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HobbyCraft's 1/48 scale
Messerschmitt Bf 109B-2

by Jean Gratton


Messerschmitt Bf 109B "Bertha"


Academy's Messerschmitt Bf 109D is available online from Squadron 



The Messerschmitt bf 109 B-2 is probably the least known model of the 109 family.

Better known to its pilots as the Bertha, it was Germany’s first modern fighter to enter service. A monoplane with retractable landing gear, it still retained the lighter armament of earlier biplane fighters while the power was provided by a 600hp-carbureted version of the Junker Jumo 611 engine.

Regardless of its power and armament shortcomings the Bertha re-established the balance of power when it entered the Spanish civil war. It is on this aircraft that many of Germany’s “Expertens” honed the skills and techniques that would serve them so well later on.





HobbyCraft's Kits

HobbyCraft released a series of 109’s in the early 1990s. First the Jumo engined B, C and D types then later, the more common, E-1 thru E-7 series. Straight out of the box these kits build into a fairly good representation of the E model. However things get a little complicated if you want an accurate replica of the early types. The problems comes from the fact that HobbyCraft, in an effort to produce all these variants from the same basic moulds, have overlooked the specific details of each type. In most cases this is limited to misplaced or omitted panel lines, but in others it is a little more flagrant.


The cockpit is one such area, in the excellent book from A-J press there is a drawing showing a completely different layout of the starboard side. Hobbycraft unfortunately molded this just the same as their later variant. I had planned to use the Edward PE set but since they committed the same mistake I decided the scratchbuild the missing details.

Additions and Modifications

Here are some of the details added overall:

  • Scratchbuilt Revi gun sight.

  • Added a retaining wire for the canopy.

  • Painted the interior frames of the canopy.

  • Added short exhaust stubs to the Edward PE parts.

  • Opened the engine vent showing a mockup of the engine block.

  • Detailed the prop hub and central section of spinner



  • Rescribed and relocated panel lines and vents.

  • Added brake lines.

  • Relocated the horizontal stabilizers.

  • Detailed tail wheel.

  • Added tie down rings and wing tip lights.


Painting and Markings

The markings I chose came from AeroMasters sheet 48-459 ¨The Spanish Civil War ¨ part 2 and depict the airplane flown by Uffz. Wilhelm Staege of 2.J/88. Its splinter camouflage was a nice change from the uniform scheme normally associated with the B-2 of the Spanish conflict. Good photographs and a colour profile of this aircraft can be found in Classic publication’s “ Luftwaffe Colours Volume One
Section 2”.

Since these airframes where relatively new I decided from the onset that weathering would be kept to a minimum, so no preshading techniques where used. Photos show the planes in good condition and, being the pride of the Luftwaffe, they would have been meticulously cared for by their crew.

At this point I had to hit the reference books because as I checked out the F.S. equivalent to RLM 63 I actually found two different colours. Aren’t references great! One colour being a light grey the other a greenish grey that looked a lot like RLM 02. The answer came from Monogram’s Luftwaffe painting guide, and it quotes that RLM 02 was originally introduced as RLM 63 and latter replaced it.


The light grey was use on the 61/62/63 camouflage patterns used on bombers and may have been used on the single colour scheme applied to other B-2’s while the green-grey was used in the 62/63 patterns. I’m no expert in Luftwaffe colours and don’t pretend to be but this seemed to me like a very plausible explanation to this enigma. So in the end I decided to use Gunze H70 RLM 02 in lieu of RLM 63 and Testors Acryl RLM 62 & 65.

A gloss coat of Future floor wax was sprayed on in preparation for the decals and Microscale’s setting solutions where used to conform them to the surface. As usual with AeroMasters products they performed flawlessly and because of the collaboration between the latter and Classic publications they accurately represent the subject in the photographs, which in unfortunately not always the case for AeroMaster's.





As you can see the HobbyCraft kit can be made into an accurate replica of the original. I did make some additions but most of the changes made are well within the average modeller’s range when it comes to filling and adding panel lines or, even for the matter, making improvements to a cockpit. This is a pleasant kit to build with no major fit problems or any other vices, plus it is the only game in town.

So there, I finally have an early representation of the 109 to add to my showcase. It does look a little frail amongst its latter comrades but give a good idea of the evolution that these machines went through during the war.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images: 

Bf 109D/E Aces 1939–41
Aircraft of the Aces 11
Author: John Weal
Illustrator: John Weal
US Price:
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 November 15, 1996
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1855325969
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Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2005 by Jean Gratton
Page Created 27 January, 2005
Last Updated 27 January, 2005

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