06 - BV 138 at the Artic Coast

Blohm & Voss BV 138 refueling at the

Norwegian artic coast (1944)

A diorama by Bjørn Jacobsen

I have described the maritime reconnaissance seaplane Blohm & Voss BV 138 and the building of a model of BV 138 C-1 (6I+DH) from 1./SAGr 130 (Squadron no.1 of Seeaufklärungs Gruppe no.130) on another page (#05) on this website.

The BV138 was a fascinating seaplane. Build to withstand rough artic weather and stay airborne for 18 hours.  It was powered by three 880hp diesel engines and, 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 defenseless:

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.

The BV138 were operating from the northern Norwegian coast untill the end of the war.

One of its main tasks was shadowing Allied convoys to Murmansk and Archangelsk and lead the German submarines to the convoys.

The aircraft in the diorama, had its main base in Trondheim, but it also had to manage with rather primitive secondary bases along the particularly exposed North Norwegian artic coast.

In the diorama, the BV138 has landed at a small fishing community to refill the tanks with diesel. The diorama is happening some time during the winter of 1944.

I will tried to make the diorama as authentic “North Norwegian” as possible with the high (due to large tidal range) wooden dock and the typical red housing.

The BV138 was a large plane, and it was obvious that this

is going to be a rather big diorama when build in 1:48

The sketch

The first I did was to make a sketch of the

diorama layout,placing the BV138 on a

wooden board

The base would be about 70x60cm


As the model of the plane was already

made, I just had to prepare it for "floating"

in the water.

And then I had to build the dock,

the warehouse, thelandscape and the other

bits and pieces to make the diorama

believable and realistic.

      A BV138 rendezvous with a German Sub

       My model of the BV138 (see page 06)

        A BV138 at a North Norwegian base (1944)

The sketch

The plane.

First I saw off the bottom of the hull and the floats by the waterline.

Then I open the hatch in the nose of the fuselage. This hatch was used when mooring the plane.

The same goes for the hatch at the rear end of the hull.

I also had to open the hatch on the port side of the central nacelle to let the crew out for refilling diesel.

The propellers

The “PropBlurs” I had used for the "spinning propellers"

on the model had to be replaced with propeller blades.

Three blades propellers on the outer engines and four

blades on the central engine.

The rowboat

Then I decided I had to have a small rowboat alongside the plane and I made a typical Norwegian rowboat called a “pram” out of styrene sheets

The buoys

I also had to make a couple of buoys for mooring the plane. This was made of a Bf109 drop tank.

The dock

The dock had to be the typical wooden dock you will find all over North Norway

This was made out of wooden spatulas and sticks, cut to sizes and glued together.

The warehouse

On the dock it has to be a wooden warehouse typical for a fishing community in North Norway.

The Germans used this for storing diesel fuel and other necessities for the seaplanes.

These kind of buildings (warehouses, barns etc.) was always painted red (red was the cheapest paint in previous times).

The building on the dock was highly weathered by the fierce artic winters. 

I first made a cardboard building. On this I glued wooden spatulas and sticks to make it look like weather beaten planks. I also named the place Naustvika, which I painted on the front of the building.

The base

Then it was time for the making the base. First I glued Styrofoam to make the terrain behind the dock.

Pebbles was glued to the slope down to the sea and some paper Mache was added to sculpt the snow covered terrain

The dock and the warehouse and crane were glued in place.

The sea was covered with a thin layer with paper Mache to make the impression of small ripples on the surface.

Then everything was painted with acryl.

The crane

On the dock it had to be a crane to lift the heavy goods. This was made of styrene sheets and bits and pieces from old kits. It was painted rusty and “old”, just like cranes I have seen on places like this.

Then all the bits and pieces needed to make the diorama credible were made: The ground crew, the diesel filling equipment and diesel barrels, the moorings, the fenders and so on and so on.

The ground crew is mostly made from Tamiya 1:48 German Maintenance Set but highly “adjusted” to fit the scenario.

The bystanders are from Woodland Scenic.

The Refueling Cart is from Verlinden.

The truck is a 1932 Ford from UM, which I belive is requisitioned by the Germans from the local merchant.

Almost all the other stuff is scratch build

The background

The last part to be made was the background which I painted on a cardboard. I chose a typical North Norwegian mountain landscape, which looked right in this setting.

All the details in the diorama are in scale 1:48 and the total dimension are: 70x60cm (28”x24”)

The background is 100x70cm (40”x28”)

And when I put everything together, it looks like this:

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

Please do not hesitate to ask if you have questions. You can reach me on bjorn@dioramas-and-models.com

Bjørn Jacobsen

Desember 2014

This diorama will be on display at