Hobby Master 1-48 Air Power
HA8761 BF 109F-4 Trop "Star of Africa" flown by Lt. Hans-Joachim Marseille,
3./JG 27, Libya, Feb 1942

Early 1940 began with design improvements with the Bf-109 as well as the addition of the new DB 601E engine. The under-wing radiators were reduced in size and recessed; cutting down on drag as well as some other changes. A redesigned cowling and a repositioning of the air intake for the supercharger along with a larger propeller hub also helped reduce drag. The overall airscrew diameter was reduced by 4 inches by using wider blades. The most noticeable change was the removal of the tail-plane bracing struts. The result of this program was the Bf 109F

Hans-Joachim Marseille was one of Germany’s top Aces of WWII with all but 7 of his 158 victories while flying his Bf-109 over Africa. This action earned him the nickname “Star of Africa”. Marseille had excellent eyesight spotting enemy aircraft before they spotted him. His attacks were carried out using speed to escape any counter fire and his marksmanship was deadly. In February 1942 he destroyed 16 aircraft. Marseille was killed when his engine failed and he had to bail out, hitting the aircraft tail and unable to open his parachute.

Bf-109F-4 Trop Specifications
Erla factory produced 576 Tropicalized F-4 in the first half of 1942
Dimensions
Length – 8.9 m (29 ft 2.5 ins)
Wingspan – 9.92 m (32 ft 6.5 ins)
Height – 2.6 m (8ft 6.5 ins)
Performance
Engine – 1 X 1,350 hp Daimler-Benz DB 601E inverted-vee engine
Maximum speed – 624 km/h (388 mph)
Rate of climb – 3,000 m (9,845 ft) / 2.6 minutes
Service ceiling – 12,000 m (39,375 ft)
Range – 850 km (530 mi / with drop tank)
Armament
1 X 20 mm MG151 cannon nose mounted in front of pilot 200 rpg
2 X 7.92 mm MG 17 machine guns nose mounted shooting through propeller hub 500 rpg