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Messerchmitt Bf 109F


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Messerchmitt Bf 109F

Robert Michulec
MMP Books
£15.99 from MMP Books




This is the second of Mushroom Model Publications' Yellow Series books I have looked at, the previous covering one of Messerschmitt's lesser known aircraft, the Bf108 Taifun. The same cannot be said for the Bf109 - arguably the most famous aircraft ever, and I say this as a confirmed lover of the Spitfire. This book is in the same format as the Taifun volume, but looks at just one variant of the 109, the F or 'Friedrich' as it is commonly known. It is 128 pages long, and covers the Bf109 F from development, prototypes, production and experimental airframes. It contains numerous colour and black and white photographs - the former largely museum walkarounds; scale plans, technical drawings and colour profiles.






Although the Table of Contents would indicate numerous sub-sections, I think the book can be looked at in three main parts: development and production; colour profiles; and walkaround. The first section provides the briefest of backgrounds and looks at the Bf109 E or 'Emil'. We then quickly look at initial development and prototypes, which includes W.Nr. (serial) and Stammkenzeichen (four letter aircraft code) where know. There is a particularly interesting section showing the various supercharger intakes that were toyed with on the Versuchs (prototype) airframes, before a production standard was agreed upon. We then look at the main variants such as F-0, F-1, F-2 and F-4, along with the Trop and 'z' versions. Included here are plans in 1/48 a large colour profile in pull-out format. The Friedrich upper wing was unusual and different from all other 109s - both before and after - in its use of a single sheet of metal ie no panel lines for almost all the wing; I do not think the plans have this correct.






Different engines and different propellers are covered. I like the fact that the book actually gives you serial numbers of the later, and illustrates the differences side by side; these are subtle and not often visible in period photos if the angle is not kind or clarity lacking. However as far as I can tell they miss the point that propellers were directly related to engine type, which is quite an important characteristic when studying the Luftwaffe. They are also rather ambiguous in the treatment of the Trop aircraft; those far more knowledgeable than me assert that there were no F-2 Trops - the supercharger intake of these aircraft was such that it could not take the attachment of tropical filter. And whilst they do seem to cover the use of external braces at the tail well, no mention of the two types of seats used that I could see is disappointing. For those interested in one-offs and experimental aircraft, there are some nice pictures of Galland's two upgraded Friedrichs, as well as an airframe fitted with underwing rocket packs (not WGr 21s in case you thought you knew about these).








The first section takes us to page 52; the second comprises the colour profiles - some thirty or so. There are a number of upper and lower elevations included which is always nice. Time does not permit me to examine the accuracy of these renditions, but as always, I advise caution when choosing to model from profiles, as even the best make mistakes.






The final section is entitled Detail Photos and begins on page 78. It provides 45 pages of detailed information on pretty much all aspects of the airframe, through colour and black and white photos, technical diagrams and some CG / 3D renderings. The modern colour pics are all walkarounds of the F-4z at the Canadian Museum in Ottawa (WNr 10132). The problem here is that although the book acknowledges parts have also been used from another airframe (WNr26129), they do not say what variant this other plane was, or more importantly what parts have been used. I am almost as suspicious of museum pics as I am of colour profiles, if detailed provenance is not given. Many of the technical diagrams are taken from the original manual, complete with scribblings in German. These are complemented by period photos both of 109s in the field, and from images in flying manuals etc.






I am inclined to be a little more favourable to this book than the recent Kagero Monograph on the Friedrich, perhaps because it has less pretensions, and is a lot easier to read; even though I think some of the technical information is similarly 'foggy'. At £15.99 for the MMP title, there is probably more bang for your buck in the Kagero book. Should Valiant Wings bring out a title on the Friedrich - as they have for the Emil - that would be the book I would go for in a heartbeat.




With thanks to MMP Books for the review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.


Nicholas Mayhew



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  • 2 weeks later...

Good review.


I think you're right in that Valiant Wings are the company actually giving the reader good research, useful material and a useful narrative at the 'sub-opus' level of publication.  Sometimes the 'eye candy' is covering up the fact that we're just getting the same old stuff in new packaging...:)



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