Ju-87B-2 Stuka

Published on
September 4, 2012
Review Author(s)
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Company: Trumpeter - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Stevens International - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

The Junkers Ju-87 Sturzkampfflugzeug, or Stuka, was a two-seat dive bomber designed for the German Luftwaffe. Its first flight was in 1935 and it made its combat debut in 1936. Sturdily built with many innovations, it was highly accurate and very effective, and it became the symbol of German airpower during the Blitzkrieg victories at the beginning of WWII. Its lack of speed, maneuverability, and defensive firepower showed themselves against more modern fighter aircraft during the Battle for Britain. The Stuka continued to operate with success, but only in theaters where the Germans held air superiority. Once that was lost, they once again became an easy target for Allied fighters. The Ju-87B was the first mass-produced variant, with a total of 697 aircraft produced from 1937-1940. It was powered by a Junkers Jumo 211D inline engine, generating 1184 hp. The B-1 version was equipped with the “Jericho trumpets” siren on one of the landing gear, but this was removed once the enemy had become accustomed to it, and also to increase speed. There were 225 B-2 versions built. It had some improvements over the B-1 and was adapted for tropical and winter operation.

Trumpeter’s kit has over 330 parts. There are twelve trees of medium gray plastic, one clear, one small photo etch fret, and three black tires. The parts are cleanly molded with very fine detailing and panel lines. No heavy trench lines or rivet details on this kit… The trees are bagged separately in easy opening bags. The 8x11.5 instruction book is 16 pages with 20 steps and no text other than parts number and paint callouts – just exploded assembly drawings. The painting/decal guide is a two sided 11x16 color sheet. Paint callouts are in Mr. Hobby, Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol. Decals options are provided for three aircraft – a 10/ LG 1 aircraft based in Tramecourt France, July 1940; a Stab II/ St.G 1 aircraft Russian front, December 1941 (winter camouflage); and a 2/St.G 2 aircraft Russian front, September 1941.

Construction starts with the engine and its mounting. It is a very nice little assembly and looks great once built and painted; however, you’ll not be able to see it unless you choose to cut apart the engine cowling. The only really visible parts of the engine once it’s put into the cowling pieces are the upper and lower radiators, so you have the opportunity to save some time and effort construction- and paint-wise. I also left the bomb swing arm off until the end of the build for fear of breaking it. Step #2 wraps the engine up into the engine cowl halves and builds the propeller assembly. I left the propeller and exhausts off until the end of the build.

The cockpit is next in step #3. Detail is good and assembly is straightforward with only two issues. The fit of the rear machinegun ammo magazines, their support, and the bulkhead was a bit tricky. I had to do some trimming to prevent the support from bending a little. The cockpit sidewalls also need to be put together cautiously. I recommend plenty of dry fitting with the fuselage halves to prevent a step between the fuselage and cockpit sidewall.

Step #4 installs the cockpit into the fuselage halves. I left the tail undercarriage off until the end of the build. Again, plenty of dry fitting here will save trouble later when fitting the canopies.

Step #5 builds and adds the horizontal stabilizers, rudder, and instrument panel/upper cowling section. This all goes together with no problem. A decal is provided for the instrument panel, or the raised details can be picked out with dry brushing and artist pencils.

Step #6 builds the inboard wing section and does have issues. The instructions have you installing Part V2 (a clear part) onto J11, then installing the assembly into the inside of lower center wing assembly part J22. This is wrong. V2 should go onto the outside of J22 and J11 to the inside of J22. I also recommend only attaching wing spars A8 and A10 only to the anchor points in the center of J22. I also glued the spars at the outer ends where they touch J22, and this caused problems fitting the outboard wings to the inboard wing later on in the build.

Steps #7 & 8 have you build the machine gun bays and the left and right outer wing sections. I chose to just install the bay covers in place. Another problem with the instructions in these steps is, while they have you build and install the wing gun bays, they never have you build and install the fairings and machine gun muzzles to the wings. The location of the fairings is indicated by a recessed line in the upper wing half, but nowhere in the instructions are you told to build and install these fairings. The fairing halves are parts B2, B3, B5, B16. The machine gun muzzles are parts A32. Also, take care installing the outer wingtip assemblies. These can easily get crooked.

Step #9 has you put the fuselage, inner wing, and both outer wings together. The fuselage-to-inner wing join needed filler along the top seams, as well as the bottom along the aft inner wing edge. The outer wings did not line up well at all and required much sanding, dry fitting, filling, and sanding. I attribute this to the fact that I glued the spars where they come out of the inner wing, making them a little too rigid. I did manage to get a fairly uniform look and symmetry after much work!!

Step #10 has you attach the engine assembly and canopy assembly. The engine assembly fits with no issues. I left the canopies off until the end of the build, after all painting and decals were done.

Step #11 has all the flaps and dive brake parts installed. Instructions show the dive brakes deployed but you can easily fold them back to a stowed position. Pay attention to the flaps assembly. The instructions only show one side with “opposite” numbers listed too. I built one side at a time to avoid confusion of parts to position.

Steps #12-14 are the landing gear assembly and installs. Fit was good but care must be taken when installing the gear to the aircraft to keep them square because there is no real firm attach point.

Steps #15-20 deal with the weapons options for your Stuka to carry. You are given four options of ordnance for the outer wing stations. And only one choice for the centerline station…what looks to be a 1000 kg SC1000 “Hermann” bomb. A quick reference to the internet said if the Hermann bomb was carried, no outer wing weapons, or maybe even a rear gunner, would be carried to allow the Stuka to fly with such a heavy load. Normally, a 250 kg bomb would be carried centerline with something out on the outer stations. I chose to use the single big bomb with empty wing stations. You’ll have to go aftermarket if you want a more normal type load.

Painting was a combination of Tamiya and Model Master paints. Model Master RLM 70/71 on the upper surfaces and Tamiya XF-23 Light Blue on the under surface over a preshading of Tamiya XF-69 NATO Black. Model Master RLM 06 Gelb was used for the nose and rudder. The splinter scheme was done using Gator Masks, which worked very well. Future floor wax was used for the gloss coat.

Aftermarket EagleCals EC#144 were used for the decals and are the subject of another review. The kit decals are decent but nowhere near as nice as the Eaglcals.

After the decaling and flat coat was done, I added the final parts and had more problems. The exhaust assemblies needed to be trimmed to fit and still required quite some force to be put into place. The canopies, while very nicely detailed, looked great after painting, but they were very tricky to get into place. The little round window that the rear gunner’s machine gun sticks out was particularly frustrating. I ended up using future to hold it into the canopy and the machine gun had to be not fully glued into place to allow it to position itself to compensate for my inability to get the window where I really wanted it. Both the pilot’s sliding canopy and gunner’s canopy have to be pressed down into recesses along the fuselage sides that spread the canopies, causing a springing-up canopy effect that has to be held in place till the glue sets. I ended up super gluing the gunner’s canopy. The antenna, bomb, and propeller went on with no issues.

In conclusion, I think this is nice kit. There are a couple problems, though. The instructions lacked some needed items and had some incorrect order of assembly. The odd BIG bomb that keeps you from installing the other cool ordnance provided but by itself looks pretty cool. And the tricky-to-install canopies. But otherwise, it is an impressive kit of an important World War Two aircraft with excellent detail out of the box and some very great super detailing potential.

I wish to thank Stevens International and Trumpeter for producing this kit and IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it.


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