Revell AG 1/72 Junkers F-13

Markings: Junkers factory markings and Lufthansa (landplane version)

Accuracy: generally good

Price: US$13.00

Review and photo by: Andrew Abshier

The Junkers F-13 was the world's first all-metal monoplane airliner. First flown in 1919, the F-13 served around the world. The type was particularly instrumental in the development of air transport in South America, where its rugged, all-metal construction was well suited to the rigors of air service in the equatorial regions. The last F-13 in airline service was finally retired in Brazil in 1947!

This is one of those types I would have expected to see in limited-run resin (actually, it has been done by Czechmaster) but here is a nice, state-of-the-art kit by Revell GmBH! The kit is of the earliest version, which had the triangular vertical fin and open cockpits; later versions had a squared-off fin and some were fitted with enclosed cockpits later in their lives.

The kit has a full interior, including the comfortable leather-upholstered chairs in the five-seat passenger cabin! Cockpit detail is complete and has very nice bulkhead and floor detail. The instrument panel is represented by a decal, but this is not as bad as it sounds since the panel cannot be seen once the fuselage is assembled! There is even a clear window provided in the bulkhead between the cockpit and the passenger cabin.

Models of corrugated airplanes can be a challenge to build but I was pleasantly surprised at how easily this kit came together. Careful dry fitting and pre-planning of assembly greatly minimize the number of joints that need to be cemented from the outside. Revell very cleverly split their parts along the actual seam lines on the actual airplane, and this greatly simplifies matters. The only fit problem was the upper fuselage part (the "roof", if you will), which had some gaps around the cockpit coaming. I filled the small gaps with white glue, and wiped off the excess. That worked fine!

The wing is corrugated around the leading edge, which plays havoc with finishing the seam! The contrasting paint scheme (black below, natural metal above) can be painted so that the separation is right down the seam, and that (mostly) disguises it. It won't pass muster at the IPMS Nationals, but for most of us mere mortals it will work well!

All of the grab handles and steps are provided in the kit, but I replaced my wing and nacelle handles with wire for a more in-scale appearance. The passenger assist handles on the fuselage appear a bit clunky but that's how they look on the actual aircraft!

A note about accuracy. The landplane version which I built has a vertical fin that is too small. Revell fixed this in the subsequent floatplane version (which also includes the landplane landing gear) so if you want to do an accurate F-13, the floatplane is the one to buy.

On most F-13s the elevators are in the full down position when the aircraft is parked. The kit stabilizer is molded in one piece, but it is a simple matter to score the part so that the elevators droop.

Decals were a major disappointment. They are printed well, but defied all efforts to get them to conform to the corrugations! I finally gave up and left my F-13 unmarked; since most airplanes in the early 1920s did not carry registration numbers, I figured my final example wasn't too far off from real life.

All in all, this kit was a delight. Try one as a change of pace, after finishing your umpteenth Bf-109!

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