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Mike

Junkers Ju-88A-11 1:48

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Ju-88A-11

1:48 ICM (48235)

 

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The Ju-88 was designed as a schnellbomber in the mid 30s, and at the time it was faster than current fighter designs, so it was projected that it could infiltrate, bomb and exfiltrate without being intercepted.  That was the theory anyway.  By the time WWII began in the west, fighters had caught up with the previously untouchable speed of the 88, and it needed escorting to protect it from its Merlin equipped opponents.  It turned out to be a jack of all trades however, and was as competent as a night fighter, dive bomber or doing reconnaissance as it was bombing Britain.  They even popped a big gun on the nose and sent it against tanks and bombers, with variable success.

 

The A series sported a pair of Jumo 211 engines in cylindrical cowlings producing over 1,000hp each, and was improved gradually up until the A-17, with the A-11 being the official designation for the factory produced tropicalized version.  It was fitted with filters to protect the engine from dust and dirt, as well as a rescue kit for ditching and forced landings.

 

 

The Kit

This is a new variation on the original tooling of an A-5 that was release recently by ICM, with new parts added to make it version specific.  There are new engine nacelles and props; new fin and rudder; changes to the cockpit mounted machine-guns, and different glazing options are chosen from the same clear sprue.  The box is the usual top-opening with an inner lid style, and inside you will find eight sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, decal sheet and a glossy covered instruction booklet with spot colour inside, and the decal options in full colour on the back cover.  If you have been lucky enough to see the A-5, you'll know that detail is right up there in terms of quality and crispness, with ICM really improving over the last few years, which has to be great news for modellers, as they aren't frightened of tackling what to us may seem niche subject matters.

 

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With the sprue-related excitement out of the way, work on the fuselage begins with the addition of sidewall details in the capacious cockpit area.  Rear bulkhead, side consoles and seats are all added to the cockpit sides for a change, with an insert in the fuselage for the circular antenna and tail wheel added into the starboard side.  The instrument panel is supplied with decals, and fits into the fuselage during joining.  The missing floor is added to the lower fuselage panel that includes the lower parts of the inner wings and gives the structure some strength.  It also receives the rudder pedals, control column, and the two remaining crew seats before being joined to the fuselage.

 

The tail plane has articulated flying surfaces, and the wings are supplied as top and bottom, with the flaps and ailerons separate from the box, and neat curved fairings so they look good when fitted at an angle.  The flaps include the rear section of the soon-to-be-fitted nacelles, which are added as separate parts to avoid sink-marks, and these and the ailerons run full-span, terminating just as the wingtip begins.  This variant was fitted with the under-fuselage gondola, and each side has separate glazing panels inserted from inside, and a seam running vertically through its length.  It is added to the hole in the underside of the fuselage, with the front and rear glazing plus zwilling mounted machine guns later in the build.  At this time the landing gear is made up on a pair of upstands that are added to the underwing in preparation for the installation of the nacelle cowlings.  The engines have to be built up first though, consisting of a high part count with plenty of detail, and a rear firewall that securely fits inside the cowling.  Even though this is an in-line engine with a V-shaped piston layout, the addition of the annular radiators gives it the look of a radial, with their representation added to the front of the cowling, obscuring much of the engine detail.  The side panels can be left off to show all that detail however, and I'm sure Eduard will be along with some in-scale opened panels in due course (there might be some in my inbox, thinking about it!).  The cooling flaps around the cowling are separate, and the exhausts have separate stacks, which aren't hollow but are large enough to make boring them out with a drill a possibility.

 

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The completed nacelle fit to the underwing over the top of the main gear installation, securing in place with four pegs, two on each side of each nacelle.  The props are made from spinner, backplate and a single piece containing all three blades, sliding onto a pin projecting from the engine front, which will require some glue if you want to keep them on.  At this point the instructions recommend adding the canopy glazing, which consists of a choice of two faceted nose cones, and the main greenhouse for the cockpit aperture.  The rear portion is made from two additional parts due to its double "blown" shape to accommodate the two rearward gun positions, so that the gunner's head isn't pressed against the canopy.  The guns are fitted through the windscreen and the two circular ports on the rear, although no ammo feed is supplied.  Under the wings the dive spoilers are added with four bomb crutches on aerodynamic mounts, with bombs supplied that have two of their fins moulded separately, along with the stabilising struts that fit into notches in the fins.  While the airframe is flipped over, the two-part wheels and twin main gear bay doors are added, both having good detail and the former a radial tread.  Addition of the canopy mounted antenna completes the build, but this is likely to be done long after main painting for safety's sake!

 

 

Markings

The kit includes two markings options from the relevant theatre, and the first page of the painting section details the application of the numerous stencils that are supplied in the kit.  There are no Swastikas on the sheet, but the Balkenkreuz are included, with a portion separated into narrow sections to ease decaling the dive spoilers.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • Junkers Ju.88A-11 3./LG 1, North Afrika, 1942 – Afrika Brown over Hellblau RLM 65
  • Junkers Ju.88A-11 I./LG 1, North Afrika, 1942 – Afrika Brown with Dunkelgrun RLM 71 patches over Hellblau RLM 65

 

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The colours are picked out using letters that correspond to a table on the front page, which gives the names and paint codes in Revell and Tamiya ranges, so should be easy to convert to your paint system of choice.  The decals are printed in-house and have good register, colour density and sharpness, with additional instrument dials included on a clear carrier film to help with cockpit painting.  All of the stencils are legible, and overall they inspire confidence, with a thin carrier film cut close to the printing, with a few exceptions where lettering has film that could have been dispensed with to reduce the menace of silvering.

 

 

Conclusion

ICM's range of Ju.88s and Do.17s are a good example of how far they have come in recent years, adding value to their brand, and improving their reputation with each release.  The kit is well-detailed and comprehensive in what it includes, and with a nice pair of decal options it says "build me".

 

Highly recommended.

 

Review sample courtesy of

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I like the look of this one.

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