|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Hopefully, most of you will know that the Ju-88 was probably one of the most widely adapted German twin engine medium bombers of WWII. One area where they were widely used in the last years of the conflict was as a night fighter.
All previous night fighter versions of the Ju 88 prior to this series used a modified A-series fuselage. The G-series fuselage was purpose-built for the special needs of a night fighter, with the A-series' Bola ventral under-nose defensive gun position omitted for lower aerodynamic drag and less weight. G-1 aircraft were fitted with the enlarged squared-off vertical fin/rudder tail unit of the Ju 188, more powerful armament and 1,700 PS BMW 801 G-2 radial engines plus additional FuG 350 Naxos or FuG 227 Flensburg homing devices as well as the now-standard FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 90 MHz VHF radar.
G-6 versions (and the subject of this kit) were equipped with 1,750 PS Jumo 213A inline-V12 engines, enlarged fuel tanks and often one or two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons in a Schräge Musik ("Jazz Music", i.e. slanted) installation. Guns were firing obliquely upwards and forwards from the upper fuselage - usually at an angle of 70°.
Some of the final G-series models received updates to the engine, a high-altitude Jumo 213E or to the radar, FuG 218 Neptun V/R or the even newer FuG 240 Berlin N-1 cavity magnetron based, 30 GHz-band (centimetric) radar. Only about 10-20 of those were completed before V-E Day.
Many Luftwaffe night fighter aces, such as Helmut Lent (110 victories) and Heinrich von und zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (87 victories) flew Ju 88s during their careers.
Those wanting to know more would be advised to click on the reference link.
Zvezda is one of those companies that I equate to Italer in terms of their products. They are well done and not a paint to build. Their later efforts are always better than their earlier products, but then that is fairly standard when it comes to growing companies.
This is one of their many Ju-88 kits and pretty much relies on a standard set of sprues that can be switched around as needed. When compared to the Hasegawa kit, for instance, you will find a fairly 'dumbed down' version of the interior with things already molded in place instead of being separate. This includes the rudder pedals. You are provided crew members and from what I see, you get a standard radio fit and not the radar boxes that would be in the night fighter. A decal is provided for the instrument panel, which in this scale is pretty standard.
Once the cockpit and tail wheel is installed, the lower forward fuselage pieces are put in place. This includes the belly gun pack. There are no nose windows so smooth inserts are provided instead. The nose cap has notches to accept the antenna structure. The antennas are really too thick, but there are aftermarket brass ones that would be quite useful for this kit. The kit does have four wing pieces on each side and when I built my Ju-88A-4 from these folks that did not seem to be a problem in terms of the join seam.
Instructions show you building up the engines and attaching the main gear prior to attaching the wings. I'd leave the gear off until after painting. Note that the engines all have flame dampers on the exhaust. Ju-88Gs all had two options for the shrage musik guns. Either side by side or fore and aft. Zvezda only provides the side by side option. Check your references to ensure that the markings options given are for this variety.
Instructions are well done and provide Model Master and general paint colors. Basically these planes are overall RLM 76 with a variety of mottling. One option is shown as a base white, which would be incorrect. It is probably RLM 77, a light grey used on some planes. Upper mottling or wave patterns were in either RLM 75 or one of the late war greens. No unit information is provided nor are there complete swastikas. The latter is provided by four separate segments per side. For those who have good references, the unit codes are 3C, 9W, and W7. Decals are well printed and my sample has already started to yellow so you may want to search out some aftermarket.
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