Zvezda 1/72 Ju-88A-5/17
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The most important Ju-88 version of the Battle of Britain was the A-1 and A-5 variants. The A-1 was the initial production aircraft while the A-5 was basically the same as the A-1, but had the longer wing tips of the later A-4. Engines and the rest of the airframe were basically the same. The A-5 was still in wide use during the invasion of the Soviet Union in mid 1941 and several of these soldiered on until the end of the war.
The A-17 was a specialized torpedo bomber based on the A-4 version. It can be easily identified by the duct work on the right side of the nose section that contained the torpedo control cables. This version wreaked havoc with convoy PQ-17 that was bound for Murmansk.
The 1/72 Ju-88 has seen its share of plastic over the years. We have had kits from Revell, Matchbox, AMT, Italeri, and Hasegawa just to name those I can think of off the top of my head. Each newer kit was an improvement over the other in terms of detail and accuracy. The Hasegawa kits are still very nice, but they have been pricing themselves out of the reach of many. This is the second Ju-88 kit from Zvezda and does much to bring a quality Ju-88 back into the reach of modelers. In fact, it looks like they may be on their way to doing a series. As mentioned earlier, I like that Zvezda has packaged the clear bits in its own small box. This will definitely reduce the chances of scratching while rattling around in the big box, though the sprue does rattle around in the smaller one. All the rest of the sprues were loose in the box.
Speaking of sprues, the quality of the clear bits is good, though several of the pieces were slightly 'crazed' or had very tiny air pockets in them. This wasn't on all the parts, but it is something to watch out for. The rest of the plastic is superbly molded with engraved detailing one can very much call crisp. I did notice some sink areas around the outside of the cockpit pieces, which I guess is to be expected due to the detailing on the inside of the cockpit walls.
Another difference between this kit and some of the previous ones is that the cockpit section and tail section are not separate from the rest of the fuselage. While this may well reduce the number of variants they can kit from the same mold, it is so much nicer for the builder not to have one other large seam to worry about. I also noticed that the wings are in two sections with the outer section being separate from the inner at the inner aileron separation line. This brings the possibility of the early A-1 version and some of the longer wing planes being done without have to resort to wing tip inserts. It is hoped that this method of treating things will be the way to go. For things under wings, aside from the usual dive brakes, there are four bomb racks and four bombs to put in them. If the plane was travelling any real distance, it would probably not carry all four.
This kit allows two different versions to be done from the initial A-4 offering. What Zvezda has done is to simply include an extra sprue to the three main one previously offered. This provides the proper fin for the A-17 (the one in the A-4 kit is without the kink in the rudder hinge line, which is fine for early A-4s, but not later ones and not the A-17). It also has the thinner prop blades for the A-5 as well as the different engine faces and the smooth lower cowling that were common with the A-5. A different upper canopy section is also included with the single machine gun mount and you get a pair of torpedoes, the ducting fairing and different racks.
Instructions are very well done with color information in Model Master colors. Interestingly, there are no RLM references at all. It suggests Olive Drab for the interior, USSR Pale Blue for RLM 65 and other somewhat unlikely shades for the other colors. Two markings options are provided, both of them in RLM 70/71/65. The box art A-17 is with KG 26 in the Med during 1944 while the A-5 is with KG.30 when based in Finland during 1941/42. The A-5 is shown with black wings and lower fuselage but seems to have the tailplanes left in RLM 65. Both of these planes have yellow lower wing tips, though I would have thought the Mediterranean one would have been in white. Aside from colored spinner tips, there is no other color provided. As with the previous kit, only the left side camouflage is given (with most of the forward fuselage hidden by wings and engines), and the upper scheme stopping just outside the right engine. This means you will really need to find another source for the splinter scheme. The decal sheet is well printed, though uninspiring, and lacks a swastika, a black square provided in its place. I would have thought that at least one Battle of Britain scheme would have been included.
This is a very nice kit that adds to Zvezda's growing line of German bombers. I would expect it to build very much like the Ju-88A-4 I built earlier. That means it has a few areas of concern, but is otherwise a well thought out kit.
Mostly the kit instructions.
Thanks to me and the funds earned from consignments for this one.
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