MPM 1/48 Bu-131 Jungmann

KIT #: ?
PRICE: 7Euro (1990)
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard


Bucker Bu-131 Jungmann (Youth)

The Bu-131 was a two-seat light trainer designed by Anders Anderson, the company’s Swedish engineer. The Jungmann was a conventional single-bay biplane with a staggered, swept wing of fabric covered wooden construction, a welded steel tube fuselage, with the exception of light alloy around the engine and the cockpit was also fabric covered and a wire braced tail unit of similar construction to the fuselage. The fixed tail-wheel type landing gear had a rather stalky-divided main unit.

 The prototype first flew in 1934 with the power plant of one Hirth HM60K inverted in-line engine rated at 80 hp. The initial production version was designated Bu-131A and proceeded very successful.. The type was not only manufactures for civil flying schools in Germany but also very extensively for the Luftwaffe. Examples were exported for service in some 8 European countries, with the largest number going to Hungary (190) and Romania (150). In addition 75 aircraft were license built in Switzerland. A more extensive licensed construction was undertaken in Japan where 1,037 Nippon Kokusai Ki-86 were built for service with the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force under designation Type 4 Primary Trainer.

 Right from the outset the Second World War affected the Balkans. Bulgaria was one seeking to improve the air potential system and obtain modern equipment. In May 1940 the 24th National assembly adopted the Armed Forces Act and during the same month saw the arrival of first truly modern aircraft. This included Me-109s, Ar-69Bs, Me-108, and no less than 14 Bucker Bu-131 Jungmann trainers. The arrival of the Bu-131 was tasked with training pilots and technical personnel. This emerged on the basis of training Orliak at Vrajdebna and Air training Polk with its Orliak at Kazanluk. Training intensity grew in 1940; pilots and trainers flew some 11,000 hours more than the previous year. Typical Bulgarian Bu-131 trainers registrations are: LZ-BUH 26; LZ-BUL 29; LZ-BUE 23;LZ-BUI 27;LZ-BUK 28; LZ-BUN 30. Bu-131 operated alongside other trainers in Bulgarian service, which included FW44, DAR8, DAR9 and Avia Bs-122.

Other Bu-131s were built by Aero in Czechoslovakia during the 1950s under the designation C-4. A total in excess of 3,500 of all versions were produced in all these countries and like other classic trainers many Bu-131 aircraft survived the war and are functioning up to the present day, presenting the most interesting attractions at air shows in Northern Europe and the United States.


The MPM scale model of the Bu-131 is injected type moulded in dark brown rather brittle plastic and all the parts are attached to two frets of sprues. There are the main fuselage parts, wings, front engine cowling, wheels, seats and a two bladed propeller attached to one sprue, and the wing and fuselage struts, instrument panels,, tail wheel, legs on a smaller sprue. The A4 size 4-page instructions contain history, plan view of components, accurate three view scale plan and another detailed plan and side view showing decal placement for one Czech AF trainer aircraft. There is no exploded diagram to indicate the stages of assembly procedure, neither written assembly sequence. As for detail parts the fuselage and wing parts have nice ribbing and the forward cowling is also convincing. A decal sheet for a Czech AF C-4 contains national markings, fuselage registration and fuselage stamped detail inscriptions.


This was a straight from the box kit build. Assembly start with detailing the cockpits for the instructor and trainee. Accurate decals are provided to fit over a brown instrument panel. Crew seats are added and seats straps made from slices of tape colour tan are also added. Interior was painted light grey. A blanking firewall is made from plastic card and added just aft of the front air intake which is painted black and serves to stop the see through effect between the intake and cockpits. Fuselage is closed, wings separated carefully from runner and sanded and lower wings inserted in fuselage slots. The same goes for the tail planes. After reference to scale plans the position of fuselage and wing struts is marked and struts are carefully glued at the spots marked and allowed to dry overnight. At this stage the two windshields are cut from clear acetate provided with the kit, these were somewhat thick and not so clear. Looking hindsight I should have replaced with a fresh set made from thinner clear acetate. These are then attached to the fuselage with white glue.

It was time to drill holes for rigging at forward central fuselage and lower and upper wing parts. There is little access to the forward rigging and tiny holes using 0.04mm pin drill are best drilled before the upper wing is lowered on the struts. Invisible thread is used for rigging. The wings are lowered and fixed on struts and allowed time for the assembly to set. Wheel struts are fixed in place and wheels with integral mudguards are inserted. In the end the tail wheel is added and rigging carefully passed through pre-drilled holes, secured with super glue and tiny amount of filler blanks the holes. These areas were sanded using wet and dry.


With windshields covered using Maskol, and the cockpit openings blanked with masking tape the model had the nose cowling painted very pale blue. The rest of the kit airbrushed in Humbrol RLM2. Rudder was painted in Bulgarian national colours. Kit was given a coat of Klear and lettering decals configured registration from spares box applied. First aid box decal and fuselage instructions at the rear came from kit decals.



The kit had hallmarks of an early short run type by MPM. I got my kit from a local model shop some years back but I recall it was also available at Squadron shops in the US. 1/48 is not my usual scale but being a small model it is an exception to the rule and an opportunity to add another type that served with the Bulgarian Air Force.

 Carmel J. Attard

January 2011

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