Zvezda 1/72 Ju-87B-2
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Snap Fit kit, new tool|
The Ju-87 Stuka was arguably the best dive bomber of WWII. Such was the thought amongst the world's militaries, that all of the major nations produced dive bombers, with several others, like the D3A 'Val' and SBD 'Dauntless' being successful as well. But not at the level of the Ju-87. The other two were basically naval dive bombers, yet the land based Ju-87 probably sent more ships to the bottom than both of the others combined.
However, the large Ju-87's major weakness was that it was vulnerable to enemy fighters. While this is true of all the dive bombers, the Ju-87's war career started with minimal interference from enemy fighters. Once it was faced with concerted fighter defense in the skies over Britain, it was quickly pulled from that theater of operations to areas such as Russia and North Africa where it fared much better. The type saw action up until the end of the war, excelling in ground attack and in tank busting, finally ending up being used in nocturnal attacks.
Though not built in the greatest numbers, the Ju-87B-2 has been kitted by pretty much all of the major brands at one time or another. This is undoubtedly due to the availability of extant B-2/R-2 airframes. This one by Zvezda is part of their snap fit line of WWII single engine kits. Don't let the 'snap' part of the description fool you, though. While these are just as they say, they are also superbly detailed models in their own right and anyone who has built a kit in this line knows how nice they really are.
The kit starts you off with a full upper wing and somewhat smaller lower wing what provides clean leading edges. These trap the two wing guns and the landing light lens between them. This will leave a small slot leading up to the wing guns. Those wanting to pose the model on one of Zvezda's optional stands will need to open the hole in the lower wing half.
The floor of the interior is molded onto the upper wing half and onto this fit the pilot and gunner's seat. Two crew figures are provided and the gunner has a shell casing bin. Moving to the fuselage halves, one traps the forward bulkhead pieces and the prop spinner between the halves. The lower radiator section is then pushed in place along with the three piece prop assembly. There is a side intake and the upper cowling section that then is attached. The forward instrument panel is slid in from the underside, followed by the wings. There is a separate cowl flap piece and then a large bomb and crutch.
Wheel pants trap the wheel between them and then are inserted into the lower wing. There are siren props for the front of the pants. Two types of dive brake are offered, one raised and one lowered. For the outer bomb racks you can either put two small bombs or fuel tanks. If you use the fuel tanks you have basically built a Ju-87R-2. Stabs and braces are then pushed into place along with other lower fuselage bits. The last pieces are the rear gun and window along with the canopy and radio mast.
Instructions are very easy to follow and provide Humbrol color references. Two markings options are provided. Both are in RLM 70/71/65 with one being simply listed as Western Europe 1940. The other has large areas of tan over the upper surfaces to depict a plane in North Africa during 1941. Zvezda's decals are nicely printed, include dive brake markings but no swastikas, and should work just fine. There are, of course, a number of aftermarket decals for this version so you should have no issues finding something you like.
In all, this is a very nice looking kit. One might be tempted to say it is the best kit in this scale of this variant yet done, however, there are a few things about which I found puzzling. First, the kit supplied an additional instrument panel with no detail on it as you often see for a decal, yet there is no decal to use on it. The footsteps have no holes and have to be glued in place. The instructions make no mention of the clear window for bomb aiming and it is supplied on the sprues. Finally, there are no aileron mass balances. Yes, these are minor details but they need to be mentioned for the review to be complete.
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