|KIT:||MPM 1/72 Ju-87A|
|PRICE:||$4.00 at a swap meet|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run with vacuformed canopy|
One of the most feared war machines at the beginning of WWII was the Ju-87 Stuka. This dive bomber was able to wreak a great deal of havoc in the first nine months of WWII as it was used where the Germans had complete control of the skies and the aircraft could go about its mission in relative safety. This was true throughout the war when it was used without fear of interference from opposing air forces. However, when there was resistance, then the Ju-87 was pretty much a sitting duck for enemy pilots.
When developed in the mid 1930s, the Ju-87 was the result of the 'latest and greatest' in air weapons. At least in the eyes of Luftwaffe high command. The dive bomber was the darling of air forces around the world with the Germans requiring some sort of dive bombing capabilities from all its bombers. The Japanese Navy put great emphasis on dive bombing as did the US Navy, and to some degree, so did the British Fleet Air Arm. Against ships, the dive bomber was especially lethal with the SBD Dauntless probably leading the way with the most tonnage sunk during the war.
However, it was the Ju-87 that gained all the notoriety and it was THE aircraft to fly in the years leading up to the war. Despite its vulnerability, the Ju-87 was still being built as late as 1944 and was used until the end of hostilities. Many were exported to other Axis nations and used to good effect by Germany's allies.
This is one of MPM's first injected kits. They had several vacs done prior to this and they simply transferred that experience over to injected plastic. Typical of their first kits, it is molded in a dark brown plastic. There is the usual flash and somewhat rough surface texture with little bits of 'stuff' on the surface. Detail is engraved and quite crisp. It is also a tad shallow and so some of it will disappear under the inevitable sanding and filler.
The interior is relatively complete with a floor, central bulkhead, control stick, seats, instrument panel and a gun for the guy in back. No sidewall detail and no photo-etch for seat belts and the like. There is also no ordnance or bomb racks of any sort, though the dive brakes are included. A single, somewhat thick and slightly cloudy vacuformed canopy is provided.
Instructions are quite basic with a history, well done three view, parts layout, exploded diagram (this is the construction part) and a decal and color guide. No interior or detail colors are provided, but the external paint guide does give the four RLM shades used on these early war planes. Though two schemes are shown, only the Luftwaffe decals are provided in the box. It is possible that someone pinched the Spanish Civil War markings, but I imagine they were not included as only the one small sheet is in the box. These decals are well done, though they have yellowed over the years. No swastika is provided; instead a small black square is used. Your aftermarket decals should be able to provide substitutes for this. Painting the four color camouflage will be somewhat time consuming with all the masking required, but the end result will be worth it.
Believe it or not, in the decade or so since this was released, this is still the only 1/72 Ju-87A that is around. While not the easiest kit to build, with a bit of work and those modeling skills, one should be able to make a nice model out of this.
Thanks to the vendors at Indy for allowing me to buy this one cheap!
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