Zvezda 1/72 Ju-88A-4
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New kit (2009 molding)|
Germany produced two widely used bombers that fought on all fronts throughout the war. One was the He-111 and the other was its replacement, the Ju-88. Over 15,000 were built, rivaling it with many other types in terms of numbers built and making it the third most produced German aircraft after the Bf-109 and FW-190.
Designed as a high speed bomber with the ability to perform dive bombing missions, the Ju-88A-4 was the third major production variant after the A-1 and A-5 version. Though the Ju-88A-4 entered service during the summer of 1940, it was the A-1 and A-5 subtypes that saw the greatest amount of action during the Battle of Britain. The Ju-88 went on to more subtypes and even a wider array of missions, but it was the early versions that are most remembered by enthusiasts.
The 1/72 Ju-88 has seen its share of plastic over the years. We have had kits from Revell, Matchbox, AMT, and Hasegawa just to name those I can think of off the top of my head. Each newer kit was an improvement over the other in terms of detail and accuracy. The Hasegawa kits are still very nice, but they have been pricing themselves out of the reach of many. This new kit from Zvezda does much to bring a quality Ju-88 back into the reach of modelers. When I opened the box, two things immediately grabbed my attention. One is that the largest sprue was not in a polybag, whereas the other two were. The second is that Zvezda has packaged the clear bits in its own small box. This will definitely reduce the chances of scratching while rattling around in the big box, though the sprue does rattle around in the smaller one.
Speaking of sprues, the quality of the clear bits is good, though several of the pieces were slightly 'crazed' or had very tiny air pockets in them. This wasn't on all the parts, but it is something to watch out for. The rest of the plastic is superbly molded with engraved detailing one can very much call crisp. I did notice some sink areas around the outside of the cockpit pieces, which I guess is to be expected due to the detailing on the inside of the cockpit walls.
Another difference between this kit and some of the previous ones is that the cockpit section and tail section are not separate from the rest of the fuselage. While this may well reduce the number of variants they can kit from the same mold, it is so much nicer for the builder not to have one other large seam to worry about. I also noticed that the wings are in two sections with the outer section being separate from the inner at the inner aileron separation line. This brings the possibility of the early A-1 version and some of the longer wing planes being done without have to resort to wing tip inserts. It is hoped that this method of treating things will be the way to go. For things under wings, aside from the usual dive brakes, there are four bomb racks and four bombs to put in them. If the plane was travelling any real distance, it would probably not carry all four.
Instructions are very well done with color information in what looks like Zvezda's own brand and Model Master colors. Interestingly, there are no RLM references at all. It suggests Olive Drab for the interior, USSR Pale Blue for RLM 65 and other somewhat unlikely shades for the other colors. Four markings options are provided, three of them in RLM 70/71/65 with the third in a desert scheme. The box art option is from KG.30's Werner Baumbach and his goodly tally of ship kills. Next with a white fuselage band is a KG 28 plane from the Mediterranean theater. From the same area of ops in 1943 is a I./KG 54 plane with what is shown as yellow wing tip undersides and yellow lower cowlings. The final option is one with a sand upper surface that has dark green and white upper squiggles with dark green squiggles all over the undersurface. This one operated from Sicily with 4./KG 54 in 1943. Decals are quite well printed and should work OK.
It is nice to see a low cost alternative to some admittedly nice, but expensive kits. The molding looks great and though the interior still relies on decals for instruments, it is a small price to pay. I predict that this one will sell very well indeed.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Get yours at your favorite shop or ask them to order it for you.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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