One of the most mysterious episodes of the Second World War occurred over Northern Britain on the night of Saturday 10th May 1941, as the Chain Home radar network picked up an unidentified raid approaching the coast of Northumberland. Crossing the coast near Alnwick, the Royal Observer Corps identified the raid as a single Messerschmitt Me110 fighter which continued flying inland in the direction of Glasgow and was tracked until it hit the west coast of Scotland. With a Defiant nightfighter now on its tail and with fuel reserves running low, the intruder was seen to turn back inland, before crashing at Bonnyton Moor, Eaglesham, near Glasgow at 23.09pm. The lone pilot was observed parachuting to earth and was promptly detained by a pitchfork toting farmer, who when inquiring if the airman was German, was surprised by the excellent English of his prisoner, who went on to give his name as Hauptmann Albert Horn. Collected by the Home Guard, the prisoner was later interviewed by an Observer Corps Major, who almost immediately recognised the airman as none other than Rudolf Hess, senior Nazi Party official and Deputy Fuhrer of Germany. Why had such an important political figure made such a hazardous, one-way flight and what were his intentions? Taking off from the Messerschmitt factory airfield at Augsburg-Haunstetten in Bavaria at 17.45 UK time on 10th May 1941, Nazi Party official Rudolf Hess had a long and dangerous flight ahead of him. Even though his unarmed Me110 fighter was carrying additional fuel, this was always going to be a one-way flight and it is unclear what his intentions were - surely, capture by the British would be the best possible outcome. During later interrogation, it is reported that Hess planned to land by parachute on the estate of Scottish nobleman, the Duke of Hamilton, a man he had previously met at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and someone thought to be politically influential in trying to muster support for a negotiated peace with Germany. A fascinating incident which has been the subject of a great many conspiracy theories over the years, Hess's true intentions have never been definitively ascertained, however, the flight did coincide with Germany's decision to launch a massive offensive against the Soviet Union, in addition to Hess being somewhat side-lined in the Nazi Party hierarchy. Hitler was reported to have been enraged on hearing about the actions of his trusted deputy and described him as having lost his mind. This incident did highlight the invaluable contribution of the Royal Observer Corps during WWII, as once a hostile aircraft had reached the British mainland, radar was of no use and tracking information was provided by this impressive network of vigilant volunteers.
Designed to meet a Luftwaffe requirement for a long range, multipurpose fighter, the Bf-110 was first flown on May 12th, 1936. Fast and well-armed, the Bf-110 lacked maneuverability-a flaw that became glaringly obvious during the battle of Britain, when Bf-110s suffered heavy losses and were withdrawn from battle. Redesigned Bf-110s were equipped with radar and enjoyed great success as night fighters, eventually becoming the Luftwaffe's primary aircraft in that role. Most of Germany's night fighter aces flew the Bf-110 at least once, and some of them-including top German night fighter ace Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer-flew it exclusively.
Corgi's 1:72 scale Bf 110 series includes the early war "C" and the late war "G" variants, with upgraded Daimler-Benz DB605 engines found in the later variant. The large bird cage canopy provides a clear view of crew figures and features crisp detailing that highlights the bullet-proof front windscreen. The nose boasts four machine guns mounted closely together with two cannon ports below. The solid metal wings feature a separately applied transparent landing light and vent with a variety of delicate aileron counter weights mounted below. The landing gear is constructed as a multi-piece subassembly and installs quick and easy for ground display.