KIT: AIMS 1/72 Ju-88A (early)
KIT #: 72-003
PRICE: 45.00
DECALS: five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin multimedia kit.

HISTORY

The Ju-88 could easily be considered the most versatile Luftwaffe twin-engine aircraft of the Second World War. Developed as a high speed bomber to replace and augment the He-111, the Ju-88 was held up in production by the ridiculous requirement that it be able to perform as a dive bomber. Ernst Udet was instrumental in this req and managed to convince many of the power people that all bombers should be able to perform this function.

Well, as it turns out, the 88 was rarely called upon to perform this task, the job of dive bombing was left to those planes whose primary design made them much more suitable. Eventually, the aircraft got into production in time for the Battle of Britain, with many of the early A-0 and A-1 variants being used for attacks on English targets. These planes had a wing that basically ended with the ailerons. Later variants added more to the wing tip. This had the effect of increasing range and carrying capabilities due to the larger overall wing area. It did cut down somewhat on speed, but really, the effect was negligible.

By the time 1940 was nearing an end, the later Ju-88A-5 (which had the same engine as the A-0/1 but the new wing) had joined into the battle. It wasn't until 1941 that the A-4 version with the upgraded engine finally started coming off the lines, by which time the short winged Ju-88s were already being sent to training schools and used for other tasks.

THE KIT

Where to start as there is just so much to this kit. Well, it is resin and has a lot of cast metal parts. There is also Eduard 72-070 for the Ju-88A etched metal frets included as well as AIMS own decal sheet on early Ju-88s. There are a number of vacuformed canopies and other bits depending on exactly which aircraft variant you are doing. You see, you can do one of many different 'short wing' versions of the Ju-88 from this kit including the A-0, A-1 and C-2 versions.

The resin itself is well done with engraved panel lines. I did find air bubbles in the trailing edges of the flight surfaces and there was a rather large one on one of the engine nacelles which may be difficult to fix due to its size. The resin parts are also on rather large stubs so quite a bit of time will be needed to remove them. This is true of the smaller bits too. I'm used to thin wafers of resin for these  thin parts and these have quite thick resin areas behind them, making part removal a rather tedious job. Perhaps the folks at AIMS can work on putting these thin parts on an equally thin wafer. Other resin makers do it all the time and I know we builders will appreciate it. Detailing on the inside of the cockpit section is really very well done. This cannot have been easy to mold and overall I like this method better than the separate side walls as it is one less thing to mess up!

There are quite a few cast metal pieces in this kit. These are for things like gear doors, prop spinners, prop blades, flap hinges, gun barrels, seats, bomb racks and landing gear. I'm particularly glad that the gear are in cast metal as it is about the only substance that won't sag under the weight of the kit. I have some resin kits with resin landing gear that in less than a year have deformed under the kit's weight so it is really imperative that resin makers provide landing gear in metal. The quality of the metal parts is generally good, though a few  of them (like some of the prop blades) have some pitting. Some of you might notice that there are prop spinners in resin and metal. This is because one set is three-blade and the other four-blade.

All the transparencies are vacuformed and quite clear. They are also quite thin so care will be needed to cut them. No spares are provided though there are different ones for different variants. The framing of the upper canopy and nose are quite good. There is none for the small gondola on the underside (other than the bomb aimer's window)  as the pattern varied.

Instructions are quite extensive as you might expect from a multi-media kit such as this. It has a good parts layout so you can be sure all your bits are there. The construction sections  provide any detail information you might need for the particular variant you are doing. This also includes placement of gondola windows and the fuselage windows, which must be cut from the resin and sections of clear acetate place. Conversely, one could just use black decal. Generally speaking, the instructions are mostly a batch of detail drawings for various sections of the kit rather than a step by step building sequence. This is perfectly OK as by the time one gets to where one can build a kit like this, basic building sequences are pretty much rote. One thing not provided is any interior color information. For this particular aircraft, the early interior color of RLM 02 would be the most appropriate. RLM 66 for interiors didn't come into vogue until late 1941 by which time many of these planes had already been replaced in combat units by later versions.

I've already gone over the decals in a previous review so you know what's available. The kit provides the alternate pieces to do the gun nose C-2 version if you do not want to do the A-0 or A-1 bomber. I find it interesting that AIMS has changed the way they do the fuselage in this kit from what is shown on their web site. The earlier method looked very much like the way AMT did theirs. Frankly, this new way makes it easier to join up the parts, though I'd highly recommend pinning the parts to give it a good strong join.

CONCLUSIONS

I have to say that I'm really jazzed that I now have an early Ju-88 model available to add to my growing Ju-88 collection. It won't be a simple build, thanks to all the bits and pieces, but the end result should be a superlative model of a very important German bomber and one that I know I'll be getting underway in the near future.

Thanks to AIMS for the review kit. You can find this and other products on their website.

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