Tuesday 29 November 2011

Military in Scale Assi Hahn's Friedrich

Iain Ogilvie's impressive 32nd Hasegawa Friedrich finished in the markings of Gkr. III./JG 2 Assi Hahn features on the cover of and inside the December 2011 issue of Military in Scale.

The Friedrich enters service with Kanalgeschwader JG 2

" ..II. and III./JG 2 started conversion onto the latest 'F' variant of the celebrated Messerschmitt fighter during March 1941. The 'Friedrich' presented a number of enhancements over the successive improvements introduced to the venerable "Emil" with which the Jagdwaffe had gone to war over Poland. The basic airframe had undergone a redesign with the aim of improving aerodynamic efficiency - especially in the area of the wing and tailplane. Both spinner and wingtips were rounded and more streamlined and the Emil's horizontal stabilizer brace supports had been eliminated. In addition the tailwheel was now fully retractable. However the Friedrich did not feature wing armament and weight of fire was thus reduced in comparison to the older sub-type. There were also some structural issues with early examples, a number of pilots being lost after tearing the wings off in high 'G' manoeuvres. The most notable loss was JG 2 Kommodore Wilhelm Balthasar on 3 July 1941.."

JG 2 fighter aces and victory claims 1941

"...from the Kommodoren to the Kommandeure down to the Staffelkapitäne the fact is that the Luftwaffe's leading fighter Geschwader JG 2 made something of an art of 'over-claiming' as a reading of Erik Mombeeck's history of JG 2 covering the year 1941 makes clear,  For example, the Kommandeur III./JG 2 Hans "Assi" Hahn is generally credited with 108 victories, 66 of which were scored on the Western Front. This total - to no-one's apparent disbelief - includes 53 Spitfires! "

Monday 28 November 2011

Focke Wulf Fw 190 Vol I (1938-43) Smith & Creek Ian Allan Chevron Classic

Finally - the Focke Wulf Fw 190 gets the 'Classic' Smith & Creek treatment. Co-author Eddie Creek was in touch to confirm details of this and subsequent volumes  ( "..this will have to be a quick few words as I am up to my neck in trying to finish my Stuka book " )

Now released is Volume I covering all aspects of the development and service introduction of the 190 Anton in a primarily photographic format over a massive 336 pages.

Volume 2 will cover all remaining production versions of the Fw190 A, Fw190 F and Fw190 G, engine developments, and operations on all fighting fronts from June 1943 to June 1944.

Volume 3 will be devoted to the Fw190 D-series, operations with the aircraft until the end of the war, projects and foreign use.

There is also the possibility of a fourth volume, if there is sufficient interest to make it economically viable. It "...would include a very large number of detailed drawings in addition to photographs. These would, for example, provide aircraft modellers with the most detailed information available from the prototypes through to the Fw190 D-series. In addition a detailed section on camouflage and markings would be included."

Eddie confirmed that none of the three planned 336-page volumes will contain any detailed scale line drawings as there was simply not the space, nor will these volumes cover the Ta 152. So far each volume contains more than 500 photos, colour profiles, handbook drawings, and close-ups of weapons and equipment. According to the authors over 6,000 photos were amassed for this book series so there was simply no room for a vast proportion of them although " a fourth volume could be a good place to use a lot more of these. However this will depend to a certain extent on the sales of the first three volumes.."

Update - Eddie J. Creek has kindly sent through some sample page views for posting here;

"..Attached are some pages from the book which are all from Chapter 2. These are early layout samples but I think they should give you an idea about the book. However please understand that these are low res so looking at the pages like this will simply not give as good an impression as seeing the real thing. Note that we have been able to reproduce the photos as large as possible as many of them are from the original prints..."

Saturday 26 November 2011

Arthur Sack Kreisflügler Sack AS 6 Flugplatz Brandis - flying disc design tested by JG 400 Me 163 Komet pilot

Over in 72 Land Kevin Callahan has finished his Special Hobby Sack AS 6. I happened to see this at the same time as Tom GF was reviewing Stephen Ransom's brief history of Brandis airfield "Zwischen Leipzig und der Mulde" at his German Aviation 1919-1945 blog  Like all of Tom's recommendations this little booklet is well worth tracking down - especially as amazon.de re-sellers have copies on offer for under 10 euros. The connection is Ransom's treatment of the Sack AS 6 on page 61 of his Brandis history. He provides some fascinating information..

Circular wing aircraft planforms were all the rage in America in the 1930s and for a time post war. In fact the American "flying flapjack" flew well enough, but these designs were ultimately no more than aeronautical cul-de-sacs. The Luftwaffe 'sponsored' a similar concept - although their machine was dreamt up in his barn by a farmer, Arthur Sack from Mackern in Saxony (north-east of Leipzig). Sack was an aero-modeller who had entered his flying model in a contest in Leipzig in 1939 and where he had apparently met Ernst Udet who had encouraged him to continue his 'design' work. By early 1944 Sack had built his first piloted Kreisflügler circular wing design 'aircraft', since designated the Sack AS 6 (or the Sack AS 6 V1 according to Special Hobby). Sack then apparently persuaded the Kommandant of his local airfield to allow some developmental work to go on at his airfield - only in this case the local airfield was Flugplatz Brandis, where later that year highly secret and state-of-the-art designs such as the rocket-powered Messerschmitt Me 163 point interceptor and the amazing forward-swept wing Junkers Ju 287 jet bomber were being test flown and operated!

Despite the presence of such a 'design' at a 'secret' test base like Brandis, the Sack AS 6 was as far removed aeronautically from these futuristic machines as it was possible to be - a plywood circular wing powered by an old Messerschmitt Bf 108 Argus engine utilising cockpit parts from a crashed Bf 109. Ground taxiing tests were performed during February 1944, with the first test proving that the rudder was not strong enough and the landing gear not fit for purpose - some structural damage ensued. Five takeoff runs were made during the second test on the 1200 metre Brandis runway during April 1944 with ATG Leipzig test pilot Baltabol at the controls. Testing continued that summer -presumably on a very ad-hoc basis - with a pilot who had some experience of tail-less aircraft trying his hand - Oblt. Franz Rösle, Staffelkapitän of 3./JG 400. These were apparently flight tests although it is doubtful whether the Sack AS 6 ever got airborne - other than a short hop - since it was clear that the 'aircraft' was under-powered. In addition the control surfaces of the flying 'beer mat ' were hopelessly inadequate since they were masked by the circular wing. Based on eye witness reports Ransom concludes that the Sack AS 6 never flew and the 'aircraft' was later broken up on the airfield for fire wood. Of course it is entirely possible that the main legacy of the Sack AS 6 was the host of rumours and myths post-war regarding German 'disc' aircraft and flying saucers...

Friday 25 November 2011

Diving Luftwaffe wrecks in the Med - Junkers Ju 88 A-17 torpedo bomber

The ‘Baie du Souffre’ is formed by the Frioul islands just off the coast of Marseille (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France). A few years ago a Marseille-based diver Luc Vanrell investigated the wrecks of several Ju 88 torpedo bombers lying in the bay at depths of over 50 metres in an article written for ‘Subaqua’, the magazine of the French underwater sports federation. 
His report on diving the wreck of a 1./KG 77 Junkers Ju 88 A-17 lost on 31 July 1944 off the French Med coast is available as a nice 30-page pdf albeit in French. On page 6 of his report Luc reproduces this lovely photo of 3Z+BH of 1./KG77 carrying two torpedoes and fitted with RATO Starthilfe packs. Credited to Chris Goss, this photo does not apparently appear in the latter's excellent 'Sea Eagles' (Vol 2)

Currently available on ebay.de is this nice image of a similarly marked Ju 88 also equipped with the RATO Starthilfe rocket packs. 

update 30 Nov - above image sold for 489 euros

Thursday 24 November 2011

Flying the Junkers Ju 188 KG 77, KG 26, KG 6 , Baumbach KG 200

Above; two Hasegawa Ju 188s on display at this year's Scale Model World Telford.

Flying the Junkers Ju 188 (re-post). An account from former KG 77 & KG 26 pilot Diemer Bodo's  memoir  " Überlebenschance gleich Null " (Helios Verlag)

1945 sees Diemer posted to Norway with KG 26 and the chance to fly the Ju 188.

..that day we reported as ordered to the Technical Officer. We were to fly two modified Ju 188s back to Trondheim and ferry them to III. Gruppe. Both machines were standing outside on the taxyway. I told him that we had never flown the Ju 188 and couldn’t be expected to take the aircraft without at least some classroom instruction. His response – we both wore the EK first class so we must be experienced flyers. There were two Bordfunker ready and waiting to make the trip with us. A pilot who had flown the Ju 188 was on hand to show us the ropes – and quickly before the Mustangs put in an appearance and shot the two machines to pieces. Just great! .. with the Russians in front of Berlin and the Western Allies already fighting around Kassel, here we were standing in our entire worldly possessions and now having to make a 1,500 kilometer trip north in a type that we had never flown before. While we had been flying combat sorties we’d dreamt of being able to give up our old lame Ju 88s for the faster more manoeuvrable Ju 188. Now we were getting our wish. The Ju 188 was a machine of 3,500 hp, almost 700 more horses than my faithful old ‘1H+NH’, and a top speed approaching 530 km/h, almost 100 km/h faster than our old crates... the next morning, half asleep, I climbed up into the unfamiliar cockpit, followed by the BF. Much more spacious, not half as cramped as the Ju 88, although the layout of the instruments and throttles was much the same. Run up the engines quickly and then taxy out. The eastern horizon was already getting lighter – time to get going before the P-51s turned up. Essig followed me and we turned onto the runway. Throttles wide open at the same time and we were airborne tucked in alongside each other just like the good old days. Now we were in our element – low level over the Baltic heading north. The biggest danger now was our own flak, and especially the anti-aircraft defences toted by our warships lying off the coast. An intermediate stop was planned in Aalborg, Denmark before undertaking the long flight over the Skagerrak. The Ju 188 was very pleasant to fly. Much easier on the rudder and the aircraft responded quickly to my inputs on the stick. I could sense the much higher speed – this was turning into a joy ride - I waggled my wings at Essig in happiness. He waggled his back in reply...”

Above image surfaced on Ebay earlier this year and aroused a certain amount of interest for the KG 30 badge and the possibility that this was Kommodore KG 200 Baumbach's personal aircraft. Baumbach left KG 30 in December 1942 for a staff position and the Ju 188 E did not enter service in any numbers until mid-1943.

This from Del Davis on this aircraft ; " I am not sure that KG 30 was ever equipped with the Ju-188. Like you I have never seen a Baumbach aircraft where the codes are visible. I think it more likely that he flew this aircraft while with KG 200 in 1944 so the code is more likely A3+-- or or A3+AA..While few if any KG 200 aircraft carried unit emblems this may have been a personal aircraft with his former unit insignia for his use while on the staff or as Komodore of KG 200. As to the code it could just as easily have still been the Stammkennzeichen. Unless some source comes forward with either a photo or a logbook we may never know.."

Ju 188 E-1 codes of KG 200 as reported by Ed North.
260186 (no code given) destroyed 01.03.45 (Ketley "KG 200")
260232 A3+LD surrendered Mulhldorf-Metthenhaim 08.05.1945
260381 (no codes given) 35% in belly landing 23.01.45 (Luftwaffe losses)
260399 A3+LD I/KG 200 missing (100%) unk location (Erfurt-Echterdingen) 02.02.1945 (Luftwaffe losses)
250522* (no codes given) 25% no location given 14.02.45 (Luftwaffe losses)
(*probably typo for 260522)
260542 A3+QD shot down near Diest, Belgium 23.01.1945 (Ketley "KG 200" )
260543 (no code given) strafed Alten-Grabow 01.03.1945 (Ketley "KG 200" )
Further codes for Ju 188s (likely all A-2/D-2s Jumo 213 engines) are A3+RD, A3+OD, A3+TD, A3+BD.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Luftwaffe modelling - Revell new tool 1:72 Junkers Ju 88 A-4 bomber 04672 - Ju 88 walkaround photo selection last edited February 2018

As with their new 1:32 kits, the new tool Revell Junkers Ju 88 A-4 Schnellbomber in the one true scale appears to set new standards. The box itself is huge with its striking - albeit apparently spurious- KG 30 artwork, presumably based on the 'celebrated' Piraeus raid which took place on the evening of 6 April 1941 as described in his memoir by the Staffelkapitän of 7./ KG 30 'Hajo' Herrmann flying 4D+AR - a little early for a Mediterranean A-4 perhaps. So much for the box art. The kit itself is impressive - when Revell state that their new Ju 88 features a 'super-detailed' cockpit and an extensively equipped interior they are not exaggerating - no fewer than 13 of the 50-odd build stages are devoted to the cockpit and forward fuselage, including a detailed and 'poseable' C-Stand ventral Bola. The side panel detail, the consoles and radio gear are all superb and even feature various levers moulded perfectly in situ. Rudder pedals are also separate parts -must be a first in this scale- and a decent representation of the compass also feature. A nicely-detailed bombsight extends down to the cupola bomb aiming window. Rather than just include 'generic' machine guns an attempt has been made to accurately represent the various different MGs in the cockpit area, ie MG 15/17, MG 81 and MG 81Z, although the sights are solid plastic. Anything else in this scale would have been totally impractical. Total parts count is not given anywhere on or in the box - I've seen figures ranging from 125 to 140, although the ordnance is numbered in the 230s. There are nearly 100 items on the decal sheet, including the side window angle of attack sight lines. There are also decals for the external engine instrument clusters on both engines. Featuring separate control surfaces and landing flaps and  perfectly recessed panel lines, this kit is graded at Series 4 level complexity. The clear parts are bagged separately and look first class. The rotating LL-K81 Bola MG mounts for the rearward firing MGs are separate clear parts. A couple of low spots, more personal bugbears - the main wheels are moulded in two halves and the KG 30 decal option, as mentioned above, appears to be fictitious, apparently based on a 30-year old John Weal profile - or perhaps on some undocumented personal recollection. Having hunted through my references (including the impressive AirDoc monograph and the three recent Kagero volumes) and researched some of Kagero's decal subjects I can tell you that  I failed to find anything quite this colourful. More to the point there were few if any A-4s in the Balkan/Crete/Med theatre. In the first of the Ju 88 Kagero monographs there are decals for a nice KG 30 machine with areas of yellow on the airframe - this is an A-5 coded 4D+VH. The other kit decal option is a sand-brown LG 1 machine. Click on the images for a closer view and carry on scrolling down for some reference images of the forward fuselage and selected cockpit handbook photos..not all of the followng are A-4s of course; as John McIllmurray at AIMS - the Ju 88 modelling site - pointed out recently it is the engine that makes the difference to the type - other features changed during production for example you can have an A-5 with A-4 canopy or you can have an A-4 with earlier A-5 rudder. You can have an A-4 with Ju 88 S/T nose cone - it goes on and on. The images will however be very useful when it comes to masking the extensive cockpit glazing, a job which has taken me the best part of a day's session...

Test shot build photographed by Rowan Gough at Telford.

My build is underway here

The completed model is here

Two views of an early A-variant cockpit showing the instrument panel and forward-firing MG (above) and the pilot's seat and control column (below)

Note the additional defensive side-ways firing MG 15 in the upper rear cockpit roof glazing in the picture above, the so-called B-Stand Zusätzliche Schußwaffe and two handbook images showing the staggered lay out of these supplementary twin drum MG 15s in the B-Stand interior position operated by the Beobachter (observer) in this view looking forward.

Two views above of an A-4 having its inboard wing tanks refueled. A good view of the rotating LL-K81 MG mounts

Ju 88 A-4 W.Nr. unknown "9K+V?", KG 51, Eastern Front, Spring 1942.

Click on the label links below for more Ju 88 and Ju 88 model posts including a review of the Hasegawa Junkers Ju 88 G nightfighter kits