1/72 Messerschmitt BF (Big Fat) 113  

by Brian da Basher

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Silly Week 2007

 

During 1940 and 1941, the Republic P-47 was in development. Rumors of its heavy armament and incredible performance tempted many foreign powers to try and get their hands on the top-secret plans. The Nazi government mounted an effort through their master spy and American Embassy Air Attache, Col. Franz Von Krammp. Col. Von Krammp was able to get a copy of the plans for the P-47 which were quickly sent to Germany. Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering immediately ordered the Messerschmitt works to drop everything and produce a copy of the P-47 in large numbers. Fortunately for the Free World, the Nazis got it all wrong. The Americans had managed to mix plans for the Grenville Bros.' Gee-Bee racer in with the detail work on the P-47 that Nazi agents had stolen. By 1942, the Luftwaffe found its fighter squadrons armed with the new aircraft, the Messerschmitt BF (Big Fat) 113. This aircraft (like Goering) was horribly overweight, and while very heavily armed with eight .50 caliber guns, it was terribly unmanoeverable and a virtual deathtrap in combat for those who flew it. Reichsmarschall Goering refused to see the error of his decision and even greater numbers of BF-113 were produced in 1943. This aircraft was universally hated by its pilots and earned the name "Totenkampf" or "Death Struggle". The example pictured here was flown by Uffz. Heinrich Verschlunken who defected in disgust and landed his BF (Big Fat)-113 on a British coastal airfield in early 1944. Only one example exists today, in pieces housed in an old shed near the remains of the Messerschmitt works.  

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The kit is a 1/48 scale Testor's Gee Bee racer. While comparing it to an old build of a  1/72 Lindberg P-47 Thunderbolt, the idea hit me. The Testor's Co. in their wisdom have all the decal placements for the Gee Bee etched into the kit so you can't go wrong should you actually want to build it to look like the picture on the box. A bottle of correction fluid "liberated" from the office came to the rescue and I was able to fill in the offending etched markings. The markings on the wings were raised oddly enough and I was able to sand them off with no trouble. The only other modifications I made to this kit were adding retracted landing gear and swapping out the prop with a 4 bladed one, all parts from spares. I added the wing guns and a rudimentary cockpit which for some reason I decided to paint black. The kit was painted by hand using mostly Testor's Acrylics. The undersides were painted in Light Gull Gray and the splinter camo on the uppers was painted in Dark Gull and Dark Ghost Gray. I used Tamiya Aluminum on the prop and Tamiya Gunmetal on the engine and guns. The tires and cockpit were painted with Windsor-Newton Artist Acrylics Mars Black. The decals were all from my collection of spares. 

Brian

Photos and text by Brian da Basher