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Once upon a time, not really all that long ago, it was commonly believed that there was a variant of the Bf 109 G-10 fitted with the DB605AS engine. In fact, quite a number of books included reference to the “Bf 109 G-10/AS”.

This was a fair assumption based on examination of wartime photos. A number of very late-war Bf 109 G-10s were observed with the streamlined “asymmetrical” cowl but without the characteristic lower chin bulges. These aircraft also shared another trait – the crescent-shaped fairing on the fuselage side below the port side of the canopy was substituted with a simple, flat rectangular panel.

Subsequent research uncovered the true story. These aircraft were powered by the DB605D engine like the rest of the Bf 109 G-10 family. However, they were the subject of an attempt at the Messerschmitt Erla production facility to further streamline the front end of the bulging fighter.

The oil cooler was made wider and shallower, and the plumbing was redesigned. This led to a new wider and shallower oil cooler housing, and permitted the lines of the lower forward cowl to be smoothed, eliminating the cheek bulges. The main cowl contours were modified too, as were various panels. This, in turn, led to different shapes for the gun troughs. A new, larger supercharger intake was installed. The squared-off port-side fairing was another key identifying factor.

Luftwaffe researcher Jean-Claude Mermet labelled this the “Type 110 cowl”. This was not a Luftwaffe designation, but is a convenient way to name the cowl in the absence of an official designation. These days, the type is more commonly referred to as Bf 109 G-10 Erla.

In can be argued that the Erla-built G-10 was the ultimate Bf 109. It was lighter in weight, more streamlined and actually performed better than the Bf 109 K-4, making it the fastest of all the Messerschmitt Bf 109s.

It would appear that all Erla built Bf 109G-10s had the tall tail, but photos show that they could be fitted with every possible combination of short/tall tailwheel strut and narrow/wide wheels and upper wing bulges. Early Erla G-10s also had the canopy-mounted antenna mast.

Brand: Revell
Product name: Messerschmitt Bf109G-10 Erla “Bubi” Hartmann
Product number: 04888
Scale: 1:32
Type: Full kit
Includes: Plastic sprues, Waterslide decals, Clear parts
Released: 2014 | Rebox (Updated/New parts)
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