Messerschmitt Me 209V1

Kit:Special Hobby, 1/72; bought for €12 in 2018. Model finished on 2019-12-12.
Aircraft:"D-INJR", the first prototype, around the time of its record flight in April 1939.
Messerschmitt Me 209V1 in 1/72

Heinkel He 178V1 in 1/72

Messerschmitt Me 209V1 in 1/72

Heinkel He 178V1 in 1/72

The Messerschmitt Me 209V1, piloted by Messerschmitt's chief test pilot Fritz Wendel, captured the world speed record on April 26th, 1939, reaching a speed of 469 mph. This record, for piston-engined aircraft, stood for more than 30 years; in August 1969 Darryl Greenamyer achieved the speed of 483 mph in a modified F8F Bearcat. Of course, as an absolute speed record, Wendel's achievement only lasted for less than two years, broken in a Messerschmitt Me 163A rocked-powered fighter prototype. The Me 209 was not the fastest piston-engined aircraft of World War 2, however: for example, the Do 335 and the XP-72 were faster. Presumably the pursuit of official world records during wartime has a low priority.

The Me 209 was used by the Nazi proaganda machinery, presented as "Me 109R" to connect it with the Bf 109 fighter. The Me 209V4, the fourth prototype, was intended as a fighter, with machine guns and a longer, redesigned wing. The project was ultimately unsuccessful, since the aircraft was essentially designed for a single purpose, to break the speed record, and featured unwieldy details such as an evaporative steam cooling system.

The remains of the first prototype and record-breaker are now at the Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow.

Messerschmitt Me 209V1 in 1/72

Heinkel He 178V1

D-INJR at the Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow, in September 2006

Construction Notes

I originally started an Me 209V1 model using the old Huma kit, but once Special Hobby published their kit it made no sense to continue with the older kit. I ended up using some parts from the Huma kit, however. A brief review of the Special Hobby kit can be found in [6].

The kit is accurate and offers good detail for the cockpit and for the wheel wells. Construction of the kit is a bit awkward, making the mating of the wing to the fuselage a challenge; the problem is the part that forms the "ceiling" of the wheel wells. Some putty was also needed to fill the gap at the wing root (see picture below).

The kit comes with excellent cockpit detail, but I did add photo-etch seatbelts. The propeller, spinner, and main gear struts came from the Huma kit. I took weighted wheels/tires from the Airfix Bf 109E-7, because their tread is better than either the Special Hobby or the Huma kit offer.

I painted the aircraft overall with Tamiya XF-50 Field Blue, making the somewhat educated guess that it closely matches RLM 24 Dunkelblau (and that, indeed, that was the color of the original aircraft; the specimen at the Polish Aviation Museum is badly faded and only gives a rough approximation as to the original color). The red stripe in the tail, with the white circle, was painted by first airbrushing a white stripe, then covering the circle with a mask cut from Tamiya masking tape with the computer-controlled Cricut cutter.

Special Hobby's decals were brittle, so I had to first treat them with Liquid Decal Film, after which I had no problems. These decals were much better than Huma's, which were very thick and somewhat inaccurate based on photo evidence. The swastika in the tail came from a generic Superscale sheet of various sizes and colors of swastikas.

To finish the model, I sprayed it overall with a 2:5 mix of Testors' Dullcote/Glosscote. Weathering is almost nonexistent.

Messerschmitt Me 209V1 in 1/72

Wing roots filled

Messerschmitt Me 209V1 in 1/72

Using masking tape to help fill the seams of the canopy

References Used

  1. Air International June 1986
  2. Air Racer, The (Mendenhall); Specialty Press 1992
  3. German Aircraft Interiors 1935-1945, Vol.1 (Merrick); Monogram Aviation Publications 1996
  4. German Aircraft Landing Gear (Sengfelder); Schiffer 1995
  5. Messerschmitt Me 209V1 (Myhra); X-Planes of the Third Reich; Schiffer 2001
  6. Scale Aviation Modeller Volume 25 Issue 9; September 2019 (pp.52-53)
  7. Warplanes of the Third Reich (Green); Galahad Books 1990

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