05 - BV 138 Der Fliegende Holzschuh

BV138 C-1 Der Fliegende Holzschuh

by Bjørn Jacobsen

Blohm & Voss BV 138 was, besides the

Fw 200 Condor, the most important

long-range maritime reconnaissance

plane in the Luftwaffe.

Once its teething troubles were over, the

BV 138 proved itself an effective patrol

aircraft able to absorb a considerable

amount of punishment from both nature

and the enemy.

It was a stable firing platform and its

guns had a good field of fire.

The long ranging cannon armament

proved effective.

Norway was becoming the principal

operating location for this type of

long-range maritime reconnaissance


In 1942, 44 BV 138 were operating from

northern Norwegian bases with the

following squadrons:

3./KüFlGr 906

1./SAGr 130

2./SAGr 130

3./SAGr 130

3./KüFlGr 406

Stab/KüFlGr 706

2./KüFlGr 706

From Norwegian bases the BV 138s

ranged over the North Atlantic and

Arctic Oceans, shadowing and attacking convoys bound for Russia.

On one occasion BV 138 shot down a Catalina over the Skagerrak and a Blenheim over the North Sea.

In a remarkable three-week deployment in the summer of 1943, the BV 138 operated from a base established on Novaya Zemlya (Soviet Territory) by crews from two German U-boats.

Based on the northern Norwegian coast, it was intensively used to find and shadow the allied convoys to Murmansk and Archangelsk. 

The Flying Clog was responsible for most of the initial convoy sightings and subsequent shadowing. 

Losses to enemy action were few, even when the allied started to strengthen the convoys with escort-carrier with Sea-Hurricanes.

It was the BV 138 which sighted and shadowed the infamous PQ 18 convoy. The PQ 18 was joined by the escort carrier HMS Avenger with 12 Sea Hurricanes.

One of the BV 138 was fighting a 90-minutes running battle with the Sea Hurricanes, yet, regaining its base though sorely damaged.

The BV 138 was powered by three 880hp diesel engines and could stay airborne for 18 hours. If necessary, it could rendezvous with German subs in the middle of the Atlantic to refuel with diesel.

It could master waves at 2,5 meter (12ft) and wind of 12m/s. And the BV 138 was by no means defenceless:  One 20mm MG151 cannon in nose turret, one 20mm in the hull tail and one 13mm in open position after the central engine, plus six 50kg bombs. It had a crew of six.

A total of 297 aircraft were built between 1938 and 1943

The model is a BV 138 C-1 (code 6I+DH)

from 1./SAGr.130 with winter camouflage,

based in Trondheim (Norway) in April 1944

Looking at the pictures above, it is easy to see why the plane got its nickname: The Flying Clog

The BV138-kit in 1:48 from MPM’s HML is made of pure resin

and it can be described in tree words: Big, Expensive and Heavy

Luckily, the fuselage is hollow, though the fuselage walls are

very thick. But the wings, booms, tail and all other bits and pieces

are solid resin.

The kit provides a cockpit which is all wrong.

It has a double control configuration (pilot and co-pilot), but in truth, theBV 138 had one pilot and a radio operator in the cockpit.

Behind the cockpit bulkhead was the navigator in addition to the tree gunners. All together a crew of six.

The two gun turrets (in the nose and in back in the fuselage) was vacuformed transparencies which not only had to be cut out from the plastic sheet, but also glued together as both turrets

were in two pieces.

Everyone who has tried this knows that it is not an easy task to fit and glue two vacumformed transparencies together.

I had to partly rebuild the cockpit to make room for the radio operator and place the radio equipment on the starboard side.

Of course, all this had to be built from scratch. 

I planned to pace the model in take-off mode in high seas.

I therefore have to build the pilot and the radio operator

and place them in the cockpit

The real challenge with this model was

to glue the wings,booms and tail


It was almost impossible to do this

without some serious help.

It was not before I found my biggest

clamps that I managed to glue the big

and heavy parts together! I have never

seen anything like this in all the years

I have been building models!

The next problem,

of course, was to fill

all the pits and

cracks with putty

and sanding the

whole construction.

Then there was time

for priming and

camouflage painting.

The manual in the

kit says to use

RLM 71/72/65 at the

camouflage paint. 

This is wrong.

The maritime colours

on a German sea-

plane were RLM

72/73/65, and this is

what I am going to


First I used the Kryon

Fusion which bonds

very well to both

resin and plastic.

Before using the

Fusion, it had to be

decanted to be used

in the airbrush.

Then I put on a layer

of Alcad Aluminum.

The reason for this is

that when chipping

the camouflage

paint, I would reach

the aluminium and

create å realistic

chipping effect.

Then the first layer

of the camouflage


The plane had a

splinter camouflage

in RLM72 and


Both of these colours

are green, but RLM72 a little more grey

(and darker) than the RLM73.

I, therefore used the RLM73 as the first


Then I painted the slightly darker

RLM72 as part of the splinter


As the last of the camouflage


I applied the Light Blue RLM65

on the lower part of the plane.

Then I used Johnson Future

on the whole plane.

Both pending the decals,

but also because the maritime

colours RLM72/73 was much

glossier than the colours used

on land-based aircraft.

After the summer camouflage

was in place, I used a white

paint to give the plane her

winter look.

The white paint was applied

by the ground crew, who often

used whatever paint they

could get hold of, probably

bought at the nearest hardware


After being used in artic

weather for months,

all the paints, at

least in the fuselage, looked

very worn and dirty.

The decals was another

problem since I was building

a specific airplane, I had to

make the codes to fit the


I therefore used the PropBlur

(two 3-blades and one 4-blades)

propellers to illustrate the

spinning propellers.

The unusually big and heavy

model is now ready:

Two-pound, six ounce

(more than 1 kilo),

a wingspan of 58cm (23”),

40cm (16”) long and a

height of 12.5cm (5”)


Seeaufklärungsgruppe 130

Example of RLM color chart, adjusted for different modelling scales

This BV 138 definitely needs a good base.

Inspired by the picture at the very top of this page, I decided to place the plane in a take-off position in rough seas.

The first I did was to find a

suitable plate as a fundament.

I used a wooden plate,

about 40x50cm and then

covered it in paper Mache

to sculpt the seas.

At speed, the plane throws

up a lot of water and I cut

and placed a styrene

sheet as a base for the

sea spray.

Then everything was painted

with acryl paint and all

surfaces were covered with

Woodland Scenics

Realistic Water to give it a

wet look.

And then it was just to place

(no glue) the model on top

of the waves to give the

impression of a dramatic


An artist's view of the take-off

I hope you enjoyed this website! Thank you for visiting!

Please do not hesitate to ask if you have questions


Bjørn Jacobsen

March 2014

  Time machine...

Blohm & Voss BV138

Machinery: Three Junkers

Jumo 205D diesel engines rated at 880hp each

Armament: 2x20mm MG 151 cannons, 1x13mm MG 131 machine guns, 3x7.92mm MG 15 machine guns; optional 500kg of bombs or space for 10 passengers

Crew: 6

Span: 26.94 m

Length: 19.85 m

Height: 6.60 m

Wing Area: 112.00 m²

Weight, Empty: 8,100 kg

Weight, Loaded: 14,700 kg

Speed, Maximum: 275 km/h

Service Ceiling: 5,000 m

Range, Normal: 5,000 km