Revell 1/144 Junkers G.38
KIT #: 04053
PRICE: $22.00 AUD
DECALS: Two Lufthansa options
REVIEWER: Alwin Broeckelmann


The Junkers G-38 was the largest land-based plane of its time. Using Junkers “Deep-wing” patent of 1909, engineer Ernst Zindel designed a large aircraft built completely of metal in which the engines, fuel and latter passengers were housed in the wing. In contrast to the concepts of the time that safe long distance flight over oceans was only possible with flying boats. Hugo Junkers consequently followed the path of developing a land-based long distance aircraft. The construction of the first G-38 with the works number 3301 was completed in October of 1929. After first rolling tests on 04 November Chief pilot Zimmerman took the aircraft on its maiden flight on 06 November 1929 and was surprised by its excellent flight characteristics. The main from of the fuselage and wings consisted of aluminium profiles, and the outer skin was mainly corrugated Dural sheeting. An airbrake system for the newly designed tandem undercarriage and retractable radiators were used for the first time. A further peculiarity was the pointed, which swept forward toward the wingtips. In 1929 the Junkers aircraft engine factory at Dessau developed for the G-38 the 12 cylinder in line L88 with a take off performance of 800hp, this was at the time the most powerful aircraft engine in Germany. During flight one engine could be stopped and serviced without any problems. The four blade wooden propellers of a 4.5m (15ft) diameter were turned via a dive shaft and hydraulic clutch.

 Right from the start Junkers Chief pilot Zimmerman established multiple World Records in maximum speed and endurance for 5 tons cargo capacity with the 20 ton aircraft. Initially it was conceived as an experimental aircraft the D-2000 was mainly configured for cargo. After the great European tour of 1930 the G-38 was better known than any previous aircraft, the demand for the thirteen passenger seats on board was so great that the fuselage was modified and the aircraft taken over by Lufthansa. The D-2000 carried 30 passengers on the route from Berlin-Hanover-Amsterdam-London from the summer of 1931. An extra attraction was glazed leading edge section of the wing between the fuselage and inboard engines, originally designed as an observation platform for passengers during flight was refitted with seats for six passengers. Due to the success of its luxuriously equipped giant aeroplane Lufthansa decided to have a second model built, experience gained with D-2000 led to several modifications in the new design. The passenger capacity was increased to 32, the new model carried the factory number 3302 and arrived as D-2500 and entered service with Lufthansa in the summer of 1932 for both charter and scheduled flights. Passengers were allowed to move about freely during flight and a steward from MITROPA attended to the passenger’s welfare. The G-38 gave exemplary service and quickly became a popular and attractive flagship to German Lufthansa AG, in 1934 the L88 engines of D2500 were replaced with four Jumo 204 diesel engines and the registration changed to D-APIS. In 1935, D-AZUR (D-2000) also received Jumo engines, the aircraft however had to be written off as a total loss after an accident during take off on a flight to the workshops in Dessau. The second G-38 remained in regular service with Lufthansa until the start of WW2; Lufthansa used the aircraft as a military transport from 1939 onwards. Until it was destroyed on the ground near Athens during an air raid in May 1941. At the peak of German aircraft construction of that period the G-38 along with the legendary Dornier Do-X was an important step in the development of industrial construction methods for metal aircraft in Germany and for long distance air travel, equipped with diesel engines the aircraft had an enormous range and could be employed extremely economically. The “Deep-wing” concept however proved to be unsuitable for transport aircraft and was not developed further.
Mitsubishi Ki20

Following the successful test flights of the G38 Junkers advised Zindel to develop a special G38 for military purposes under the designator K51. Already in 1928 Mitsubishi from Japan showed interest in the G38 design and asked Junkers for a heavy bomber design, which finally led to the K51 concept. In April 1930 a license agreement was signed between Junkers and Mitsubishi for the K51 production in Japan. A Junkers team under the heading of Schade went to Japan during that time and supported Mitsubishi with the further development. Parts for the first two prototypes were manufactured at Dessau and delivered to Japan. In 1931 Zimmermann, was specially sent to Mitsubishi for this mission, , first flew the first Ki 20 or Type 92 as the aircraft was called in Japan . A further four Ki20 were built until 1935. These serial line aircraft were built with Japanese components and therefore showed slight differences to the G38. Like the German G38s of Lufthansa, the Japanese Ki20s underwent several engine changes. Initially the Junkers L88 engines were used, which were also manufactured under license at Mitsubishi, later these were changed to Jumo 204 engines. The Ki20 was used until the beginning of WWII as a heavy bomber aircraft by the Japanese forces.


This kit is a nice offering from Revell, and comes on 2 sprues in grey and 1 clear. 1st with the wings and ailerons, 2nd with major components and the last with the transparencies. A nice sheet of decals for 2 versions of this aircraft. There is minimal moulding flash on any of the parts my biggest disappointment is the fact that the transparencies are as thick as the bottom of a coke bottle and give almost no vision into the detailed interior. The plastic is very soft so care needs to be taken when sanding or cutting, and the transparencies are very brittle. Instructions are good and in an 8 page A4 lay-out, 1st page is description of aircraft, 2nd is paint I.D. details, 3rd is lay-out of sprues, 4th-6th is instructions in19 separate steps the last 2 being painting and decal application guides for both versions. They are very good and clear instructions for the most just a couple of minor ones that you need to look and look again then check photos to confirm.


I commenced as I always do with a good study of the instructions and parts, so as to get a feel before starting anything. 1st build step was to dry fit the passenger and cockpit section to the fuselage 1/4s as the fuselage is built of 5 pieces. Being the passenger/cockpit, port and starboard sections, then roof and underside. These parts all fit together nicely so I pre-painted all of these as per instructions, some strange ideas those Germans the fuselage walls are 4 different colours red, medium grey, dark grey and aluminium as you move from the passenger entry doors to the nose, different classes I guess. While they dried I moved onto painting the floor and seats of the pax/cockpit section, roof and the tail wheel easy enough task, lay that aside to dry and then glue the windows into the fuselage sides as instructed. Once all that has dried glue the centre section to one side then the other side to it, remembering to put the tail wheel in at this point. Make sure you give the glue full setting time as the windows can pop out of position if you haven’t. Then while they set, put the roof windows in glue the under side to the centre section and then the roof to it and the fuselage is all but complete.

Next came the tail sections, as it’s a bi-plane style tail I pre-painted the inside sections before assembly to make it a little easier at final painting time, very simple task glue the 3 fin/ rudder sections to the bottom section ensuring they are vertical then glue the top section to them and allow to set then glue the whole assembly to the fuselage. After pre-painting glue the cockpit canopy into place and the nose viewing glass and forward nose landing lights into their possies. Now we move onto the wings, I painted the inside sections of the viewing area and under the engines in aluminium. Glued the seats into place and then the wing halves together. Next was to fit the viewing windows, which again I had pre-painted due to the fact that once in place they were going to be very difficult to get at. Glue the engine widows into place and the radiators underneath the wing between the inner and outer engines.

Now to Hugo’s favourite idea of combined drooping ailerons and flaps, theses went into place with no trouble and are only an annoyance once you need to handle the kit for painting, as care is needed not to break them. It tells you to put the props in place at this stage, however I chose to leave this step until I had mated the wings to the fuselage and fitted the landing gear to avoid any damage and this proved to make the job a little easier. So once the wings were mated and glue was well and truly dried I moved to the landing gear, which I had put together and was now dry and ready to go on, this is a fiddly task and patience is needed. Turn her onto her back and glue the struts to the fuselage then place a drop of glue on the strut mounting points on the wheel carriage and wing mounting point then slip it into the wing at an angle then lift the strut to match the mounting points and gently press them into place hold for 30 or so seconds and Bob’s your uncle, maybe do this one at a time. Now mount the radio direction finder and whip antenna to the underside, leave to dry. Turn her and mount her onto her feet and fit the prop assemblies to the front of the engines, and the Pitot tube to the forward nose section above the viewing windows. Now we are ready for the painting to commence in earnest.



 There are 2 paint schemes available to the builder in the instruction sheet. I chose D-APIS, as it is the modified passenger version, both are airliners. The colour codes supplied for Revell. But I used Tamiya colours, as they are easiest to get hold of here in Oz. XF-16 Flat Aluminium, X-18 Semi-gloss black and XF-63 German Grey for the tyres. Internal colours are X-7 Red, XF-16, XF-20 Medium Grey and X-5 Flat Green. Once paint was dry, as is my habit I applied a little Tamiya X-22 clear coat in preparation for the decals to be placed.


 The decals were a delight to work with and settled well. As stated I always give a light coat of Tamiya X- 22 clear coat to the location of each decal in my builds I find this helps to get them into place properly with-out sticking etc. Then complete the job with a coat of X-22 all-over.


 This is my 4th 1/144 and will not be my last. Yes 1/144 takes a great deal of work and patience. But just look at the pictures I have taken and tell me she is not a truly beautiful lady. She is a great addition to my rare and unusual bird collection.

REFERENCES History and some pics, I just googled Junkers G-38 pictures and got a lot of hits, and just picked my way through the rest.

 Alwin Broeckelmann

April 2008

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