Messerschmitt Bf 109F
by Diego Cuquejo
The "F" version of the Messerchmitt 109 is undoubtedly the most stylized and equilibrate of all versions. During the spring of 1940, four cells of the E-4 model were modified to become the V21, V22, V23 y V24 prototypes.
These planes had a DB 601E engine, extended and rounded wing tips, a bigger propeller cowl which was an extension of the motor cowl. The supports of the stabilizers disappeared. The refined wing radiators and the retractile tail wheel improved the aerodynamics of the units.
As a standard armament this plane carried a 15-20 mm gun (according to the versions) which can shoot through the axis of the propeller and two 7,9 mm machine guns on the bonnet.
The F1 model was powered by a DB 610N engine. The one originally considered, the DB 601E, was still not available. It was essentially a F0, the only difference was the air intake of the supercharger. During February 1941 three Bf109 F1 crashed unexplainably.
As the engine reached a certain RPM, its vibration produced a resonance on the rudder structure, making it get loose during the flight. As a temporary solution, structural reinforcements were added to each side of the fuselage. All the F1's, as well as the F2's, carried them. On all later versions, this structural failure was internally corrected.
In April 1941, all squadrons started receiving the F2 units. The only difference with its predecessor is the new MG115/15 15 mm gun.
Adolph Galland piloted a couple of F2 with a special armament: two 20 mm guns on the wings (similar to the E series) and two 13 mm machine guns on the cowling. The fuel used in this case were 100 octanes.
The exterior of the F3 is identical to that of the F2 but it mounts a DB 601E engine. It was originally thought that the F3 had not been operational, but actual evidence proves that a reduced numbers of these units was delivered to JG2 and JG26 in the Channel front.
The standard armament of the F4 is a MG151/20 gun that shot through the axis of the propeller and two MG17 on the bonnet. The compressor intake was bigger, a protection-armor was added behind the pilot's seat as well as a armored glass in the cockpit.
The F5 and F6 units were used reconnaissance planes and they carried several photographic equipments, according to the different versions.
All four models are from Italeri in 1/72 scale. They have no modifications or additional details. The F2 belonging to Galland just has two guns produced with syringe needles cut to size.
This Italeri kit is good as regards size and shape; interior parts are really good for the scale and panels are very fine. Decals are crisp and very well printed. The only weakness is the complexity of the fuselage, since it is divided into several parts and we must be very careful if we want to properly align the rudder with the rest of the fuselage.
With the exception of this inconvenience, this is the best 1/72 "F" available on the market.
The F1 belongs to the Gruppe Kommodore II/JG 54. Its decoration is not the standard one composed by RLM 02 and RLM 61 for the upper surfaces and RLM 76 for lower surfaces and sides of the fuselage with a camouflage in RLM61 mottled with RLM02 and RLM60. The propeller cowl is painted 2/3 with RLM 70 and 1/3 with RLM 21. The front portion is painted in concentric circles with RLM 25 and 21. The tips of the lower wings as well as the fuselage band are RLM 27. Decals come from the decoration of Galland's F2 but conveniently modified. The badge for the squadron was taken from Tamiya's Bf 109 E3.
The F2 belongs to the III/JG53, located in Sobolevo, Russia in 1941, piloted by Lt. Jurgen Harder. The camouflage is mainly painted with RLM 76, with the front part of the fuselage painted with RLM and mottled with RLM 74. Behind the canopy and on the rudder it presents a slight mottle with RLM 74. The upper part of the wings carry the already known RLM 74 and 75 but it does not follow the traditional pattern. The tips of the lower wings, the bada of the fuselage and the lower part of the cowling in RLM27. The propeller cowl is painted 2/3 RLM70 and 1/3 RLM21. This decoration is taken from the Aeromaster 72-034 sheet.
The F2 belonging to Galland is very well reproduced by Italieri. It includes the modification introduced to the guns on the wings but omits those of the machine guns of the cowling. These can be easily produced with a small plastic part shaped with a filer.
RLM 74 and 75 was applied to all upper surfaces while RLM 76 was applied to all lower surfaces. The sides of the fuselage were painted with RLM 02 and mottled with 74 and 75.
The F4/R1 (picture 3) also carries the decoration proposed by Italeri, for the Staffel commander of the 10/JG2. It carries a standard camouflage RLM 74, 75 and 76, with the lower tips of the wings and the movable part of the rudder in RLM 21.
Messerschmitt Bf 109 in action part 2 - Squadron/Signal,1983