Upon obtaining the first of the two kits as a Christmas present, I had only three objectives in mind. Number one, build an ME 109 from the Battle of Britain. Number two, make it a yellow-nosed one. Number three, which should be obvious by now, make it the mount of an "Ace". While out running some errands one day, I found in a local hobby store a decal sheet by Sky Models (#48-027) depicting several Messerschmitt 109 E's. On the front page was a plane flown by the legendary Kommodore Adolph Galland of JG 26 in late 1940. Galland was a veteran of the Battle of Britain and would finish the war with 104 kills, fulfilling my Ace requirement. He was also reported to be somewhat of a sarcastic character and spoke his mind at will. During the Battle of Britain, Reichmarshall Herman Goering asked him what was needed to win the battle against the British. Galland replied, "A squadron of Spitfires!". Lastly, I was intrigued by the "Sadistic, gun totting Mickey Mouse" displayed on the fuselage under the port side cockpit. This solidified my need to build this plane immediately.
Skimming through the decals in the same hobby store a few weeks later, I found the Aeromaster "BF 109E Battle of Britain....Eagle Day" sheet (#48-590). I now had to build another 109 immediately! Luckily, I found the same Tamiya kit at the not so local Hobby Lobby for half price. From that sheet, I choose the "Black 8" since I found the story interesting. This plane was apparently flown in the Battle of Britain by Ofw. Bernhard Lampskemper of JG 3. The plane was reportedly destroyed on August 29th, 1940 after combat with RAF Spitifires. All attempts to dig up information on Lampskemper were unsuccessful so its unknown whether he ever became an Ace. Since "Black 8" will be displayed on the same base as Major Galland's 109, I reasoned that the Ace requirement has been fulfilled. We'll just dub this the "Ace Loophole" and may be used again in the future. Well, at least the unusual spinner and red lizard on the cowl is cool!!
There are no complaints on the Tamiya kit(s) fit wise. They were painless and I have been officially spoiled by this company's impeccable engineering. The only addition was masking tape seat belts and brake lines. After assembly and now normal panel line preshading with flat black, I used the standard RLM 70 and 71 over 65, which is typical for the Battle of Britain time period. The noses were sprayed with RLM 04 (Yellow) panel by panel in the same manner as the other colors. The subtle preshading can be seen underneath giving a weathered appearance to the cowl. These planes were my first attempt at German Mottling and it really put my patience to the test. A lot of trial and error but I think they turned out okay. I wish the mottling was a little more pronounced. Next time, I'll darken the paint slightly. The Sky decal instruction sheet was printed in black and white and was little more that a bad photocopy, therefore, I had to wing it (no pun intended) on the placement. These decals were some of the best I've ever used and are highly recommended. They snuggled right down with a little Micro Sol. There is nothing to say about the Aeromaster decals. They are always superb but a little too glossy for my liking. Once complete, I draped one of the shoulder seat belts over the cockpit sill to give off a recently used appearance. I was really pleased with the subtle effect so I did both 109's in this manner.
Both were enjoyable builds and, as stated earlier, are displayed together on the same base. I have recently started work on the re-issue 1/48th scale Monogram Heinkel 111 Bomber to continue my Battle of Britain theme. I hope to put this one in a full blown bomb loading diorama. Stay tuned for in progress photos.