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Gentlemen, Display Your Engines!

Daimler-Benz DB 605 Engines on Bf 109G Aircraft

n by Rafi Ben-Shahar

With the current trend of adding ever more detail, exposed engines are right in the centre of interest. A prime example of this phenomenon are the German Daimler Benz engines. The DB 605 in particular was the power source for late-war models of the ubiquitous and versatile Messerschmitt Bf 109 and consequently, has been well treated in the available literature and drawings. Also, many aftermarket manufacturers have provided this engine as detailing accessory for  Bf 109 kits in all scales.

With the abundance of such sets, modellers who are interested to display an open engine on their models can do so with convincing results. Here, I present three Bf 109G models with three different engine castings.

The first model is a Bf 109G-2 with a Verlinden detailing resin kit. This set has been issued many ears ago, and when it appeared it was really the only game in town. At the time it also represented the state of the art of model detailing.

Unlike what the manufacturer suggests, this set is actually quite difficult to build. Nevertheless it contains interesting features such as open ventral hatch. The main problem with the engine is the idea of exposing it all with all cowling panels in fully opened. It looks good in theory - you saw-off the cowling panels, install the engine and then re-attach the cowlings in open position, retaining an excellent view of the exposed engine.

In practice I had a big trouble with correctly aligning all the panels around the built-in engine. At the point of accurately aligning the moveable prop boss I gave up, but managed with the rest of it so that the finished model looks pretty good anyway.

The important approach tpo these detailing projects was to utilize a cheap Bf 109 kit as platform. Hence, I used the Hobbycraft model, which is accurate in dimensions, but quite poor in details. Areas not covered by the Verlinden set were therefore enhanced with scratchbuilt parts and spares from the more expensive Hasegawa kit.

The second model is a Bf 109G-6 from an old Fujimi kit with Aires detailing set. You may wonder why intermix such polarities in quality? Well, I simply liked the "over-engineered" rivets of the Fujimi Bf 109. Yet I paid a heavy price in terms of scratchbuilding and modifying parts to make the model reasonably accurate. The Aires kit is a gem. With hindsight, I avoided the inevitable grief when attaching panels by leaving the engine completely exposed.

The third model presented is an old Revell/Monogram Bf 109G-10 with a HiTech resin engine. This kit is favoured by many modellers in spite of its age and crude cockpit arrangement. Naturally, I replaced the cockpit interior with spares from Hasegawa kit and some scratchbuilt details. In addition, I separated the flying surfaces to represent a drop characteristic of parked aircraft.

Since the details of the engine were relatively sparse, I had to attach the cowling panels to create an illusion of real life. This proved to be a chore, but the result is visually most pleasing.

Summarizing, exposed engines are not for everyone. But if you are really into examining the limits of your modelling skills, there is good reason to give it a try.

Additional images, click to enlarge


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