57 - Bf109 crash in Libyan Desert

Messerschmitt Bf109 E-7 Trop

Crash landing in the Libyan Desert

a diorama by Bjørn Jacobsen

Making the



to the

Bf109 Trop

The model was originally built as Black 3 of 2./JG27 (see the build on page 46)

This model (1/32) was just collecting dust on a shelf and was brought back to life as the

Yellow 4 in this diorama.

The first I did was to get rid of the rather special colour scheme on the Black 3 and replaced it with a more ordinary desert camouflage.

When the plane came to a standstill in the desert, it had, of course, several damages, some from the battle and some from the belly-landing on the rough desert ground.

As always, the plastic in the model is as thick as in a tank, and not suitable for creating authentic damages on an aircraft.

I needed far thinner skin and made holes in the model on which I glued thin metal sheets as a new skin.

This metal was taken from a tube of mayonnaise which I deliberated from the fridge - easy and very inexpensive.

I have been using this technique several times and if you want to see more details of this, you should visit page 46 (HOW-TO-DO-IT) were I answers some frequently asked questions about building dioramas and models

In the rudder and stabilisers, I drilled holes where the canvas had been ripped off.

The main undercarriages were removed.

The plane was re-painted,

new decals (#4) were applied, a little weathering was put on and I had a bona fide crash landed Messerschmitt.

I chose to leave the canopy intact after the landing.

From pictures I have seen from such landings in WWII, some pilots ejected the hinged canopy before landing.

This was a precaution if the plane should end upside-down and the canopy could not be opened.

In this case, the rear part of the canopy would also be gone.

Other pilots chose to land with the canopy intact.

I let my pilot belong to those (besides I think it looks better that way), but the hinges were broken and the mid part of the canopy fell down when it was opened.

One of the Luftwaffe JagdGeschwader that fought during Northern Africa campaign was JG 27.

Synonymous with the Afrika Korps and the campaign in North Africa, JG 27 provided Rommel’s army

with fighter protection for virtually the whole ‘roller coaster ride that was the war in the Libyan Desert

from 1941-43.

The JG27 was formed in 1939 (with Adolf Galland as CO of I.Gruppe) and saw considerable action both during the Battles of France and Britain, downing 146 aircraft in the latter campaign alone.

JG 27 was sent to North Africa in April 1941 and the Geschwader had an immediate impact on the campaign, which had up until then been dominated by the Allies.

Fighting against the Desert Air Force’s generally inferior Hawker Hurricanes and Curtiss P-40s, which were often flown by inexperienced and under-trained pilots, the German Bf 109s inflicted heavy losses, although serviceability in the harsh conditions and chronic fuel shortages greatly reduced the effectiveness of the Geschwader.

Totally, the JG 27 achieved 3.142 kills and lost 1,400 machines and 725 pilots between 1939 and 1945.

24 pilots of the squadron received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.

Of these nine pilots were awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross.

Three of them also received the Swords to the Knight’s Cross.

Hans-Joachim Marseille, the squadron’s ace, was also a winner of the Knight’s Cross with diamonds.

This award has only been awarded 27 times.

The Diorama

The diorama shows one of

the JG 27 aircraft which was

shot down over the Libyan Desert in 1941.

It is nothing dramatic about this incident - I just felt like making a desert diorama.

The pilot managed to put the plane down in more or less one piece and was picked up without any major injuries by a German patrol.

The day after, he was probably in the air again, fighting the Allied’s Hurricanes and P-40’s

The patrol car and the German soldiers:

The car is a German Steyr from Deutsches Afrikakorps (the German Africa Corps).

The model is a 1/35 from Tamiya, which was a real pleasure to build.

The colour was light brown/yellow – very close to the colour of the Libyan Desert.

The figures are a mix of old figures used in other dioramas plus a couple of new from the Steyr-kit.

The pilot is obvious a little groggy, but unhurt. The pilot is taken good care of from the German soldiers.


the base

As the base, I used a 50x50cm (20x20 inches) Styrofoam plate found in my garage.

Then I used a hand saw to shape the top of the Styrofoam the way I wanted the desert floor.

The next step was to cover the base with a thin layer of Papier Mache and use some small stones, some pebbles and some sand to create the desert surface.

I used thinned paper glue to bind the sand to the Papier Mache.

Then comes the painting.

The Lybian Desert is rather colour colourful with orange/yellow/red sand. 

I mixed acryl paint until I had

a colour I felt was right.

The paint was thinned and hand brushed to the sand and stones.

And last, I placed some bushes on the diorama, mostly for decoration.


The background is just a piece of cardboard on which I painted blue sky and sand dunes

And here has the Yellow 4 crashed

in the Libyan Desert:

- and then the German patrol arrived...

I hope you enjoyed this website!


Thank you for visiting!




Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments





Bjørn Jacobsen


January 2017