|PRICE:||2720 yen at www.hlj.com (about $23.00). 3400 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Ju 88C was originally intended as a fighter-bomber and heavy fighter by adding fixed, forward-firing guns to the nose while retaining some bomb carrying ability of the A-series bomber. The C-series had a solid metal nose, and retained the A-series style vertical tail, as well as the ventral Bola gondola under the crew compartment, although this was sometimes removed at unit level in order to reduce weight and drag and thus enhance aircraft performance. The Ju-88C was later used as a night fighter and this became its main role.
The first night fighter version of the Ju 88 was the C-2, based on the A-1 and armed with one 20 mm MG FF cannon and three 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns placed in a new metal nose. These examples entered service in Zerstörerstaffel of KG 30 and the unit was renamed II./NJG 1 in July 1940.
Many Ju-88C's had their Bola gondolas modified to hold up to 3 forward firing machine guns or cannon. The rear gondola gun position being eliminated. In addition several night fighters were equipped with two "Schräge-Musik" upward firing 20mm cannon in trial fittings and from mid 1943 onward, there was an official field modification kit available for this arrangement.
The most widely built variant was the C-6, the subject of this kit. It was a heavy fighter and Night fighter, based on the Ju-88A-4 airframe, powered by Jumo 211J engines with 1420 PS, 900 built. Often times the day fighters had their new solid-metal noses specially painted to resemble the bomber A-series' "beetle's eye" faceted clear view nose glazing, in an attempt to deceive Allied pilots into thinking the fighters were actually bombers; the unusual "camouflage" attempt did result initially in a number of Allied aerial losses.
Hasegawa made a really wise move in deciding to kit the Ju-88. It has provided at least a dozen major boxings of different variants and there is plenty of room to do even more as the years go by. All this is helped by the fact that pretty much every Ju-88 variation was able to operate with either BMW radials or the Jumo in line engines, doubling the possible kits they could produce.
This is their latest, the Ju-88C-6 heavy fighter. Much of the kit is the same as their base Ju-88A-4 version, but in this case, there is no glass nose, but a gun nose. This is all contained on the new V and W sprues.
The kit is modular so like most other Ju-88 series of kits, there is a separate nose section to take care of differences. The cockpit is fairly well done with separate pilot and rear gunner's seat with controls for the pilot. There is the small bicycle seat for what I guess is for the man who takes care of the forward guns. Cannot be very comfy on long flights. The main instrument panel has raised detailing and a decal. There are a pair of main wing spars that fit through the main fuselage halves and these add a lot of stiffness to the wing join.
This particular variant has the Jumo engines and these are provided as a seven piece assembly for each side. They hold a poly cap so one simply has to press on the props. A separate fin/rudder as well as horizontal stabilizers are provided and you have covers for the bomb bay. The landing gear on the Ju-88 is somewhat complex and Hasegawa has done a nice job of portraying this. No need to open holes for bomb racks as the C-6 did not have them.
A gondola was carried on this version and that is a five piece construct and a bit fiddly to get properly lined up. Also a bit fiddly are the two aft canopy halves so take care when attaching these and the lower clear nose windows. As the nose is also used on the night fighter version, you'll be filling a few holes. Though they cannot be positioned other than neutral, Hasegawa has provided separate ailerons. In fact, much of the kit is somewhat reminiscent of the Dragon 1/48 versions. Guess there are few alternative ways of doing a Ju-88 kit.
Instructions are well done with Gunze paint references. All three markings are for planes of KG 40, which operated over the Bay of Biscay in 1942-43. The job of this unit was not only to hunt surface shipping, but to shoot down enemy recon planes and transports heading to Gibralter from the UK. They were also tasked with protecting U-boats on their way to and from their pens on the French coast as well as to help hunt for convoys. Two of the options are painted like the box art aircraft in RLM 76 with RLM 75 camo patches. The other is in the standard splinter camo of RLM 70/71/65. The decal sheet is nicely printed and also provides prop rings.
This is a fine addition to the collection of any Ju-88 fan. Hasegawa 88's are the best on the market and build into superb replicas. As usual, the Limited Edition kits are limited and will sell out rather quickly.
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