Dragon 1/32 Messerschmitt Bf 110D "Nachtjager" of II./NJG 3
By John Alexander
Have you ever been looking through a book, or perhaps surfing the net and come across a photo(s) of an airplane that just grab you and make you say to yourself, "I MUST build that!"? Well, this is exactly what happened to me with this build. Earlier this year, I was searching around the web for photos of a suitable scheme for the Dragon 1/32 scale Bf 110C-7 kit that was in my stash. My intentions were to build a day-fighter with this earlier variant of the type, saving a nightfighter scheme for a possible 110G-4 kit/conversion. However, when I found this one photo, everything changed. I knew instantly that this was "the one".
After a bit of research, it was determined that this was actually a Bf 110D of NJG 3, based at Schleswig, most likely in 1941. Being that this is the only known photo of this particular aircraft, which is not the best quality and doesn't show much for markings, it was a bit of a challenge to come up with the rest. However, that also leaves a little more room for artistic license, which I certainly applied, but tried to keep it on a realistic level, based on references and photographs of other Bf 110s. The camouflage was based on the typical RLM 65/71/02 scheme, but with additional splinter added to the top in RLM 70 and, for the night intruder role, the undersurfaces being painted black. Being that I had the C kit and was trying to model a D, there were some parts that needed to be swapped and a fellow board member was gracious enough to help me out with that. Beyond that, here are some of the other additions and modifications that I made to the kit:
- Eduard "Zoom" set for the cockpit
- HGW seatbelts
- Quickboost exhaust pipes
- Eagle Cals decals (only used some of the stencils)
- The "Nachtjager" squadron shields were kindly donated by another fellow member and, aside from the few maintenance stencils, were the only decals used. All other markings were painted
- Montex Masks (used for most of the primary markings, as well as the inside and outside canopy masks) and a few of my own masks to cover what was not included, or wouldn't work, from the Montex set.
- Aber machined brass barrel set for the Bf 110
- Added the pneumatic lines to the belly MG/FF cannon tray from wire
- Various wiring/plumbing in the pilot's area of the cockpit
- Details from the Zoom set and some wire on the Revi reflector sight
- Grab handles and release lever added to the canopy from wire/plastic scrap
- Cut the leading edge slats from the wing (not separate in the kit) and modified them to the deployed position
- Removed canvas shroud form the rear gun and made a new shroud frame from scratch with wire/plastic
- Made the release cable along the fuselage for the life raft from fishing line and the eyelets that it runs through from wire
- Brake lines added from wire
- Antenna from E-Z Line
- Modified the prop blades slightly and added aluminum tubing to the center of the prop hub
The Dragon 110 kit is pretty well known by now, as it's been around for several years and many other great modelers here have built it (and I'm thankful for all their help along the way!). The kit itself is actually excellent. The amount of detail, the engineering and the fit are all top notch. The only issues I had with it (which were few and minor), were likely all self-inflicted. The biggest downfall of the kit is actually the instructions, which leave out a lot, or are just plain wrong in some spots and color call-outs are pretty much non-existent. However, corrections and additions are easily found on the web, from those who have built it. This was a great help and is probably the only thing that allowed me to finish this kit, start to finish, in about 21 days. I have to thank everyone who helped me out with this project, from all the parts/materials assistance, the research (especially Fernando Estanislau for contributing to the initial research thread!) and the encouragement and constructive comments along the way.
The WIP thread for this build can be found in the forums.
© John Alexander 2015
This article was published on Friday, December 11 2015; Last modified on Wednesday, February 01 2017