Detail & Scale Header
Digital Publications Link
Aviation Photo Section Link
Scale Modeling Section Link
Aviatin Artwork Link
Furball Aero Design / Detail & Scale Decals
About Us Link
Contact Us Link
Home Page Link

Detail & Scale Books

Quick Links to Available Detail & Scale Series Publications.


Detail & Scale Series


F3H Demon in
Detail & Scale
**********F2H Banshee in
Detail & Scale, Pt. 1

**********
SBD Dauntless in
Detail & Scale

**********

F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale
**********

F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale
**********

F-8 & RF-8 Crusader in Detail & Scale

**********

Military Aviation Websites:
Click Here

——————

Scale Modeling Websites:
Click Here



KIT REVIEW


Special Hobby # SH48177
Junkers Ju 88C-4 -- 1:48 Scale



The Junkers Ju 88 was perhaps the most iconic Luftwaffe twin-engine multirole combat aircraft of the Second World War.  The Ju 88 production lines churned out more than 16,000 of these airplanes between 1936 and 1945, that spanned dozens of variants and roles – from medium bombers to heavy fighters, night fighters, dive-bombers, torpedo bombers, reconnaissance versions, and flying bombs.  Here, Special Hobby has re-boxed ICM’s 1:48 scale Ju 88 kit with plastic and resin conversion parts to build the Ju 88C-4, the first production night fighter variant of the airplane.  Let’s take a look.          

(Return to top of page)

The origins of the Ju 88 extend back to 1935 when the German Ministry of Aviation submitted requirements for a high-speed bomber that could carry up to 2,200 lbs. of air-to-ground ordnance.  The Junkers design study produced the Ju 85 and Ju 88. The Ju 85 design failed to proceed beyond the prototype stage, but by June 1936, five Ju 88 prototypes began to take shape.  Drawing on the aerodynamic philosophy of the Dornier Do 17 regarding its significantly streamlined fuselage, the Ju 88 was intended to outrun any contemporary fighter that would come up and challenge it.  The first flight occurred on 21 December 1936 and the prototype proceeded to hit an airspeed of 360 MPH on that day. Göring was particularly enthused as it appeared this airplane would finally fulfill the schnellbomber concept that the Luftwaffe had been chasing for some time.  Development thereafter proceeded slowly, ironing out various design glitches while adding other features that progressively added weight and reduced the airplane’s top speed.  By 1938, the Ju 88 had morphed into a slower heavy dive-bomber.  Delays in production saw operational status only reached by the first 12 production airframes coincidentally on the first day of the Nazi attack on Poland (September 1, 1939).

The Ju 88C-series represented a heavy fighter-bomber version of the airplane that featured a solid, smooth metal nose replacing the glass nose of the bomber variants.  Within the new nose and under-nose gondola were 20 mm MG FF cannons and 7.92 mm MG 17 machine guns.  The C-series retained all the hardware to carry bombs as well.  These Zerstörer (or Destroyer) heavy fighter-bombers first became operational in 1940, and in the years that followed, were tasked as escorts for the vulnerable Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor maritime patrol bombers.  The Ju 88Cs found a particularly effective niche in the role of night fighter, deployed over British and Mediterranean airspace. 

The Ju 88C-4 was the first production Ju 88 night fighter with 120 examples produced (60 new build C-4 airframes and another 60 that were converted from existing Ju 88A-5s).  The C-4s were not yet equipped with the Matratze radar antennas, as those only appeared on the C-6 airplanes.  In the end, this late 1930s design was progressively outclassed by advances in Allied aircraft design, and following particularly heavy losses during the Normandy invasion, Ju 88 operations were progressively scaled back towards Germany on both the Eastern and Western Fronts until the end of the war.    

(Return to top of page)

The base kit here is the ICM 1:48 scale Ju 88A-4/A-5 with added plastic and resin parts by Special Hobby to convert it to a C-4 night fighter.  This boxing consists of 254 injection molded parts on seven medium grey sprues, 27 clear parts on two clear sprues, and 24 cast resin parts.  Some 54 ICM kit parts go unused in the Ju 88C-4.  Instructions are in color and rendered by Special Hobby’s illustrators, and the instruction booklet has the build proceeding over 99 steps.  Color callouts are in the Gunze range, and the decal sheet covers the following airframes:  

Strengths:  There are a lot of really excellent qualities present in this kit.  First, the ICM plastic for the 1:48 scale Ju 88 is very well regarded in terms of engineering, fit, detail, and accuracy since the first kit in ICM’s Ju 88 series debuted in 2015.  The more I see ICM kits, the more I am impressed.  Just on the sprues, one can see why the ICM plastic is such a good choice for Special Hobby to go with for the C-4 conversion: besides the obvious starting point as the A-5 variant, it has crisp and high-fidelity molding, great engraved surface detail, fine sprue gates, and a smart parts breakdown.
I am particularly impressed with the cockpit detail, the surface texture of the landing gear, and the pair of complete Jumo 211 powerplants.  I would argue that these start to approach the level of detail in resin casting.  Also, construction options abound, with the flaps, ailerons, elevators, and rudders all separate assemblies that can be positioned as the builder wishes.  Depending on which paint scheme you’re doing, there are options for either a single, double-parallel, or double divergent upward firing machine guns in the rear cockpit. Pay attention here.   

The injection molded C-4 parts are provided on two Special Hobby-produced sprues.  The first consists of 23 injection molded parts including the type’s (new) all-metal nose and nose machine guns and cannons.  The second is a clear sprue with seven C-4 canopy parts. Optical quality of the clear parts is excellent, including the new Special Hobby parts.  Third, 24 cast resin parts are included.  The resin parts produced by Special Hobby include the night fighter’s requisite flame dampeners, cockpit instrument panel, ammo canisters, and two beautifully cast bulged/flattened main wheels and tailwheel.  The resin parts are superlative and bring yet more detail to the C-4 version. 

The decals are printed by Cartograf of Italy and are flawless.  The decals also include all the data and stencils for a single Ju 88C-4.  The choice of schemes is well thought-out.  The two overall black and one bomber-like scheme, consisting of RLM 74/75/76 colors, all look good, but the first paint scheme option (overall black with yellow lower engine nacelles) is particularly appealing.  

Weaknesses: I am at a loss to really find any substantive flaws regarding manufacturing, detail, or accuracy.  The one shortcoming might involve the lack of parts to represent shoulder harnesses and lap belts.  If those were included, this would be what I would call a “complete Ju 88” in the box, but thankfully, a range of aftermarket belts are available to add these details with little effort.  The only real error I found came about when I was looking over how the Special Hobby parts replaced ICM kit parts.  Indeed, the side window parts for the undernose gondola assembly are shown in the instructions as those from Sprue A.  The C-4 versions of those same parts are found on Sprue L (L8 and L9) and that’s what you should be using here.

(Return to top of page)

Overall, this is a great kit of this early German night fighter.  While I might not get to it in the immediate future, it will go on my shelf with the other German night fighters in the stash – and is most certainly among the most highly ranked of them all.  I think this is the first time a C-4 could be built out-of-the-box, and I would also hope Special Hobby or ICM will consider producing a Ju 88C-6 or G-model fitted with dipole antennas to further represent this family of historic German night fighters.      

Sincere thanks are owed to Special Hobby for the review sample. You can visit them on the web at http://www.specialhobby.info and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/specialhobby.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

(Return to top of page)

** Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.**


(Return to top of page)

Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
*********

Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
*********


Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

********


Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
********


Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

**********


Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

**********