Revell 1/72 Ju-87G 'Tank Buster'
|PRICE:||Less than 100 ARS (two years ago)|
|NOTES:||Irregular upper Balkenkreuzes, tricky fit for the wing tips, weak connection of the flaps to the wings|
After only one year of war, the High Command of the German Luftwaffe realized that, despite its great success, the Junkers Ju 87B no longer met the demands in many areas of use. Its defensive armament against enemy fighters was as inadequate as its armour-plating against anti-aircraft fire. The lack of engine performance with only 1100HP was in the meantime also indisputable.
The Stuka (standing for “Sturzkampfflugzeug”, dive-bomber) was completely over-hauled and was designated Ju 87D-1. Difficulties with the Jumo 211J engine (a 12 cylinder engine with a cubic capacity of 35 Litre and 1420HP take off power) led to long delays. The firsts Ju 87D´s were received by the 1st Group of Stuka Wing 2 (St.G. 2) in Russia during the January of 1942.
The winter conditions in Russia of snow, ice, airfields covered in mud and extremely low temperatures, took a great toll on the new Stuka. The first propeller - a Heine variable pitch with wooden blades – received cracks due to the extremely low temperatures, and was replaced by a Junkers VS 11 variable pitch blade constructed of metal. The undercarriage of the D model proved also to be unsatisfactory. The undercarriage of the B model was therefore used on the first production aircraft which, due to the reduced size of the wheels led to a dramatic reduction of the Maximum Take-off weight to 5009Kg. The “new” normal undercarriage of the Ju 87D model was only incorporated later during series production. Until the end of 1942 a total of 559 Ju 87D-1 were produced.
By this time, it was already clear that the Ju 87 could no longer be used only as a dive bomber. Moreover it was also apparent that it should have the ability to conduct low level missions in support of ground forces. In order to do justice to this role, the Ju 87D-3 was developed in Berlin and Bremen from the middle of 1943 onwards. A total of 1559 aircraft were built. It had considerably stronger armour plating around the engine and the cockpit. The propeller that was mounted on the undercarriage legs for the siren (also known as “Jericho Trumpets”) and the stubs either removed or encased. During the course of the war the Ju 87 had been continually distance from its role as a dive-bomber. Air-to-Ground attack became its new primary mission. Attacks on armoured vehicles constituting an extremely high threat to ground troops and supply units became even more prominent. Considering that the new Russian T-34 now had very effective armour plating, the Ju 87´s bomb load proved to be completely inadequate for this mission.
The solution was the BK 3.7 (3.7cm calibre on board canon), which originated from further development of the Flak-18. Two of these weapons were attached under wings of the Ju 87 firing around the propeller as early as the summer of 1942. Each magazine held six rounds, each weighing 1.46kg with a Wolfram core in a Toroidal jacket to help reduce reflection. Conversion of currently available Ju 87D-3 and D-5 into Tank Hunters G-1 and G-2 finally began in the spring of 1944. The first Wing to receive the new Junkers Ju 87 was St.G. 2 “Immelmann”, commanded by Colonel Ruddel. Up to the end of the War they accounted 519 Russian tanks. On 7th March 1944, 4. /StG. 2 was renamed 10. (Pz)/SG 3 and transferred to Jacobstadt and Libau with its Ju 87G n order to support the 18th Army in the Courland Battles.
It comes in Revell of Germany standard blue side opening box. The box art shows the Junkers Ju 87G, coded S7+EN, firing its canons to the Russian tanks down below, in the background, large clouds of black smoke elevate from the destroyed T-34´s.
The kit is presented to you in five sprues, four of them being in an RLM 70 Black Green and one clear sprue, containing a single canopy to be glued in the close position. Since this is not a modern release, it has raised but nicely done panel lines, which don´t bother me, neither the rivets do.
The booklet instructions is given to you in 9 pages, the first three covering the warning signs and the symbols for each thing, the fourth page gives the painting guide, all of them in Revell Colours and, from the page five to nine, the assembly itself, divided in 31 steps.
Although the painting guide shows you in the D (dive-bomber) model the short wing-tips, only the late long wing tips are available, but you can build the model with both, since it wasn´t strange to see the dive bomber with the longer wing tips. It comes with bombs and dive-brakes for the D model, and with the BK 3.7 for the G model.
There are two decal options available, one for the plane in the box art:
· S7+EN, Junkers Ju 87G-2 of 10(Pz)/St.G. 3, Jacobstadt, Lettland, in July 1944, painted entirely in RLM 71 (Revell Matt 39) Dark Green for the wings and fuselage, RLM 65 (Revell Matt 49) for the undersides, and yellow RLM 04 (Revell Matt 15) for the wing tips. The nose cone is painted in white with a red spiral. Propeller is in RLM 70.
· T6+BM, Junkers Ju 87D-3 of 4./St.G. 2, Russia, 1944. Painted in the never changed splinter pattern for the European Stukas of RLM 70 (Revell Matt 40), RLM 71 (Revell Matt 39), RLM 65 (Revell Matt 49), and with yellow RLM 04 (Revell Matt 15) for the wing tips and the fuselage band. The propeller is painted in RLM 70, while the nose cone is in blue RLM 24 (Revell Matt 56).
The decal sheet looked to be well printed, with the decals in perfect register and nothing else bad. The control panel comes as a decal also.
It started with the cockpit, which is assembled by gluing five pieces: the pilot seat, control stick, radio, and gunner seat. I started by painting the cockpit floor and the seats in RLM 66 (Revell Matt 77). After that, I painted the molded seat belts with a Light Grey and the buckles in Aluminium. The Pilot headrest was painted with Revell Matt 39 (Revell´s equivalent for RLM 71). Then I painted and glued the radio and the gunner seat, all of them in RLM 66. The last piece was the control column, painted in RLM 66 with black.
Since the model is old, it comes with an engine for you to paint and show, and it´s also needed because it holds the mounting shaft for the propeller. The engine was painted as per instructions in Steel, then you have to glue the mounting spars that connect the engine to the bulkhead (the three pieces in RLM 02, Revell Matt 45).
The fuselage is next and the instructions tell you to paint it in RLM 66. The housing for the engine is painted in RLM 02.
Before gluing the engine and it´s bulkhead, I glued the radiator, painted in black. After adding the radiator and the bulkhead (with its engine), I painted with RLM 66 (Revell Matt 77) the control panel, after it dried, I added the decal. Then it was time to glue the cockpit. While the cockpit was drying, I glued the other side of the fuselage, holding the parts with tape. Then it was the turn for the depth ailerons and it´s mountings (don´t do as me, since it will be very difficult to mask and paint the fuselage with the stabilizers in your way).
When you reach the steps 10/11, you are offered the option of opening holes in the single unit wing to attach the canons (G-2) or the dive breaks and the bombs (D-3). After that, you have to glue the wing tips, which present a more or less fit, which ends in two gaps. Try to fill them.
I then assembled the landing gear with its wheels. The interior of the landing gear was painted in Revell Matt 77 Dust Grey, while the wheels were painted in the inner ring with black, and the tire in Revell Matt 78 Tank Grey.
Steps 19 to 23 give you the option to assemble the D-3 version with bombs and dive brakes, while the steps 24 to 25 are for the G-2. The option depends of which holes you opened in the lower wing. I chose the G-2. Then I glued the tiny bits (parts 45 and 46, the radiators of the wings, I attached the gun to the canopy, the canopy to the fuselage, both with Revell Contacta, and it´s a miracle for me to have avoided the fume of the part, or spilling some Revell glue on my finger and putting it over in the canopy by accident. I painted it in the camouflage given by the instructions and put it in my shelf, with no decals, because I was afraid to ruin them. This was in 2012, when I bought this kit in Berlin, alongside some more.
In 2013, and after experimenting my skills at decal application with a Horten 229 from Revell (my first plane, I think it came out pretty well, I used a matt varnish, after some other planes I started to use a gloss varnish for avoid silvering), I decided to grab this kit and finish it.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
I removed all the paint with rubbing alcohol, breaking some pieces in the process (not a problem, since I kept them all). I removed the canopy with a cutter using a new, sharp blade. I also removed the stabilizers struts, since they would interfere with the cleaning and re-painting process, the rear gun of the canopy, also I removed the landing gear and canons to give them a closer painting.
After letting it dry, I masked the fuselage which would be painted in RLM 71for the upper part, then I started hand brushing Revell Light Blue Matt 49 (RLM 65), using water to dilute it a bit. After getting a good coverage and after drying, I masked the wingtips and brush painted them with Revell Yellow Matt 15 (RLM 04) over the RLM 65.
Next was the fuselage. Getting an equal separation line between colours is complicated, but can be done with patience. I then brush painted the upper camouflage with Revell Dark Green Matt 39 (RLM 71). After painting/repainting the removed parts, I glued them to the now new painted fuselage, with the exception of the canopy, for which I was like four or five days to paint it entirely (I hate that all framed canopy of the Stuka). Then, after finishing with the canopy, I re-attached it by using a Clear Glue from Humbrol.
Then it was the turn for adding the decals. Since I was using only a matt varnish, there were silvered decals.
I started by giving the model a full coverage with the matt varnish, since it levels the old and new paint tones, giving the camouflage an equal colour.
After the varnish had dry, I began with the bigger decals, which where the Balkenkreuzes and the code of the plane. The upper Balkenkreuzes were the first, and while placing them, I noted that they were of irregular white borders. I placed them by mating the white borders. I didn´t worried so much about that.
Next the lower Balkenkreuzes, they presented no problems and came out of the backing sheet fast. After being sure that the four crosses were in their correct panel lines and were straight, I applied the fuselage white Balkenkreuzes (I used them as a guide to locate the Code Letters, if they are straight when compared to those fuselage crosses etc…).
Then it was time to apply the plane code, S7+EN (I almost messed the code, since I wasn´t paying too much attention while applying them, I placed them all pointing to the same side, while it should be like this: left side of the fuselage S7+EN, the EN being close to the tail, right side of the fuselage, the S7 is close to the tail. I was desperate in trying to remove them with Micro-Set, but I ended up using a sharp cutter blade and water to move the decals of the right side of the fuselage to their correct place, there weren´t any missing decal parts, so I touched up with white a zone with a little crack in the 7. It happened when the plane was with the final varnish).
After all that, the little simbols for the Tank Destroyer Unit (two tanks with the shape of a T-34) where added to the cowling, checking twice to avoid losing one (it has happened).
Then, the smaller decals-the warning signs etc…- were added. I used some Micro-Sol to help the decals to conform to the surface of the plane.
To finish, I masked the sorroundings of the nose cone, I painted it in Revell Carmin Red 36 Matt, then I made a mask for the spinner spiral, added it to the cone, and painted Revell Matt White 05. The result is a hand painted nose spiral. I don´t trust to much in the decals made for that kind of curves.
When everything was dry, I checked if every decal was in place (they were), and gave the plane a matt varnish coat to protect them from the dust, water etc... (This leads us to that little incident with the right fuselage code).
Though I think it will be shadowed by the new release from Hobby Boss of a Ju 87G, with engraved panel lines and the same codes for the plane, I think that it´s a nice kit, simple, and ideal as a weekend project.
Historical background is from the kit instructions.
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