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
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
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
Then there was time
for priming and
The manual in the
kit says to use
RLM 71/72/65 at the
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
paint, I would reach
the aluminium and
create å realistic
Then the first layer
of the camouflage
The plane had a
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
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
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”)
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
Then everything was painted
with acryl paint and all
surfaces were covered with
Realistic Water to give it a
And then it was just to place
(no glue) the model on top
of the waves to give the
impression of a dramatic
I hope you enjoyed this website! Thank you for visiting!
Please do not hesitate to ask if you have questions
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
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