|KIT:||Hasegawa 1/72 Ju-88G-1 'Night Fighter'|
|PRICE:||$36.75 from www.greatmodels.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
One of the most adapted airframes of WWII has to be the Ju-88. I can't think of a single thing that this aircraft wasn't developed to do aside from land on the water and take off vertically. It was a bomber, fighter, transport, reconnaissance aircraft, trainer and even a flying bomb itself in the Mistel variants.
The longest lasting job it did was that of a night fighter. The airframe was large enough to carry the heavy electronics as well as additional cannon, both horizontal and angled 'jazz music'. It was also capable of staying aloft for long periods of time, a real plus when it came to following bomber streams to and from their targets.
While earlier Ju-88 night fighters were modified heavy day fighter, the G model was built from the start for the nocturnal role. It was differentiated from earlier Ju-88A/C models by the larger, more squared off fin and rudder that were originally used on the Ju-88D and Ju-188 and larger horizontal stabilizers. A gun pack on the belly with 20mm cannon replaced the bombardier's gondola and the bomb bay sealed for more fuel and weapons.
Many of the G models had additional angled 'Shräge Musik' cannon, allowing the aircraft to fly under a bomber and then rake it with gun fire. Often the bomber crew didn't know there was a night fighter around until it was in trouble and falling. The G-1 was powered with BMW 801D radials and the very similar G-6 had Jumo 211. G model Ju-88s started reaching night fighter units in early 1944 and served until the end of the war.
This is not the first 1/72 Ju-88G kit ever done. AMT did one as part of their Ju-88 series and AIMS has done one in resin as well as provide upgrade parts for the AMT kit. However, this one surpasses those others in terms of ease of construction and fidelity of detail. Sure, there are probably a few things that are not 100% and I'm sure there will be sets to fix any discrepancies noticed. For the rest of us we have a very fine night fighter version of the Ju-88.
As you might guess, many of the airframe parts are the same as the earlier Hasegawa Ju-88A-4 kit. That includes the main fuselage and wings. There are several sprues just for this version to take care of the engine differences and the larger tail and the solid nose and the other night fighter bits and pieces. Decals are used for the instruments and this includes those on the bulkheads and the radio rack as well as the normal instrument panel. The gun pack is molded in with the lower bomb bay door replacement piece. The most fiddly portion of the build seems to be the nose area, where you use the bomber transparencies around the solid nose and simply paint them rather than leave them clear. The radar antenna are, as you'd image, a bit too thick and they butt join, making for a fussy construct. hopefully someone will do a single piece antenna section out of cast brass. The other option is to replace it with fine tubing and wire.
Instructions offer the usual we have come to expect from Hasegawa. there are three options, all of them basically RLM 76 with various sized spots and squiggles in RLM 75 on the upper surface. First is the box art plane from 2./NJG 4 in January 1945. Next is from 7./NJG 2 in July 1944. This plane has additional under wing radar antennas. The final option is from 3./NJG 7 in October 1944. This aircraft has black on the underside except for the right lower outer wing panel. Black is also on the top of the wing behind the engine. The decals are well printed with the white being white. They are a tad thick, but should work well enough. One thing about night fighters is that they were usually insignia and codes and not much else.
Another nice Hasegawa kit. It should go together well and I'm sure that we will soon see some aftermarket bits for it. Those of us hoarding our AMT kits can now pawn them off as this one will beat the heck out of that one!
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