AMT 1/48 Ju-88A-4

KIT #: T 647
PRICE: $ Received in a trade
DECALS: One option
NOTES: For kids and nostalgia builders


 The Junkers Ju88 series of aircraft were one of the most versatile platforms used during World War II.  Initially it started out as a bomber and it’s the A-4 variant where our review comes to.


The Ju88 family has been well represented in 1/48 scale by the DML/Dragon/Pro Modeler releases and, before that, the Koster vacuform kit.  The Hobbycraft series of Ju88’s has been around since the late 1980s.  However the Hobbycraft kits were based off of the AMT Ju88 A-4 released in 1977.  I received one of the AMT kits in a trade and decided to give it a whirl to see just how bad it really is.

Upon opening the box you will find the parts molded in dark green plastic with fine raised panel lines.  The sprues are all in one bag.  The plastic is dark green in color and hard and smooth in texture.  The clear parts are somewhat thickly cast and the framing on the nose and main canopy disappears on the sides.  There is an option for raised landing gear and a full bomb load.  The prominent dive brakes are molded separate and one was mildly warped.  There are four figures and they are wildly inaccurate and look out of proportion.  Decals are for one aircraft and appear to be all printed on the same carrier film so careful cutting is needed should you use them.  The instructions are simple but concise.


I started off with assembling the upper and lower wing halves.  The fit here was very good.  Once the wings were dry I added the gear bay/engine nacelles.  These will require a bit of filler around the front edge and where they mate to the lower wing.  The port side needed a bit more filler than the starboard side, mainly at the trailing area at the rear of the nacelle.  I added the cowlings but found that I could install the faces at a later date so I left them off for now.  Also of note are the very shallow main gear wells.  Taking a gander at scale drawings from William Green’s Famous Bombers of WWII. The wings are inaccurate in shape especially around the wingtip area.  So, why build on?  Well, it’s a kit and I want to have it on my shelf to compare and contrast with my Hobbycraft and Dragon kits.  Besides, it can’t be THAT bad, right?   Moving on to the fuselage I took one look and was reminded of how inaccurate the cockpit really is.  The cockpit floor is about a scale foot from the upper edge of the canopy area!  So, I painted the area that should be open to the gondola flat black to create the look of an open area.  Not correct but it would take reconstructing the entire cockpit to fix this.  So, I took the easy way out!  The sidewall detail is not too bad but the instrument panel and radio panels are a bit lacking and appear to be somewhat inaccurate as well.  The main seats are wrong in shape and have bland detail.  I painted the interior MM RLM 66 and detailed it the best I could.  The figures really are terrible and cannot be used even to just fill in the seats.  They have Wehrmacht uniforms and boots!  Plus they are very out of proportion especially the heads.  After this was done I mated the fuselage halves and set the assembly aside to dry.  A prominent feature missing is the fan on top of the rear of the fuselage.  There is a panel there but no detail at all.  The overall fuselage fit is good but make sure to use a few clamps to hold it all together. 

 The following day I put the airframe together and was pleased to find the wing root fit to be pretty good.  No filler needed at all.  The horizontal stabs were assembled and added at this time and also fit very well.  The bomb racks were next and went on without a fuss.  The sway braces are out of scale and inaccurate but I left them as they are.  However the bombs are absurd looking and I replaced them with a set from the old Fujimi Bf 110C/D kit.  Believe me ANYTHING is better than the supplied bombs!  The final piece to assemble here was the gondola.  This, by far, is the worst fitting area of the kit.  No amount of trimming and sanding could get it to lay flush on the lower fuselage.  Plenty of filler was used here and I had to use CA glue to keep it in place.  The gondola clear parts, already hazy and lacking detail got a bit of CA haze in this.  By now though I really did not care…I just wanted that darn gondola on!  The main gear is passable with the wheel hub detail being very good but the main wheels being far too small.  I replaced these with DML Ju 88 main wheels.  The tail wheel is molded as one piece with the strut/wheel cover and it suffers from sink marks and a severe lack of detail and accuracy.  I replaced the tail wheel with a wheel from a Dragon/DML kit.  I scratch built the tail wheel assembly as the kit part was not able to be modified acceptably.


I masked the canopies off with Bare Metal Foil and used 5 minute epoxy to glue the guns into place.  The canopies were then glued into place with 5-minute epoxy.  As mentioned before the frame detail disappears on the sides and lower section of the nose canopy.  I did my best to guess here using photographs to achieve correct-looking framing in these areas.  Color call-outs for the paint are nonexistent so make sure to use your references.  I used MM RLM 71 and Floquil paints for RLM 70 and 65 for the camouflage splinter scheme.  Post-Its and blue masking tape were used to create the hard edges for this scheme.  The Floquil paints are terrific and had excellent coverage and opacity.  The MM 71 was a real nightmare to use though.  It was very thick and took a 50/50 mix with enamel thinner to get it to shoot properly.  This was a brand-new bottle. 

I used Testors Model Master Flat White to paint the overallspinner. Then I used Testors Model Master RLM 70 for the green stripe, Floquil RLM 04 Yellow and finally wrapped up the bands with Testors Model Master RLM 23 Red and masked off a section of the white for the white band. The white require some touch-up and overall the four-striped spinners were the most tedious part of the build...even beating out the gondola disaster! As a modeler who wants to better my work/skills I am satisfied with the results and pleased that I did do this. However this was nerve-wracking. Also the kit-supplied props are highly inaccurate and were replaced with spare Tamiya Fw 190D-9 props. 

 Taking one look at the kit decals I sent out a distress call for a spare set of A-4 decals.  Thankfully a good friend sent me a set from the Dragon A-4 release (kit # 5528).  These decals are terrific quality and adhered very well to the surface.  I used Solvaset to snuggle them down and had no issues.  The Balkenkreuz for the dive flaps were applied and then trimmed to the flap after they dried.  The exhausts were painted MM flat black the dry brushed with MM rust, MM bronze metalizer and then Testors steel.  From this point I added the final fiddly bits. 

 Weathering consisted of using Formula P3 Armor Wash for an oily wash on the main gear.  For panel lines, exhaust, gear bays, wheels and gun residue I used my trusty set of chalk pastels and a .07 Pentel mechanical pencil.  The landing lights were painted using Tamiya clear red and green.


I’m sure that two words come to mind…”why bother?”  Well, if anything, it gives you a terrific barometer for just how far some particular airframe types have come in kit form.  This kit goes together relatively quickly and at first glance certainly looks like a Ju88.  However, upon closer inspection it really is lacking all around in accuracy and finesse.  It suffers from mildly inaccurate wings, missing fuselage fan, inaccurate cockpit layout and bland details, bad fit of gondola, poorly detailed bomb load, lack of any depth to wheel wells…shall I go on?  Having said that I do recommend that you pass it along to a younger builder to hone their skills on as the overall fit is actually pretty good (gondola notwithstanding).  For serious enthusiasts just stick with the Dragon molds.  You’ll be happy that you did.

I do have to add that the DML main wheels, Tamiya props, Fujimi bombs and the DML decals really did help this kit look much better. I do highly recommend making these small but very visible changes to anyone who does build this kit. 


 Warplanes of the Third Reich; Green, William, Doubleday, 1970.  Catalog card number 88-29673.

German Aircraft Cockpits 1911-1970, Cohausz, Peter W., Schiffer Publishing, 2003. ISBN: 0-7643-1873-X.

Lee Fogel

December 2010

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