Scott Van Aken
The Ju-87 dive bomber is certainly
one of the most famous aircraft of WWII. This characteristic 'inverted
gullwing' aircraft became most well known in the early years of
when Germany had virtual control of the skies in the battle field. Later,
when up against a more modern and determined enemy, its weakness became
more obvious. It was then that the majority of Stukas were removed from
Western Europe to fight on the Eastern Front against the Russians, where
its robust construction and ease of maintenance became paramount. During
the final year of the war, it was used in many night bombing units. In this
case the ability to fly low and slow were quite important, and some success
was achieved before the lack of fuel and time brought things to a
kit was another of the 'I wonder whose kit is being reboxed' sort of deals.
I had been told it was a Revell AG mold, but apparently that is not the case. Prior
to this and the recent Airfix B-1, the best Ju-87 kits in this scale were by Fujimi. Availability of
Fujimi kits has been sporadic at best and often were not around at all.
There are two sprues of grey plastic
and one of clear. The clear bits are bagged while the rest is loose in the
box. Thanks to the close confines of the packaging, no parts separated from
the trees or were broken off. Detail level is very good. The engraved panel
lines may be a bit too much for some, but for me, they
are about right.
Surface of many of the plastic parts is a tad 'pebbly', but this should
disappear under a coat of paint. My usual quest for molding glitches only
found some ejector pin marks on the rear cockpit instrument panel and the
bomb racks. I also found a teeny bit of flash on the rear part of the
landing gear covers. The cockpit sections are in three parts, allowing the
forward canopy to be displayed open.
Interior bits include a pilot's seat
with molded in harness, control stick, instrument panel, rear radio panel,
and gunner's seat. The instrument panel has raised detail, but no dial
detail. I would bet that other variants are planned
(or already out there) as the nose section is separate (as on the Fujimi
kits). Only spatted wheels are provided, so you'll have to go to
aftermarket for the 'bare strut' look. One does need to open holes on the
lower wing for the various bits. You have dive brakes on this one as well
as a central bomb and two wing bomb racks. Optional exhaust are provided
with one set being tubular to provide flame dampening properties for night
Instructions are well done with color
information provided by generic and Testors Model Master references. RLM
numbers would be nice as well as I doubt I'll use FS 34227 for the one of
the upper camo colors. Especially as it is a rather bright green and one
really needs to use RLM 71 Dark Green (a color available in the Model
Master line). The instructions do have you installing the lower wing
radiators backwards so be aware of that. Markings are for three aircraft.
All are basically RLM 70/71/65 with yellow lower outer wing markings. One
is the box art aircraft from I./SG 5 in Russia during 1944 that has most of
the airframe painted in winter white. Next is from I./SG 3, also in Russia
during 1944. The entire upper surface of this is white and it has a yellow
fuselage band. The final one is a D-8 from I./NSG 9 in Italy during 1944.
It also has a yellow fuselage band, which I think should be white for an Italian
based plane. It has an overall scribble pattern in RLM 76
sprayed over the top surface. Decals are well done and my experience with
new Italeri decals has been very positive.
Since I am often told that I'm not very original, I followed suit and
started with the cockpit. I glued the pilot's seat, roll over assembly and
gunner's seat to the cockpit floor. When dry, this assembly, other interior
bits and the side walls were tackled by my handy brush and painted RLM 02.
Then all the detail stuff was painted. The kit has a mass of ejector pin
marks, none of which I attempted to remove for this build, but contest
modelers will need to be aware that those will need attention.
With the cockpit painted, it was trapped in between the fuselage halves. The
nose section had the radiator and the prop piece trapped between those
halves. The wing was also assembled after opening a myriad of holes. Nearly
forgot the one that holds the bomb in place. A few of the shallow ejector
pin towers near the tips needed to be removed to get a good fit. The plastic
is relatively soft so sanding seams is easy. After that was taken care of,
the nose was attached to the fuselage. The fit is actually quite good.
I then moved to the back of the fuselage and attached the tailplanes. Note
that the instructions have the part numbers for the tailplane and strut
reversed. You'll spot it once you try to glue the pieces on, but it is nice
to know about it ahead of time. A rather strange item are the underwing
radiators. When I saw them I thought that the instructions would have you
install them backwards as it showed the open cooling door to the front.
However, checking the reference, I realized that they were indeed molded
with the forward radiator door open and the aft one closed. This is a first
With the tailplanes in place, I glued on the wing. The fit here is actually
very good. There is a small insert that fits in the front of the wing that
is a little bit undersize, but easy enough to smooth out. At this time, I
painted the tail areas and lower wing tips white with the fuselage band and
lower wing tips getting a coat of yellow paint. The canopies were masked,
not an easy task as the frame lines are somewhat indistinct. I decided to
model the plane with these closed so glued in the windscreen and forward
canopy. The aft section was tacked in place with the gun opening taped on
the inside until after painting.
Pretty much all Stukas were painted in RLM 70/71/65, though some were
overpainted with white winter paint or other markings when used for night
attack later in the war. As this was to be a Hungarian plane, the rudder top
and ends of the tail planes had to be painted red, white and green. I first
painted the area white, masked it, then followed by the red, which was
masked and lastly the green. The same was done for
the fuselage band and
lower wing areas, except I used yellow atop the white areas. This was masked while the underside was painted
RLM 65 and the upper surfaces with RLM 70. There followed considerable
masking before the RLM 71 was sprayed on. During that time, I had painted
the wing racks RLM 65 as well as the dive brakes. The bombs were assembled
and they were painted RLM 02. When it came to the landing gear, the wheels
were painted then installed. Once these were masked, the upper portion was
painted RLM 71 and the lower RLM 70 with the 'crinkly bit' in between
painted with leather.
Finally all the paint was applied to the airframe and the masking was
laboriously removed from all but the clear bits. I then glued in the main
landing gear and started applying the decals. I used Kora DEC 7254 for
Hungarian Ju-87D-5s. The sheet has a single clear coat so that means the
markings need to be cut out from the sheet. I used Mr Mark Softer to help
these snuggle down. Once these were on I started adding some more of the
smaller bits. It was during this handling that I noticed I was wearing away
the decals. Apparently these are ALPS printed so cannot put up with much
handling. I immediately sprayed some clear over them to keep them from
deteriorating any more. For the rest of the data markings, I used what came
with the kit.
Bits that were installed were the outer bomb rack anti-sway braces, which
were a tight fit. The cradle and centerline bomb were then glued on. The
bomb is actually a munitions container for SD 2 bomblets. The larger bombs
went on the outer wing racks. Of course, this sort of load would limit
range, but it was not unheard of. The prop was then installed along with the
exhaust. I then went to put on the dive brakes and discovered a couple of
things. One is that the holes for the brakes are drilled too far apart by
about 1mm. I cured this by making the outer hole more oval. I also had to
remove a rather prominent ejector mark or the brakes will have a decidedly W
look to them. I took this time to paint the brakes where the insignia would
go. Since it is black and white, it is a pretty easy operation.
Once the dive brakes were painted, they were glued in place along with the
final bits, which included the step (which I soon knocked off and lost),
pitot tube, aileron balances and cannon barrels. Some more touch up was
required before it was all given a matte clear. After that, the rear clear
section was removed, the masking taken from all the clear bits, the rear
guns glued in and the landing light installed. Then the rear canopy section
was glued in and when dry, a radio wire produced with EZ-Line. Last thing
was some exhaust staining and what seemed like a pretty long build was
There were a couple of reasons for building this one.
First is that the kit had languished on the shelves for a long time and I felt
like building a Ju-87. The second is that when I build the Airfix Ju-87B-1, I
want to have something to which it could be compared. Modelers are pretty lucky
in having several good 1/72 Ju-87 kits such as this one from Italeri and the one
from Fujimi (which seemed a bit more basic than this one). Adding the Airfix
release, which is undoubtedly going to be done in several variants, is a plus
and aside from the Ju-87A, will allow all variants to be built using mainline
plastic kits. This one was not difficult to build and looks just great when it
is done. If you have one in your stash, do yourself a favor and give it a build.
The instruction sheet.
Junkers Ju-87 by Eddie J. Creek, Classic
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