Ju-88P-1 Tank Buster

Published on
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/48
MSRP
$121.00
Product / Stock #
48228
Company: ICM - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: ICM - Website: Visit Site
Cover

Brief History

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Junkers Ju 88 is a German World War II Luftwaffe twin-engine multirole combat aircraft. Junkers Aircraft and Motor Works (JFM) designed the plane in the mid-1930s as a so-called Schnellbomber ("fast bomber") that would be too fast for fighters of its era to intercept. It suffered from technical problems during its development and early operational periods but became one of the most versatile combat aircraft of the war. Like a number of other Luftwaffe bombers, it served as a bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter and at the end of the war, as a flying bomb.

Despite a protracted development, it became one of the Luftwaffe's most important aircraft. The assembly line ran constantly from 1936 to 1945 and more than 15,000 Ju 88s were built in dozens of variants, making it the second-most produced bomber of all time, behind the four-engine Consolidated B-24 Liberator, and the most-produced twin-engine German aircraft of the period. Throughout production the basic structure of the aircraft remained unchanged

The Ju 88P was proposed as an anti-tank and bomber destroyer variant with single Bordkanone series 75 mm (2.95 in), 50 mm (1.97 in), or twin 37 mm (1.46 in) caliber cannon in conformal ventral fuselage gun pod mount, which mandated removal of the Bola gondola under the cockpit section, conversion of A-series bomber. Produced in small series only, they were perceived as a failure for both anti-tank and anti-bomber use.

The Ju 88 P-1 was a heavy-gun variant fitted with single 75 mm (2.95 in) Bordkanone BK 7,5 cannon in ventral gun pod. Appeared in mid-1942 in small numbers.

Box Contents

There are nine sprues of medium grey plastic and two for the clear parts. Panel lines are finely recessed with crisply molded details where applicable.

Clear Parts

The clear parts included are typical for ICM kits; clear and crisp.

Instructions

The instructions consist of 20 pages, the first page includes a brief background for the aircraft. A paint chart is also included based on the ICM line of paints. Sprue layouts are shown on pages 2-5 with parts no to be used in the build high-lighted.

Page 18 includes a set of masking templates that can be used by the modeler to mask the clear parts. Here I decided to use the New Ware masking set made specifically for the ICM Ju-88P-1.

Pages 19 and 20 show the two aircraft that can built with this kit. The different nose and main gun muzzle break distinguish the two aircraft.

Decals

Markings for two aircraft are included. National markings as well are various stencils are provided. T the swastikas are two-part affairs that will require proper alignment when placed on the model.

Aftermarket Accessories Used

I decided to use the Eduard cockpit photoetch set number FE9782, and the seat belt set number ED49783 for this build. In addition, I used the NewWare masking set NWAM1198. As noted in the instructions the Ju-88P series was a modified variant of the Ju-88A-4, and therefore I felt comfortable with using the PE sets noted.

Construction

Cockpit

Cockpit assembly is covered in steps 01 through 24. The instrument panels have raised detail representing switches, knobs and dials which when carefully painted would offer a reasonable representation of the real thing. A decal is provided for the pilot's instrument panel and other panels as well which is the frosting on the cake so to speak. However, I decided to use the fine Eduard photoetch cockpit set as well as their seat belts.

The cockpit is made up with side panels, rear bulkhead radio operator's panel, multi part crew seats, detailed control column and rudder pedals. The pilot seat is two parts with a vertical seam up the center which required some filling and sanding to eliminate. There is a lot going on here, with several small parts. Steps 05 and 06 show the two-part assembly of the rear cockpit bulkhead containing the radio panels. Once the two parts are glued together the instructions call for the removal of the bottom segment of part A13. This was done with a fine razor saw after the cut line was marked using part H11 as a guide.

The raised details on the various panels were removed in preparation for the placement of the replacement Eduard PE parts. I spent a good four hours applying the many photoetched parts to the cockpit. Once painted and weathered, the Eduard seat belts were installed on the crew seats and the cockpit was done.

Fuselage

Once the cockpit components are finished the fuselage halves are fitted together followed with the forward fuselage bottom with integral inboard, lower wing sections.

The cockpit floor is fitted to part H9, which forms the underside of the front fuselage and bottom wing roots. There is a large oval opening in the bottom of part H9 where the cannon gondola is fitted in place later in the construction. When I fit part H9 to the assembled fuselage halves I used Tamiya quick setting solvent to hold the parts together, working in a progressive manner along the join. I used bits of tape to hold H9 in place while the solvent was being applied. Construction step 77 shows the alternate nose parts for the two variants. I chose the solid nose which replaced the earlier glass panels that were found to get damaged by the muzzle blast from the 75 mm cannon.

The cannon gondola is made from a solid front, two side panels, a poseable access panel and a clear rear gunners position. I glued the two sides together and then added the front solid gun port. Once the join had hardened, I checked fit of the clear part against the rear of the gondola. The end of the sides turned in a bit and created a less than perfect fit to the clear part. I measured the width of the clear part and cut a piece of sprue to match. This was used as a shim to spread the plastic side panels apart to match the width of the clear part. The fit was perfect.

Wings and Tail

The wings, horizontal stabilizers and tails are all two parts, plus each movable surface are two parts each. The fit for these parts was perfect, plus the moveable surfaces can be posed.

I replaced the wing-mounted pitot tube with brass tubing.

Landing Gear

The tail gear is a single part with the tail wheel molded integral with the strut. This part is fitted in place before the fuselage halves are glued together. The main gear are multi-part assemblies that are also fitted in place on the underside of the wings. In step 41 part labeled D34 should be D35, and in step 46-part D35 should be D34. These assemblies will require painting prior to installation and masking before the final painting occurs. I tried to test fit the gear through the gear well opening while the engine nacelles were taped together: would not fit. Must follow the instructions.

Engines/Nacelles/Propellers

Two complete engines are included with assembly detailed in steps 49 through 75.Each engine is made from sixteen parts including exhausts and the rear nacelle bulkhead. Separate side maintenance panels are included that may be left open to offer a peek into the engine nacelles if so desired. The engines are nicely molded and detailed, and it is a shame they cannot be fully viewed in the completed model. I was very pleased that all the parts fit together without issues.

Step 59 shows the fitting of the assembled engines to the rear bulkhead. There are six (6) attachments from the engine assemblies to the face of the bulk head.It took a bit of maneuvering to align the attachments before the solvent was applied. Once the engines were fixed to the bulkhead, I set the subassembly aside for a few hours to allow the joins to harden. All attachments need to be properly seated before the engines/bulkhead are glued in place in the left side of the nacelles. If the engines are not properly aligned the annular radiators will not fit properly.

Fitting the engines to the nacelles requires careful alignment of the exhausts with the openings in the nacelles sides as starters. Once everything was in place I noted the rear bulkhead was about 1/16" to far back. Since the annular radiator governed the placement of the engines there was no room for adjustment. This proved to result in a significant fit issue in step 76.

Step 7 has the two engine nacelles fitted in place over the landing gear and fixed in place by four slots in the wing undersides. The rear bulkheads, or firewall being too far back conflicted with the landing gear assemblies. I used a Dremel tool to grind off portions of the landing gear mounts that would be concealed by the engine nacelles. This took several attempts to remove the conflicting parts before everything would fit. Even then it was tight! As noted previously the engines assemblies are complicated with many parts, and any misalignment can result in a fit issues such as I have described. One way around this problem would be to install the annular radiator and firewall in the nacelles without the engine, thus leaving the modeler the challenge of how to mount the exhausts.

Main Armament

The Bordkanone series 75 is a multipart assembly shown in steps 81 through 88. The muzzle brake is added in step 97 after the cannon was fixed in place in the underside gondola. The muzzle brake to be used is based on the nose previously added in step 77. Since I selected the solid nose variant 2 for this build, I used parts H5 and H6 for the appropriate muzzle brake.

Clear Parts Installation

The cockpit greenhouse is made from three parts, while a separate part is provided for the ventral gunner position. The machine guns require painting and fixing in place before the clear parts are glued in place. Also, a circular clear part is also included for the dorsal radio antenna compartment.

I saw that fitting the three-part front canopy in place was potentially problematic in both fit and assembly. First, I fitted the fuselage halves together with narrow strips of tape. I removed the front canopy (part F6) from the sprue, and carefully eliminated the attachment spur. I fit the clear part in place again with strips of tape. The fit was near perfect. Next, I removed parts F13 and F14 from the sprue and cleaned up the spur for a flush fit to part F6. After carefully aligning part F13 in place I used small bits of tape to hold them together. I carefully ran a thin bead of solvent along the horizontal seam and allowed that to harden overnight. Next day I installed part F14 using the same process. Once the parts were securely bonded together, I removed the subassembly for later installation.

The instructions offer a set of templates for the model to create their own masks, however I was not comfortable trying to create the smaller masks (some are very tiny). The New Ware mask set was used for the clear parts and made the masking quick and easy. Many of the windows in the canopy were irregular shapes and the pre-cut masks fit beautifully. Masking was completed in less than an hour.

Painting

Once the assembly of the model was completed the model was washed with warm water with a drop of dawn detergent to remove oils and sanding residue. The model was rinsed in warm, clear water and set aside. After allowing the model to thoroughly dry a flat black primer was applied, followed by flat white clouds applied to the centers of the various panels.

The underside of the wing tip sections was given a more complete coverage of white prior to the application of the yellow paint. I neglected to paint the yellow rear fuselage band. The kit provides a decal for the band which may be used in lieu of painting. This came back to haunt me later.

I used Tamiya acrylic paints for the topside and applied a gloss coat in preparation of the decal application.

Decal Application

The ICM kit decals have always performed well in past builds and this kit was no exception. The decals are thin however, and application will require some care to avoid damage to the marking. Microset and Microsol were used in the application and the decals snuggled down over surface details quite nicely.

The instructions provide color views with decals located and numbered. These plans are quite small, and a magnifier was required to see where each decal was to be placed. The red-dashed walkway outlines were challenging to say the least. I thoroughly trashed the yellow fuselage band when placing it and had to resort to masking and painting after all.

Once the decals had dried a final coat of clear flat was applied.

Bringing Everything Together

Rather than use the kit part for the wing-mounted pitot I used a length of brass tube for added strength. Invisible thread was used for the antenna lines.

Conclusion

I have built several of the current ICM kits, aircraft and military vehicles. Those kits all have several features in common: amazing detail, fine recessed panel lines, generally great fit and outstanding engineering of all the parts. Not to mention lots and lots of parts. Care and patience are required in the assembly, and dry fitting of the major subassemblies is recommended.

The real Ju-88P-1 was not a success, but this kit is a real winner. You won’t get bored building this kit. This kit fits right in there. I really enjoyed this build.

However, there are two features that I would prefer to have been treated differently: I like to paint and install exhaust and landing gear after the assembled model has been painted and decaled. That is just a personal preference and not meant as a criticism of this kit.

I wish to thank ICM and IPMS USA for the opportunity to build and review this kit. I highly recommend this kit for modelers who wishes to add a different Ju-88 to their collection. The option to build one of two variants was also a welcome bonus. As always ICM does a marvelous job with their model kits.

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