Building a Bf 109G-10 for our current campaigns provided the perfect excuse to look back at one of Eagle Editions' books that was published before Aeroscale (or the original Armorama, for that matter) was even a gleam in Jim Starkweather's eye. EagleFiles #3 dates back to the turn of the millennium and is written by Brett Green, well respected for his many Luftwaffe and modelling books and, of course, Hyperscale, and ten years on is still an excellent reference on late-war '109s.
Printed on high quality stock, the softbound 8½" X 11" book contains 84 pages packed with photos, the majority of which I've not seen elsewhere despite the plethora of titles published on the Bf 109 since Brett's book first appeared. Backing up the photos is excellent artwork by Thomas A. Tullis.
The book is broken down into distinct sections, obviously of interest to all Bf 109 enthusiasts, but especially useful for modellers. Hardly surprising considering the author.
The first 20 or so pages give a concise overview of the development of Luftwaffe fighter camouflage in the Europe theatre, starting with the move to various greys in 1940 and ending with the adoption of greens and browns for defensive schemes towards the end of the war. The section also deals with noteworthy exceptions to the norm, such as Bf 109s painted overall RLM 76. Tactical markings and Reichsverteidigung bands are described with the aid of full-colour illustrations.
The original black and white photos for the section are well chosen and are, by and large, of abandoned aircraft in varying states of disrepair as found by the advancing Allies. As with all Eagle Editions titles that I've read, great care has been taken to reproduce the shots with as good a tonal range as possible, despite the obvious variation in quality of what were originally in many cases little more than "snapshots".
Then follows a colour photo "walkaround" of Bf 109G-6 W.Nr 163824, still largely in its original finish at the Treloar Technology Center, in Australia. The fact that the aircraft was partially disassembled allowed the author to photograph many elements normally hidden, and the photos are accompanied by detailed captions describing the various RLM colours evident, and the manner in which they were applied.
Next, a set of 1:48 side drawings illustrate the Bf 109G-6, G-14, G-10 and K-4. Two sub-types of the 'G-10 are shown with different cowling bulges, and they should be useful to modellers, but it's a shame that the drawings don't also include plan views.
Brett then returns to W.Nr 163824 with a chapter that is quite unlike anything I've found elsewhere; a detailed description of the aircraft, section by section and colour by colour. So, it's like a guided tour, concentrating particularly on the colours used - absolutely ideal modellers. Each colour is then compared to FS equivalents and the various published RLM matches.
After the preserved finish of the 'G-6, it's a fascinating contrast to turn to 'G-10 W.Nr. 610937 under restoration. A series of black and white photos focus on the cowlings and reveal the complex asymmetrical shapes evident.
The book ends with a useful list of references (sadly, many out of print even at the time of publication) noting their particular strengths and what to beware. Finally, the back cover includes a quartet of well-know wartime colour photos of crash-landed and derelict '109s that give a fine impression of the colour schemes seen at the war's end.
Brett Green does a very good job in navigating the veritable minefield of late war Bf 109s and their colours, and this is a really useful reference for anyone modelling both '109s and and Luftwaffe fighters in general. My only regret is not having had access to a copy before now, because there have been many occasions during my builds in the decade since it first appeared where it would have proved a great help. Recommended.
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Highs: A very useful overview of late war Bf 109s and Luftwaffe camouflage and markings. An excellent selection of original photos, walkaround shots and artwork.Lows: The 1:48 scale drawings would be more useful if they included topand bottom views.Verdict: Ten years after its publication, Brett Green's book still more than warrants its place in any collection of Luftwaffe references.
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...