Early Bf109 prop markings

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by clinton78, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. clinton78

    clinton78 Member

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    #1 clinton78, Aug 29, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
    Hi guys, on photos of very early Legion Condor Bf109s and Bf109E-1s there is an oval marking quite unlike the later VDM marking. I know that early on in the production of the Bf109 Germany licence built the variable pitch prop from an American firm called Hamilton. Was this early oval marking on the Bf109 props the Hamilton Standard marking.

    Thanks for you time gents. :)

    Edit: I suppose I should mention this is seen on the 3 blade props.
     
  2. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Nope, it wasn't. Initailly BF109B-1 had the Schwartz wooden two-blade prop mounted. Later, the metal VDM two-balde prop was used untill E-1 appeared with the three-blade prop. It's true the metal VDM propellers were licenced Hamilton Standard ones at that time. But the trademark was of the VDM firm. However it was similar to the HS one.
     
  3. clinton78

    clinton78 Member

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    Thanks Wurger, would you by chance happen to have a good reference shot of the early oval VDM logo you mention or point me somewhere that does? :)
     
  4. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I haven't seen a such one anywhere in the net. Also I went through a few Bf109 references and found nothing about the ealrly VDM trademark.
    Here is the best scan I could find via the Internet. The same picture can be found on teh Kagero Monographs series no.37 / page 9. It is of a little bit better quality and the "VDM" abbreviation ( short white text ) in the marking can be seen. Unfortunately the rest of the text there is unreadable.

    prop bf109e.jpg
     
  5. clinton78

    clinton78 Member

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    Wurger, thank you for your quick response it's appreciated. :)
     
  6. Mossie

    Mossie New Member

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  7. clinton78

    clinton78 Member

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    Thank's Mossie, those are the slightly later style. The version that Wurger found is the correct oval variety. :)
     
  8. clinton78

    clinton78 Member

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    After a little bit of surfing the logo is apparently referred to as the VDM (früh) and these guys have a decal sheet of it: Propeller-Logos - MODELLSHOP

    I would love to know what reference they used. But they may have just roughly based it on the photo posted above by Wurger.
     
  9. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I think you ight be right. However the second one ( these second row from top ) seems to be incomplete. There was a small rectangle with a text at the bottom of the marking. See the image below...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. clinton78

    clinton78 Member

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    Yeah I've seen that additional element. I can remember seeing some decals that have it correct though I think. Probaly wise to be cautious with their oval VDM representation. :)
     
  11. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Also the last row with the Hamilton Standard marking seems to be used for these early two-blade mateal props. ... but I'm not sure.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The blue marking seems to be applied here.... but it might be reversed marking of the second row in the decal pic and the second image here below.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. clinton78

    clinton78 Member

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    #12 clinton78, Aug 30, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2012
  13. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Unfortunately the board doesn't allow to dispaly pictures if you aren't a registered memeber of the LEMB.
     
  14. clinton78

    clinton78 Member

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    To be honest Wurger, you've pretty much covered what is out there with the photos you posted above. It was just the text that I thought would be interesting mostly. :)
     
  15. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I see and thank you for the kind words. But the LEMB site doesn't allow to show text for the same reason like pictures. Just you have to be a member of the board. Anyway thank you for the attempt.
     
  16. clinton78

    clinton78 Member

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    Posted by Goran Larsson on LEMB: Hope this helps. Becoming a member is very straight forward. :)

    VDM propeller labels seem to have had several different variants over time. I have checked photos in some references and tried to see if there is a pattern of developments. The first part of the below referring to the oval label, I did also post as a reply on TOCH some time ago regarding a specific photo, but I decided to put it together with more info and post it also here.

    1. OVAL LABEL
    The oval VDM label is seen here as a 1938 variant as this apparently is from a Bf109E-0 according to pictures published on page 78-80 in Radinger and Schicks' "Messerschmitt Bf109A-E" Schiffer Publ. Ltd, 1999. In this source, on p.80, is the best published picture with a large size print and detail enabling some conclusions.

    On top in white is written:
    Verstellpropeller

    In black in the middle of the oval are two lines with words. The upper most probably reads: Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke A G

    The second line consists of two words which are impossible to read clearly. They could however in length and content perhaps, perhaps, perhaps be: Hamburg Altona
    after the company branch apparently involved with the manufacturing of aircraft propellers, which was formed from the earlier compound of the Altonaer Maschinenfabrik AG in Hamburg and became the branch Hamburg-Altona of VDM.

    On the bottom in white is: V D M

    So it could be like this:

    Verstellpropeller
    Vereinigte Deutsche Metawerke A G
    Hamburg Altona
    V D M

    Colour? I don't know. From wartime colour photos, the later triangular VDM labels seems to be in a mid blue colour on white background. However, of the earlier oval variants I have seen no useful colour picture yet as these are rare (Or non-existing). An article on Falcon's "the 109 Lair" on building the Bf109-V14 racing aircraft participating in the Zurich IVth International Airmeeting in 1937 is showing a similar oval propeller label, showing the label colour as red. The source of information on the label colour is not revealed. I suppose it can be from a decal sheet. Perhaps from an Aeromaster Bf109 stencil sheet or an Aeromaster decal sheet for early Bf109's, as both are referred to in the article. Studying the pictures in the article closely I have the opinion that they do not match the ones on the photo you are asking about perfectly, why they might be of the wrong type or does not match the scale 1:1 originals .

    The Bf109V-13 and Bf109V-14 had three bladed metal VDM propellers, and so did the Bf109E-0 built in 1938. Pictures show that all three had similar oval VDM label http://109lair.hobby...m/index1024.htm

    However, also Bf109s from Bf109B and D manufacture had oval labels, which are impossible to read from the published photos. It is of course possible they are similar or identical to the ones found on E versions. Note that early Bf109Bs had wooden propellers from the manufacturer Schwarz, adorned with a round label of different design.

    The oval label can be seen on late version as Bf109E-1 and on the Bf109E-3, WNr.1361, CA+NK.
    (Bf109E-1 Photo on P.44, Messerschmitt Me 109 pt.3, Robert Michulec, AJ Press)
    (Bf109E-3 Photo on P.36, Messerschmitt Me 109 pt.1, Robert Michulec, AJ Press)

    There are some variations in how the VDM props are marked. The markings are also mostly seen on factory fresh or very new aircraft as the labels probably eroded away quickly in the airflow.

    2. TRIANGULAR LABEL MARKED "VDM"
    The triangular VDM labels seems to be a blue printed triangular frame and VDM in the middle on a white background and most likely superceeded the oval shaped label. After some wear and abrasion it can be difficult to tell if the triangular label is stand alone or just that the rectangular label is difficult to see on a photo print!

    3. TRIANGULAR LABEL MARKED "VDM" TOGETHER WITH RECTANGULAR LABEL
    Some props have a rectangular label attached at the base, or near the base of the triangle. This can be seen for example on early Bf 109 Es delivered to Switzerland, but not on all early Bf109s. Seen 1939-1940 on Lw Bf 09s. Also later on Swiss Bf109E-3s Some Bf109Bs and Bf109Ds had this combination of labels on their two blade props too

    Some examples. A picture of a Bf109B on p.20 in "The Messerschmitt Bf109, Part 1: Prototype to 'E' Variants", Lynn Ritger, SAM Publications (Modeller's Datafile 9). One of the better photos of a Bf109E propeller can be seen at P. 33 in "Messerschmitt Me109 pt.1", by Robert Michulec, AJ Press. A good colour picture of a Swiss Bf109E-3 showing both labels together can be seen on p.104 in "AVIONS Hors-Serie No 13 – Les Messerschmitt 109 Suisses", taken in the winter of 1943-44. Other b/w photos in the same source also show this practise.

    4. RECTANGULAR LABEL ALONE
    This rectangular label is later more commonly seen without company of the triangular VDM label, not seldom seen on early Bf109E-1 and E-3 in 1940-41, both in Lw and Swiss service. The rectangular label seems to be of a dark base colour with a bright thin frame some millimeters inside of the outer edgde, going all around the four sides. In the middle there is obviously a text, numbers, or a combination of both - Probably in two rows, but I have found no picture sharp enough to enable an interpretation yet. It is possible there is also another very similar rectangular label of a lighter colour and without the rectangular "frame" line. (P. 15-16, Messerschmitt Bf109 pt.3, Robert Michulec, AJ Press). Rectangular labels without being combined with the triangular VDM label is not seldom seen on Bf109Es but also on early Bf109Fs in 1941. Example of Bf109F-2 aircraft can be seen on photos p. 21-24 in "Messerschmitt Bf109 pt.3", Robert Michulec, AJ Press. In "Messerschmitt Bf109 pt.3", Robert Michulec, AJ Press p.37 (Bf109E) and p.39 (Bf109F) there are drawings showing the service markings as well as some other markings, also depicting the "Propeller maker logo and data panel". In this case the triangular VDM label over the rectangular label. The rectangular label is here named "Data panel". It is not possible to read the text in the panel though.

    5. NO LABEL
    From 1942/43 I have the impression from published photos that the propeller labels are becoming scarcer and scarcer and finally not seen at all on operational aircraft. I find it difficult to find Bf109Gs with these labels. If ever put on, the propeller label was probably soon erased in the air flow by the friction with dust, sand and water. Aircraft shown having the labels, are in my opinion aircraft relatively fresh from the factory or taken after an overhaul. Several published photos are of prototype aircraft or early series aircraft. From this quick photo survey it seems that the VDM labels developed as described above starting with the oval label and then via steps 2-5. Mainly seen in the period 1938 to 1941. Please note that Junkers also used triangular markings on props of He111s and other Ju87s, similar in size to the VDM labels but with a three bladed propeller in the middle with JUNKERS written above. These labels I believe had a mid-blue colour. Many other photos than those mentioned above are showing the different labels and the photos I use as examples above are also often found published in several other publications. This is what I have found regarding this rather "narrow" subject. I hope it can be of help and/or inspire someone to find the final and ultimate answer. I would not be surprised if someone posted some excellent evidence soon!
     
  17. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Great. Thank you for sharing. A very useful text. :thumbright:
     
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