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Monday, December 28, 2009

Collecting - World War Two Aircraft 1/48 scale die cast

Another of my time consuming hobbies is collecting 1/48 scale World War II die cast aircraft. it is something that I started doing years and years ago, and to this day I am still interested and find it exciting when I can find a quality product such as this Messerschmitt 109 E which was manufactured by Carousel 1. I say was because Carousel is going out of business and it is really unfortunate as they manufactured some of the most intricate and authentic aircraft of any of the companies out there., rivaled only by Armour, and in my estimation, Carousel's attention to authenticity and detail is unrivaled.

This particular aircraft, "Emil" was one that I admired from afar for over a year and didn't purchase until very recently because of price. But since the announcement of their demise, suddenly the remaining stock has been going at amazingly good prices and this one is just too cool to have passed on.
Although you really can't see well enough to appreciate the intricate detail, believe me, it is there! The pitot tube, the radio antenna, a canopy that opens to reveal the pilot and all the instrumentation, an authentic Battle of Britain paint scheme - this baby has everything in great detail.

One of the things I look for in buying a die cast model is whether it is fashioned after an actual aircraft with a fascinating story to go with it. This ME-109 was a member of JG 3, flew in September 1940 by Oberleutnant Franz Von Werra.

Von Werra became famous as "the one that got away" and became the subject of a best seller and two movies. He was a German ace whose escape exploits were far more exciting than his brief career as a fighter pilot. On 5 September 1940, Spitfires shot down Von Werra's 109 over Kent as he escorted bombers attacking the Royal Air Force at Biggin Hill. He crash landed and was quickly captured. In late September Von Werra was sent to a POW camp at Grizedale Hall in Lancashire and began planning an escape. On October 7 he slipped away from an exercise party without being noticed by the guards. Von Werra eluded pursuit for six cold rainy days on the barren hills of the Lake District. Recaptured in Cumberland, he was sent to another POW camp at Swanwick in Derbyshire. Immediately he began to tunnel with several other prisoners. On the night of 17 December five Germans escaped through the tunnel. Four were soon captured. Von Werra posed as a Dutchman flying with the RAF and attempted to steal a British fighter. He bluffed his way past Scotland Yard investigators and into Hucknall Aerodrome on 21 December. More bluff got him into the cockpit of a new Hurricane II fighter with a mechanic to start his engine. Moments before take off, an RAF officer apprehended him at gunpoint. Von Werra and other German POW's were sent via ship to Canada. In late January, Von Werra jumped from a fast moving POW train southwest of Montreal and headed south for the St. Lawrence River, the border between Canada and neutral United States. He managed to cross the frozen river near Ogsdenburg, NY and turned himself in to the first policeman he found. American reporters were charmed by "Baron" Von Werra's bravado and fluent English, and his escape made headlines across the USA and Germany. Canada attempted to extradite him, but the German Consul in NY assisted him to return to Germany via Mexico, Brazil and Italy. Hitler awarded him the Knight's Cross. He joined the invasion of Russia in July and ran his score to 21 victories. Posted to the Dutch coast, on 25 October 1941, his luck ran out and his 109's engine failed. Franz Von Werra fell into the North Sea.


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