|PRICE:||3800 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||2015 Limited Edition.|
The Junkers Ju 188 was a German Luftwaffe high-performance medium bomber built during World War II, the planned follow-up to the Ju 88 with better performance and payload. It was produced only in limited numbers, due both to the presence of improved versions of the Ju 88, as well as the increasingly effective Allied strategic bombing campaign against German industry and the resulting focus on fighter production.
In early 1944, it was decided to focus on reconnaissance versions of the A and E models. The airframe was modified with the removal of the bomb aimer and forward gun and additional fuel cells were added to extend the range to 3,400 km (2,100 mi). The Ju 188 D-1 was otherwise similar to the A-1 and the Ju 188 D-2 had nose radar for naval reconnaissance. Similar conversions of the E models were the Ju 188 F-1 and Ju 188 F-2
It was not surprising that Hasegawa would include the Ju-188 to its Ju-88 line up. Previously, Italeri did exactly the same thing. It was really a no-brainer as the majority of the airframe was the same. It was due to this variant that the nose section of the kit is a separate piece.
This is the recon version and differs somewhat from the standard bomber versions. In this case, it means a separate insert aft of the bomb bay for the camera section. It also means that the inside external bomb racks will be used for the included additional fuel tanks, which give the aircraft its long range. Since this is the F variant, it is powered by BMW radials whereas some other 188s use the Jumos. The 188 also has longer wing tips, hence the separate tips of the base kit. In addition to this, the kit is basically very much like the basic boxing A-4.
There are two markings options provided. The box art plane in its winter camouflage is from Aufkl Gr.22 based in Finland during 1944. so there are not any differences in the parts used with the two. As expected, the nose is separate from the rest of the fuselage and since this does not have a bomber nose, the various small windows in the lower nose will need to be installed and filled in. The nicely done interior uses decals for instruments and this is adequate for the scale.
Two hefty wing spars are installed to help keep the wings properly aligned. Both options are Jumo powered so you get those engine nacelles. Note also that the wing tips are separate items and are among the more difficult pieces to get properly aligned. There are some holes you'll need to open in the lower fuselage and that is shown in the instructions. One nice thing is that you can install the main landing gear after the kit is painted. The tail gear gets trapped between the fuselage halves so you'll need to mask that off
As usual, the clear bits will be a challenge. I highly suggest a masking set and care with installation as this one has twin rear facing guns. I've built a couple of Hasegawa Ju-88s and while they do have a goodly number of inserts, they are fairly straight-forward builds so this one should be pretty much the same. .
Instructions are well done with the usual Gunze paint references. The two options have interesting paint schemes. The box art plane is in a winter camouflage scheme as it was based in Finland during 1944. The other has a standard bomber scheme of RLM 70/71/65 but with heavy squiggles of RLM 76 over the upper surfaces. Decals are fairly well done and should be quite usable.
This is a very good kit and well worth building. This is one of several kits I'd bought this from a person I'd bought kits from before, and it was listed as unstarted. That was true. However, all the parts had been cut from the sprues and put into a bag. The box top and bottom had been folded to fit flat and save space. To say I'm less than pleased would be about right and this will stop me from ever buying anything from him again. I have built Ju-88s in this scale from everyone who has kitted one except the new Revell version, and my first choice is still the Hasegawa offering.
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