Current Location: Private Collector
Originally designed in the early 1930’s, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 first saw action during the Spanish Civil War. By the break of World War II, it had become the primary fighter plane of the German Luftwaffe and accounted for 57% of all German produced fighters. Modifications to the design that continued production until April of 1945, allowed the Messerschmitt to remain competitive with the latest Allied fighters throughout the conflict. With a total production of 33,984 units, the Bf 109 goes down in history as the most produced fighter aircraft of all time. The "E" variant of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was introduced in late 1938. A notable revision from previous versions was a squared-off canopy, which gave greater visibility to the pilot and was easier to produce. Of the many variants, the Bf 109 E-4 showcased in this scale model aircraft, as well as the E-1 experienced most of the action during the Battle of Britain. A total of 339 E-4's reported for duty during this conflict and were responsible for escorting bombers from bases located in the Netherlands, Germany and northern France.
A renowned group of aces piloted the Messerschmitt, 105 of which were credited with 100 or more victories. From this group, thirteen pilots totalled more than 200 victories, while Gerhard Barkhorn and Erich Hartmann have astounding victory tallies of 301 and 352 respectively. Needless to say, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 is credited with more aerial victories than any other aircraft. Adolf Galland flew this machine during the Battle of Britain, where he was originally assigned as Gruppenkommandeur of fighter wing III/JG26 based in Pas de Calais, France. By this time, Galland had already achieved the ace status, having accumulated 14 victories in the previous French campaign. The particulars of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4, referenced in this scale model aircraft (W.Nr.5819), belong to the plane he flew between September 1940 and April 1941. During the intense combat of this period, aerial victories, promotions, and decorations came rapidly for Adolf Galland. By November of 1940 he had already recorded his 50th victory against a Spitfire, a tally that amounted to 104 by the end of World War II.
Adolf Galland may have been one of the most charismatic German pilots. Amidst the controversy, his machine (W.Nr.5819) was equipped with a cigar holder and lighter. As depicted in the scale model aircraft photos below, the fuselage was painted with his personal insignia, a Mickey Mouse cartoon smoking a cigar and holding a hatchet. An insignia used since his early flying days during the Spanish Civil War. Note that the particulars of this scale model aircraft do not include the telescope on Gallands windscreen, as this feature was installed after September of 1940. On a more civilized level, when his JG26 squadron captured British ace pilot Douglas Bader, a double amputee who lost both his artificial legs in the ordeal, Galland arranged for an RAF aircraft to safely fly over France and airdrop a spare set of wooden legs. The two went on to become lifelong friends.
For this project, I used Hasegawa's 1/32 scale model aircraft of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 that carried markings for Adolf Galland's legendary plane. I also used several aftermarket parts which included a resin cockpit, landing gear, machine guns, interior and exterior photo-etch parts. Enjoy the photos.