-800 aircraft and over 2,000 flying personnel - sustained by the Luftwaffe in subjugating France and the Low Countries. No indication that facilities and infrastructure along the Channel coast were in ruins. The Luftwaffe was in dire need of the two-month pause prior to the assault on Britain.

 There are no personal accounts in Jacob's book and to be honest I don't think Jacobs would be capable of providing any! A discussion of the impact of the succession of honours and a comparison with the British system of duplicate awards (bars) would have been interesting and Jacobs is well placed to conduct it. But he does not. . .

To conclude, this book is a reasonably competent history of the fighter arm of the Luftwaffe but I'm not sure why Jacobs has chosen to spend his time compiling it. Of course I'm probably being a little unfair here - after all I've been reading about the Luftwaffe for a few years, so would always be struggling to find anything much new here. Jacob's bibliography doesn't extend beyond Osprey, Price, Goss and Caldwell (who seems only to have lent him a few JG 26 portrait photos) although he does name-check Prien. But then fails to list any of his works in the bibliography. He struggles with German terminology; I contacted the publisher with a spelling correction when I saw a mock-up of the original cover -  which to their credit they incorporated.  Ultimately Jacobs' book could have been so much more, so much better and so much more interesting. Recommended only if new to the subject I think.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Scenes from 6./ KG 53 - Ritterkreuz award to 6./KG 53 pilot Ofw. Waldemar Teige

...above, taken on the occasion of the presentation of the Ritterkreuz to 6./KG 53 pilot Ofw. Waldemar Teige on 10 June 1942 at Krowje Selo on the Eastern Front. Seen left, Generaloberst Keller is handing over the award to Teige which was for 12 Luftsiege (probably night-fighting) and around 240 combat sorties. Teige's aircraft - He 111 H-6 A1+AC -was hit by anti-aircraft fire during an attack on the rail station at Ostaschkow near Dno on 3 October 1942. Teige brought the aircraft back over German lines, enabling the crew to bale out successfully. However his own chute caught up on the aircraft's tail and he plunged to his death. Far right is Oblt. Walter Spellig.

below; He 111 H "A1+AP" flown by Staffelkapitän 6./ KG 53 Hptm Andreas Zahn returning from a sortie during 1941

More scenes from 6./ KG 53. Michael Meyer's current Ebay sales are here

Feting the 2000th sortie of 6./ KG 53 He 111 H in Krowjw Selo in Rußland during the summer of 1943. The sortie was flown by Ofw. Heinz Gossow and crew. Is this the same Heinz Gossow that went on to fly in the Defence of the Reich with JG 301? Below, Staffelkapitän Hptm Heinz Zöller is seen congratulating Ofw. Gossow. Zöllner was Kapitän of 6. Staffel from 11.6.1943 to 26.9.1943 and awarded the RK on 5 April 1944. He wa KIA on 5.11.1944.

Westfeldzug Storch, JG 2 emblem

currently on offer here from koelsch333 Ebay sales and posted here courtesy Marco

Nicely camouflaged Fi 156 C Storch "CG+BF" possibly belonging to JG 2 (note emblem under windscreen, thank you Tomas!). The seller identifies this as being from a 30 I.D photo group from the French campaign Westfeldzug - the camouflage finish appears to be 70/71 splinter with 02 overspray. In the JG 2 history similar types were used to scout out forward landing fields ahead of the advance.
Below expired ebay auction via Tomas Prusa on Facebook

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Horten Ho 229 V-3 at Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center (nr. Washington DC) - Zoukei-Mura 1/32nd Horten Ho 229 build review

some great pictures via Cynrik de Decker of the Horten Ho 229 V-3 at Udvar Hazy (nr. Washington DC), in restoration last week. Thanks to Cynrik for these great images; click on the images to view large

" ..Surrendered in 1945 in incomplete condition. A year later, at Freeman Field, the Americans estimated it would take 15 000 man hours to put the flying wing in the air. However, in this condition, it remains one of the most iconic aviation relics I ever saw..."

 The Horten Ho 229 being restored at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (photo credit Cynrik de Decker)

The Horten was essentially a pair of Jumos mounted in a tubular centre section framework enclosing the cockpit with wings attached.  Essentially a flying wing,  NASM's example is the V-3 prototype. Only one of the prototypes flew, and it crashed, but the Horten brothers had proven the basic concept with smaller, but similarly-shaped gliders, so it was probably only a matter of time and resources before the Ho 229 jet-powered variant was perfected for combat. American forces captured the V-3 in the closing days of the war and shipped her back to the US for evaluation. The aircraft is based upon a steel frame, but the exterior cladding is mostly plywood, which is in quite poor condition with significant de-lamination in places.

Below; three views of the fuselage centre section of the Horten as reproduced on the Zoukei Mura Horten Ho 229 kit built by Paul Higgins

"..ZM state in the instruction manual that the frame design gave the structure good strength, in part this is because of the triangular nature of the framework and also because this framework points towards the centre in order to disperse the load..."

Much of the aircraft structure is fabricated from wood; again this is very evident on Paul's build of the Zoukei Mura kit

 ".. my only slight query would be on the instruction sheet's suggestion that the internals should be RLM 02 or pale green, when, with a little additional searching on the internet, they would have seen images of the real thing and the fact it is clearly wooden inside.."

"..This kit has indeed been a revelation to me. By far and away, it is the best produced model I have built. As an example, the Trumpeter '262' is also a fine kit with great detail, but with some kits you have to have a little bit of a struggle somewhere along the line. However, I did not encounter anything like the expected difficulty I had envisaged and I am seriously impressed with Zoukei-Mura's production and construction qualities. I can highly recommend this model to those of you thinking of buying one. For the full build article proceed over to Go to the 'Discussion Forums' section and when you have your menu down the left side of your screen, select Plastic Pics, then do a search using this title: Zoukei-Mura Horten Ho 229. You'll see Parts 1-8...."   Paul Higgins

Monday, 13 April 2015

Focke Wulf Fw 190s JG 1, JG 2 and JG 6 on Ebay - Ebay photo find # 108

A selection of current and recent Ebay sales, Fw 190s of various Jagdgeschwader. Click on the images for a full screen view without leaving this site.

Fw 190 A-8 W.Nr. 171 524 "Gelbe 12", possibly II./JG 6, Reims-Harpy, September 1944

Currently listed on Ebay here

 A selection of II./JG 1 machines Woensdrecht Holland, 1943. Below 'Black 9' and crane.

A-2/3 "Yellow 4" of  III./JG 2 machine at readiness. Ground crews taking a break. Sold here
Below, rare in flight view of a Fw 190 A-8. Seller had originally offered this for 330 euros here  See my Fw 190 'Aircraft in Profile' feature article in Scale Aircraft Modelling November 2003.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

building the Airfix new-tool Dornier Do 17 Z in 1:72nd scale (WIP courtesy 'Stew Dapple' on

A quick look at the new-tool Airfix Dornier Do 17 Z with the best bits of a WIP courtesy of 'Stew' on BM. 'Stew' built two Dorniers simultaneously, one wheels up with crew from the 'Dogfight Double' kit and used three different paint sets trying to find the 'right' 70/71 finish!  I have yet to build mine. Most modellers who have finished it are agreed that it a good kit with a well detailed cockpit that it’s best to take some time over. There are some tricky areas, most notably installing the cockpit armament and assembling the engines. The framing on the sides of the canopy is also a little bit vague. Thanks to 'Stew' for allowing me to re-post some of his best pics and words here. Click on the images to get in closer. That cockpit looks amazing Stew!

The cockpit assembled and then painted with all parts in situ. The harnesses are from Eduard. " Most of the detail is still accessible, I would have left the chairs out given the choice but foresaw no end of trouble sticking them back in when everything was painted. I think only the throttle box next to the pilot's seat will be a bit tricky, everything else is pretty much as accessible as it was on the sprue..I applied a Citadel brown wash to the interiors followed by a dry brush of RLM02 - it perhaps looks a little excessive at this stage, but it is barely visible once the fuselage is all buttoned up.."

"...Now according to the instructions the next step is to button up the fuselage before adding the ventral gun window and the internal parts behind the dorsal gunner.. that looks like trouble to me, ideally I would add the internal parts before closing up the fuselage, perhaps add the ventral glass afterwards... but in fairness to Airfix I can't say the instructions are in error if I don't at least try it their way, so I will do that and see how it goes.."

"..I added the ventral gun window, and the rear section of the cockpit as per the instructions.  I suggest that you offer the part up gently and fit without applying pressure; it should click into place but you might have to hold it there until it sets. I tested the rear cockpit against both sides of the fuselage halves before I glued them, so I knew fairly well where it ought to fit, I would recommend that you do the same..I then added the structural cross-piece members to the bomb-bay and am now leaving it all to set. I followed the same procedure for the second Dornier being built wheels-up with crew, the fuselage halves went together more easily in the absence of the crew, but the rear-cockpit piece took longer to find the right place for it; swings and roundabouts I suppose..."

Fitting the upper wing. "...since Dornier 1 was having a closed bomb-bay, I decided to fit the top upper wing next. The fit at the front was good, at the back less so, though that may be my fault, as my attention was on the front of the wing which required a little pressure to keep the join closed until the PlasticWeld set. I applied filler to the back join and will attend to this later (the join isn't that bad by the way, I just slapped on too much filler as usual.."

Fitting the lower wing. " .. it didn't feel like I got a very good fit out of my first build and I needed some filler at the roots - this might have more to do with my clumsy fit of the upper wing than indicate any problem with the kit itself.."

"...fitted the wings to Dornier 2 after a quick burst of RLM 02 to the unpainted parts in the bomb-bay and the landing gear bays. I don't know if I was less careless, more lucky or just more cautious, but this time I used poly adhesive on the wings outboard as far as the end of the flaps, left them to dry then glued the outboard section of the wings with Plastic Weld... and got no gaps at all. So I guess that I can't blame Airfix for the gaps on Dornier 1 .."

Below, next step, fitting the engines. "..I've assembled the cowlings - the big slot is where the exhausts will exit, and there are two other slots which fit around the intakes fitted to the engine mounts which you can see behind the cowlings. It is perfectly possible - easy even - to fit the cowling sides the wrong way round. It is so easy in fact, that I did it, fixed it, then did it again.. the big slot goes at the side of the cowling ring with the missing rim; you will know it when you see it.."

"...secondly: this is the T-shaped piece of plastic that you fit last of all around the exhausts....if you remove it from the sprue now and test fit it to the gap that it has to fit in later, you will probably congratulate yourself on your foresight; I found a little filing of the slot was required and that would have been a tricky job later on..."

"...The actual cowlings fit so well that glue is really not necessary, but I dabbed superglue gel round the outsides of the engine cylinders just for my own peace of mind. Then came the T-shaped parts that fit round the exhausts, which I suspect are the parts which people have had trouble with; I certainly did and developed a surprisingly deep and powerful hatred of part B28 (times two, or if you are building two Dorniers, times four). They did for some reason fit rather better in Dornier 2 - the uncrewed one - but even then it was a bit of a trial. The only alternative I can think of is to assemble the engine then fit it in the cowling rather than to the wing, add parts B28 which will at least be easier to fiddle with and then attach the whole caboodle to the wings... but I didn't try it and there might be some very good reason not to do it...."

Applying RLM 65 to the undersurfaces using the Hataka paint from their Early War Luftwaffe set.

Above, unhappy with the low contrast 70/71 of the Hataka acrylics. "..The 70/71 scheme was a very low contrast scheme, in black and white photos it is often difficult to see where one colour ends and the other begins, and sometimes aircraft appear to be painted entirely in one colour only... but whether the same should be true in a colour photograph is another matter.."

. "..I had already set out upon a scheme to alter the camouflage as best as I could with an brushed overpaint of Phoenix Precision Enamels....I think given the overall lack of success I have had with the Hataka paints I will leave them at this point, they may well be the very best quality paints and precisely colour-matched, there is a strong possibility that all the problems I had with them were self-created, but whatever, I am not of a mind to keep on with them until one of us breaks. For Dornier 2 I will try the AK Interactive acrylics and see how I get on with those (but still keep my Phoenix Precision enamels in reserve) .."

Below; second build finished in AK Interactive acrylics. "..the AK paints go on nicely and leave a good smooth coat; as for the colours... well...that contrast is a bit excessive; though it is slightly exaggerated by the bright light (without which I seem to be unable to take a picture that is focused) and I am going to keep it rather than repaint this one too. As I said, I have never so far as I know seen a German WW2 bomber in its authentic colours so this might be spot on for all I know, or the difference between this and, for example, the Phoenix paints interpretation of the 70/71 colours could be the difference between a fresh paint-job on the real aircraft and what it would look like after six months in service... ""

Note on the bomb bay  "..If you are building this kit and using the SC 50 bomb-load as I did, please be aware that the bombs are divided into left- and right-hand side stowage as are the bomb-racks and it is entirely possible to attach the the bombs to said racks facing the rear of the aircraft instead of the front - i.e. backwards - and not find this out until you attempt to install the racks in the fuselage... furthermore it is possible to do this even after you noticed it was possible to do it, and determined that you were not going to and that you would pay attention and do it the right way round. I was mortified- I fixed it by cutting off the little tabs that differentiate the tops of the bomb-racks from the bottom and superglued the racks in position using only the contact area at the bottom of the racks. I'll need to touch-up the RLM 02 in parts of the bomb-bay and the undercarriage (which fits very cleverly and well into the bay meaning you can paint the undersides without any tricky masking of the landing gear) before adding the gear doors and wheels.."

Below; removing the canopy masking prior to painting the guns,

"..I sprayed a bit of just-about-satisfactory exhaust staining then painted the exhaust pipes and guns. need to install the landing light in the port wing, paint in the wingtip navigation lights in and the tip of the pitot silver and I think that will be about it..." 

Airfix Dornier Do 17 Z representing the aircraft flown by the Staffelkapitän of 9./KG.76 which took part in the ill-fated raid on RAF Kenley on 18 August 1940, built by 'Stew Dapple'.

F1+DT ended its operational history this day with a crash-landing at Leaves Green, near Biggin Hill, in Kent, having been damaged over Kenley by AA fire and attacks from 111 Squadron Hurricanes. The crew - Hptm Joachim Roth, Obltn Rudolf Lamberty, Hptm Gustav Peters, Ofw Valentin Geier and Fw Hugo Eberhard - all survived, albeit all injured to various degrees. The Kenley raid is minutely analysed and described in detail by Dr Alfred Price in his excellent book 'The Hardest Day'.

Above; Dogfight Double KG 3 Dornier also built by 'Stew'

 Stew summed up his two builds of the new-tool Airfix Dornier Do 17 Z for Luftwaffe blog readers;

"..Well I liked both builds for different reasons, the Dogfight Double version was simpler and mostly easier apart from fitting the crew figures in; the 9/KG76 version was more complicated but it was more interesting with the bomb-bay open (which is not an option if you are using the display stand) and the flaps and landing gear deployed... plus I wanted to do one of the Kenley raiders since I first read Dr Alfred Price's book The Hardest Day and the F1+DT was probably the most famous of them, if only due to it being the most photographed (plus it was Staffelkapitän Roth's aircraft so perhaps more significant than the others in that sense). So on balance I guess it would be the 9./KG76 one..
with hindsight, I would definitely install the little skylights for the bomb-bay in the top wing before I fitted the top wing - they didn't seem to fit very well adding them in afterwards and would have been much easier to deal with at an earlier stage. 

 I would also dry-fit the exhaust pipes to the engine mounts and build the rest of the engine onto it, then remove the whole engine to fit the cowlings and particularly the little 'T'-shaped pieces that fit behind the exhaust outlets; I had a bit of a time getting those parts on after the rest of the cowling had been fitted with the wings getting in my way - I'm not 100% sure that would work but I will definitely give it a try if I do build another, and I would very much like to build another, time and other builds being the limiting factor here..."