Wingnut Wings 1/32 Junkers J.I
|Scott Van Aken
The Junkers J.I (manufacturer's designation J4, not to be confused with the earlier, pioneering Junkers J 1 all-metal monoplane of 1915/16) was a German sesquiplane format warplane of World War I, developed for low-level observation and ground attack. It is especially noteworthy as being the first all-metal aircraft to enter mass production. It was a slow aircraft, but its metal construction and heavy armour, which comprised an extremely advanced, single-unit armored "bathtub" that ran from just behind the propeller, to the rear crew position, and acted both as the main fuselage structure and engine mounting setup in one unit, was an effective shield against anti-aircraft defensive fire.
It was well-liked by its crews, although its ponderous performance earned it the nickname "Furniture Van". They were used on the Western Front during the Kaiserschlacht of March 1918. There were 227 J.Is manufactured during the war.
There has been a lot of discussion about this company. Peter Jackson, a movie director of note and avid WWI aircraft fan has apparently bank-rolled this company and their initial offering has been four 1/32 WWI aircraft and two diorama scenes. Thanks to brisk sales on the MM Sales page, I was able to get enough to order one of these to see what it was like. The introductory price included express mailing from New Zealand, so it was a difficult offer to resist.
The large box arrived in good order. All of the sprues are individually sealed to prevent damage and the box is jammed full of them. Like most 1/32 kits, there are too many sprues to lay them all out so I have shown the sprues layout. I'm sure you can find images on the net. Even the instruction book is sealed. This book is in full color and includes a number of photos of the surviving air frames; one in Germany and one in Canada. There are also a goodly selection of period images. The illustrations are superbly done and when optional parts are provided, it shows those in the build illustration. Colors are provided with Tamiya, Humbrol and MisterKit colors. In some cases, mixing is required.
The kit parts themselves are very nicely detailed. Quite reminiscent of current MPM kits in terms of the quality of the molding. I found no flash or sink areas anywhere during my inspection of the parts. This is not a small aircraft and fortunately, the method of construction will allow it to be easily handled. The upper and lower wings are supplied with a very large tab which will fit into equally large slots in the center sections. This way, one can install the outer wing sections last and not have to worry about an unwieldy aircraft model when applying small parts.
The kit has but one small etched fret that include the crew's seat belts. There are apparently two different engine options; one without the pushrods, though that is not shown as being used in the layout diagram. Two different exhaust options are also provided, with the curved one being used for one of the markings options. There are also two optional rear machine guns as well as some optional instruments, depending on which you are building.
The five markings options are all a base of dark green over light blue with some having mauve included in the camouflage. The decal sheet is huge and Fills the bottom of the large box. Unfortunately, mine was not completely in the bottom of the box so was folded during shipment. The scan you see still has the protective covering over the sheet. The markings are very nicely printed by Cartograf, who seems to hold a near monopoly on kit decals nowadays!
I can understand why here are many who are falling all over themselves with praise. This is a most impressive kit and I have to say, that though the price seems high, the quality of the molding and what comes with the kit is worth it. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Thanks to you who have bought the items on the Sales page for allowing me to afford to get this one.
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