Eduard 1/72 Junkers J.1

KIT #: 7045
PRICE: $Now out of production
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Kyle Bodily
NOTES:

HISTORY

Many folks see the Junkers J.I as the A-10 of its day.  But the more I study the mission profile and who really controlled The Junkers J.Is as an asset I think it’s modern counterpart is actually closer to modern day intelligence aircraft like the SR-71 or a UAV.  For protection the SR-71 flies high and fast while the Junkers J.I used heavy armor and a single machine gun mounted on a ring mount on the rear cockpit along with whatever the crew could carry to throw or drop on enemy troops.  The one thing they had in common was that both aircraft’s primary use was intelligence gathering, or in other words being the eyes and ears of the high command

 The Junkers J.I was truly what we would call a high value asset.  They were held for HRHP (High Risk High Payoff) missions where the risk of losing such a valuable asset would be worth the intelligence gathered.  The J.Is were mostly assigned to Field Flieger Abteilungen (field flying units), the Flieger Abteilungen (long-range reconnaissance units) and the Artillerie Flieger Abteilungen (Artillery spotter units).

 As stated earlier, they were very valuable and usually under the control of the AOK (Armee Ober Kommando) and the AK (Armee Korps) or even assigned missions from OHL Oberste Heeresleitung (Supreme Army Command).  Their mission profile was to obtain very time critical and actionable intelligence at points of critical concern, to fly into areas of incredible hazard and return safely with their information so the commanders could make critical decisions concerning the battle. 

 To accomplish this the aircraft was loaded with a pilot and an observer/gunner/radio operator who was very highly trained and likely an officer, with radio equipment and cameras that could produce photographs of incredible quality.  Remember today these aircraft look quite primitive but in World War One they were the height of technology and the very best a nation could produce. 

 I’ve seen some of these photographs and the quality always amazes me, as you can see every eye of every soldier crouching in their trench.  If you knew one of these men you could easily identify him.

THE KIT

I guess that this kit first came out about nine or ten years ago.  It was the first all plastic main stream kit of this very historically important aircraft.  The first thing I noticed was that this kit was very similar to the old all resin Czech Masters and Merlin model kits.  The kits are so similar that I think they hold a common ancestry although I don’t know what it is for sure. 

 The kit consists of 77 plastic parts ant the profi-pack version contains a fret of photo-etch parts.  The parts are of good quality with extra parts to build all known variants of the Junkers J.I. 

 The only problem that I see here is that the upper wings are molded with the wing tips tapering evenly from the center section.  According to the windsock datafile the wings should be strait across the upper surface with the bottoms tapering up in a dihedral to the wing tips.  

CONSTRUCTION

The kit goes together OK with the engine compartment being a little tight.  I would suggest that the modeler thin the armored walls around the cylinders to give you a little more room here.

 To give the upper wings their up swept look, after gluing them and letting them dry, I used a razor saw to cut the wings just outside of the wing joint faring.  I basically cut the top-half of the top wing in to three pieces since the top wing was already glued together this gave me just enough of a gap that I glued the two new joints flipped the wing over and taped it to a flat surface.  The goal here is to get the top of the top wing flat all the way across.  The end result is the desired sweep. 

 Another thing to be aware of is that the struts that mount the top wing are somewhat fiddly but they do work if you are very very patient. 

 Other then the issues I’ve already mentioned the kit went together quite well. 

COLORS & MARKINGS

I decided to do a representative aircraft i.e. somewhat fictitious.  I wanted to paint the green and mauve over sky-blue with a lozenge empennage. 

The lozenge is Eagle Strike five color lozenge and the rest is modelmasters paint.  All the green and mauve camo was painted free hand.  The lozenge decals along the rest were applied before final assembly.  Lastly I applied a coat of clear semi-gloss to seal everything. 

 The rigging is simple since the only wires on this aircraft were on the tail control surfaces.

CONCLUSIONS

Not the easiest kit but rewarding none the less.  Not much rigging but I did need to do some work on the upper wing.   

All in all I think it is a good kit and the best 1/72 scale Junkers J.I.  The best Junkers J.I in my humble opinion is the Wingnut Wings 1/32 scale Junkers J.I.  

Hurray!  Another kit out of my stash! 

REFERENCES

“Windsock Datafile #39 Junkers J.I” By P.M. Grosz

“Jane’s All the Worlds Aircraft 1919” (Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War I)

“Reconnaissance & Bomber Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War” Harleyford Publications limited

Kyle Bodily

June 2011

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