Operation Bodenplatte (Baseplate), launched on 1 January 1945, was an attempt by the Luftwaffe to cripple Allied air forces in the Low Countries during the Second World War. The goal of Bodenplatte was to gain air superiority during the stagnant stage of the Battle of the Bulge so that the German Army and Waffen-SS forces could resume their advance. The operation was planned for 16 December 1944, but was delayed repeatedly due to bad weather until New Year’s Day, the first day that happened to be suitable.
The operation achieved some surprise and tactical success, but was ultimately a failure. A great many Allied aircraft were destroyed on the ground but replaced within a week. Allied aircrew casualties were quite small, since the majority of Allied losses were grounded aircraft. The Germans, however, lost many pilots who could not be readily replaced.
Post-battle analysis suggests only 11 of the Luftwaffe's 34 air combat Gruppen (groups) made attacks on time and with surprise. The operation failed to achieve air superiority, even temporarily, while the German ground forces continued to be exposed to Allied air attack. Bodenplatte was the last large-scale strategic offensive operation mounted by the Luftwaffe during the war.
I was initially a little disappointed with the rather impressive looking instruction booklet. Although the build and marking guide is superb, there was no background information about Operation Bodenplatte. But in the colour and marking guide there are some really informative descriptions of the individual aircraft and pilots and their fate during the raid on the 1st January 1945. All but two of the aircraft featured in the marking options were shot down by anti-aircraft fire. One aircraft was brought down by a bird strike. Three pilots were killed and four taken prisoner. Although the operation was a failure there is no doubt about the bravery of the pilots.
The cover has an impressively atmospheric illustration with the two protagonists and evidence of the havoc they wreaked during the raid. Inside the box are some wonderfully detailed plastic parts for both the Fw 190 D-9 and the Bf 109G-14/14AS. Its always good to see photo etched parts and the paint masks are a bonus. The instruction manual looks impressive being A4 size and containing 32 pages.
Fw 190 D-9
Eduards Fw 190 D-9 was first released as a new tool back in 2009 and looking at the detail it still looks as fresh as a daisy. Detail is excellent and there is no flash and just the tiniest of evidence in places of mould marks. The distinctive version of the Fw 190 family with its long nose housing an inline inverted V-12 Junkers Jumo engine is built up from:
●5 x grey plastic sprues
●1 x clear plastic sprue
●1 x sheet of paint masks
●1 x pre-coloured photo etched fret.
●1 x sheet of water slide stencils
There are fourteen plastic parts that make up the cockpit. As usual with Eduard there are three ways of dealing with the cockpit. Use the detail moulded on the plastic, use the supplied decals or sand of the moulded detail and use the pre-coloured photo etched parts [PCPE]. The cockpit is built around a tub to which the seat, part of the instrument panel, side panels, central console, control stick and rudder pedals are added. Love them or hate them the PCPE parts which includes a seat harness adds extra depth to the detail.
The canopy can be posed open or closed. There are three grey plastic parts to add forming the head rest and support. There are two styles of support for the two types of canopy Eduard has supplied, so be careful which one applies to your chosen marking option.
The fuselage is split left and right. There are no panels cut out which is great if you like a clean quick build. The breech cover is a separate item and there is a fair bit of detail around the cannon bay included if you want to leave the cover off. The cover differs in appearance depending on the marking option you choose. So you may need to scribe in a panel line and drill small holes, so check the instructions. Under the cannon bay there is a huge amount of detail around the supercharger that’s at the rear of the engine firewall. The reason for its inclusion is that it is visible through the main wheel bay. I’m not going to count the number of parts detailing both the cannon bay and around the supercharger, there are so many. There are no PE parts as far as I can see. The completed cockpit, cannon and supercharger unit as well as exhaust and tail wheel must be fitted before the fuselage halves are joined. The exhaust pipes are nicely done and even have the mould mark around the joint of the individual pipes. The large supercharger on the starboard side is one piece and fits into the very obvious recess in the fuselage.
The nose of the aircraft containing the annular radiators is made up from four parts. The detail representing the radiator is superb and well worth highlighting. There is the option of displaying the radiator door open or closed. The magnificent looking prop is one piece onto which is added a spinner and back plate. There is some signs of shrinkage on the rear of the prop blades. The rudder is separate and made as one piece.
The wing is made up of a one piece full span lower part and two piece upper. The inside of the upper wings halves has some raised detail where the undercarriage bay is situated. There are a fair number of parts to add to the undercarriage bay and there is an opening in the upper wing root to show the detail in the gun bay. You need to pay attention to the instruction here as there are various different parts depending on whether you want to display the gun bay open or not. There is also a bit of trimming involved if you are displaying the hatches closed. In the undercarriage bay there is a large detailed length of the wing spar that forms the rear wall of the bay. There are some undercarriage braces to fit and the wing root cannon barrels passing through the bay will make the area pretty busy looking. The elevators are separate one piece items, they feature slightly raised rib taping on them.
Each of the tail wings are one piece and the elevators feature the same style of raised detail representing the rib tape as on the elevators.
The tail wheel is built up from three pieces, the wheel being one piece. The main gear looks very good made up completely of plastic parts, no PE. The detail looks good and Eduard seems to have captured the leggy look of the real thing nicely. One of the wheels has a slight shrinkage mark on the rim of the hub; just put it down to some rough handling. There are two styles of wheel: one with treaded tyres and the other with slicks. There are paint masks for the hubs. The retraction gear is included and that helps to replicate the angle that the oleo is set. All you need to worry about is setting the one piece wheels correctly at 8° from the line of the oleo.
The instructions mention only fitting the belly fuel tank although there is a bomb included.
Marking options include:
[A] Fw 190D-9, W. Nr. 210079,
flown by Lt. Theo Nibel, 10./JG 54, Varrelbusch, Germany, January 1st, 1945
[B] Fw 190D-9, W. Nr.210194,
Fw. Werner Hohenberg, Stab I./JG 2, Merzhausen, Germany January 1st, 1945
[C] Fw 190D-9, W. Nr. 500093,
flown by Ogefr. Dieter Kragelöh, 3./JG 26, Fürstenau, Germany, January 1st, 1945
[D] Fw 190D-9, W. Nr. 600161,
flown by Gefr. Hans-Karl Götz, 7./JG 26, Plantlünne, Germany,
January 1st, 1945
The late war Luftwaffe markings are always interesting. Added interest with options ‘C’ and ‘D’ are the wing panels under the wings that are left bare metal.
Eduards Bf109 G-14 is a recent release and received many plaudits for its quality. The G-14/AS is the high altitude version of the fighter featuring the larger super charger air intake. Eduard has included a separate sprue containing the fuselage of the G-14/AS. This release features:
●5 x grey plastic sprues
●2 x clear plastic sprues
●1 x sheet of paint masks
●1 x pre-coloured photo etched fret
●1 x small non coloured photo etched fret
●1 x sheet of waterslide decals
The cockpit is a good mix of plastic and photo etched [PE] parts. There are around sixteen plastic parts detailing the cockpit. The detail on the plastic parts is first rate, but you have the option of using the pre-coloured photo etched parts [PCPE]. There around fifteen PCPE’s not including the four PCPE’s for the instrument panel. There are also PCPE seat harnesses too. If you don’t fancy highlighting the detail on the plastic parts or using the PCPE’s then there are decals for the instrument panel.
All the Gustavs featured have the Erla Haube clear view canopy. The canopy can be displayed open, it’s hinged on the right side. There is even a PE part that represents the cable limiter to prevent the canopy from opening too far.
The fuselage is split traditionally with left and right halves. The panel with the gun troughs and the rudder and fin are separate. The chin radiator is also separate and features PE or detailed plastic radiator faces. There are three choices of rudder depending so you need to pay attention which one is utilised for the chosen marking option. The gun blisters of the G-14 are separate as are the gun barrels. The supercharger intakes for both types are created from two parts. The exhausts are separate and there are two types with or without the flare shield. The impressive one piece prop has separate spinner and back plate.
The wings feature a one piece lower wing. The upper halves feature upper and lower wing tips. The control surfaces slats, ailerons and flaps are separate. The radiators are separate and you have the option of using PE or the detailed plastic radiator faces. The separate radiator flaps is a nice touch. The undercarriage bays are detailed and there are four parts to create the walls and roof. The walls feature folds replicating the leather that was used on the real thing. The tail wings are both made from two parts and the elevators are each one piece. The flying surfaces including the rudder feature raised detail.
The undercarriage includes one piece treaded tyres with separate hubs. There are paint masks for hubs. The three piece tail wheel includes a one piece wheel. The unit is fitted after the fuselage halves are joined.
An underbelly fuel tank is included. There are numerous aerials to fit made from plastic or PE parts.
I built Eduards quarter scale BF 109 G-14 using over trees and found it an enjoyable and satisfying experience. It does together pretty easily, check out the build review here.
There are four marking options including:
[E] Bf 109 G-14/U4, W. Nr. 512335,
flown by Othmar Heberling, 2./JG 77, Dortmund, Germany, January 1st, 1945
[F] Bf 109G-14, W. Nr. 781183,
flown by Uffz. Werner Zetzschke, 4./JG 4, Darmstadt - Griesheim, Germany, January 1st, 1945
[G] Bf 109 G-14/AS, W. Nr. 784986,
flown by Ofw. Paul Schwerdtfeger, 11./JG 6 Bissel, Germany, January 1st, 1945
[H] Bf 109G-14/AS, W. Nr. 784993,
flown by Uffz. Herbert Maxis, 13./JG 53, Stuttgart - Echterdingen, Germany, January 1st, 1945
Decals are printed by Eduard. There are three sheets altogether, two of which are stencils for both aircraft. Markings for both aircraft are found on the larger sheet. Spinner spirals are included as are full swastikas.Colour and registration looks very good and the carrier film is kept to a minimum.
The thirty page build guide for both aircraft is easy enough to follow, but you need to pay attention to the detail as aircraft vary somewhat. The coloured paint guide is useful, but does need careful study particularly with the variation of the late Luftwaffe colours. Eduard use Gunze Sangyo and Mission Models paint brands as a guide to colours as well as using RLM colour references.
Eduard has some of the best tooling technicians of any model company and it really shows with these two kits. Although the moulds for the D-9 are now ten years old now the detail and crispness is still excellent. The Bf 109 G-14 well there has been enough plaudits an accolades on the quality of this release I’m just going to add my name to the long list. Eduards Limited Editions are hugely popular and this release has already sold out on their website.