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KIT REVIEW


Revell of Germany # 03935
Junkers Ju 88A-4 -- 1:48 Scale



The Junkers Ju 88 was perhaps the most iconic Luftwaffe twin-engine multirole combat aircraft of the Second World War. More than 16,000 of these airplanes were produced 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, Revell of Germany has re-boxed ICM’s 1:48 scale Ju 88A-4 kit. Let’s take a look.

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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 invasion of Poland (01 Sept 1939).

The Ju 88A-series was the first production variant and spanned seventeen subtypes.   The A-1 was fitted with the Jumo 211 powerplants and its design reflected its heavy dive-bomber role. Yet, the Ju 88’s airframe was never really optimized for this mission, and airframes kept coming back home with evidence of accumulating structural fatigue and over-stress. In 1943, Ju 88s dive-bombing tactics were altered and crews bombed from at most a 45° dive angle.

The A-4 variant was an improved A-1 but with longer wings. Drawing on the lessons learned from the Battle of Britain, defensive armament was upgraded. The MG 15 machine guns were deleted and replaced with even more positions fitted with MG 81s. Accordingly, the aft section of the cockpit was bulged to allow more space for the guns and the armored mountings for the twin rear-facing MG 81s. The airplane was powered by the uprated Jumo 211 J-series engines. With increased weight, the landing gear was strengthened and four external bomb racks were fitted as well. On paper, maximum bomb load of the Ju 88A-4 was 6,600 pounds, but operationally it would only carry at most 4,400 pounds of bombs into battle. The A-4 was generally recognized as one of the most ubiquitous of all the Ju 88s, flying on until the end of the war.

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Here, Revell of Germany has reboxed the ICM 1:48 scale Ju 88A-4 with a new decal sheet.  This boxing consists of 247 injection molded parts on nine medium grey sprues, 19 clear parts on one clear sprue. Instructions are in color and rendered in Revell of Germany’s new instruction manual format that has the build proceed over 90 steps. Color callouts are listed as RLM colors, and the decal sheet covers the following airframes:  

Strengths:  There is are many 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, once can see why the ICM plastic is such a good choice for Revell to rebox: 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 – intricate but not overwhelming in terms of the parts breakdown and construction sequence. The surface details of the landing gear and the pair of complete Jumo 211 powerplants are also notable highlights. The underwing dive brakes and bomb racks are impressive, as are the multi-piece bombs themselves. The clear parts are beautifully modeled and the optical quality is great.  Also, construction options abound with positionable dive brakes, flaps, ailerons, elevators, and rudders. Designed and researched by AirDOC, the decal sheet (printed by Cartograf, I think) is literally the best quality decals one could hope for with great colors and top-notch printing quality.    

Weaknesses:  I am at a loss to really find any substantive flaws regarding manufacturing, detail, or accuracy. One small disappointment involves the lack of parts to represent shoulder harnesses and lap belts. The decal sheet provides restraints as decals, and in our modern age of kits that often include a detail part or two, that’s disappointing. Yet, Revell of Germany was likely thinking that most builders who are not happy with decal belts will automatically seek out aftermarket PE replacement parts. As this is a kit marketed and sold in Germany, there are no swastikas, but those should be easy enough to source from another kit or any one of dozens of aftermarket sources. Also, with the Hindenburg scheme, the decal for the number “51” covers so much of the tail that I’m not sure where the swastika marking would fit if not for the very front and base of the vertical stabilizer, so consult your references. 

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Overall, this is a great kit of this early German heavy dive-bomber. While I might not get to it in the immediate future, it will go on my shelf into the German WWII airplanes as one of them most highly ranked of them all. No matter where you’re coming from, the Revell of Germany/ICM Ju 88A-4 is going to be a great build. Also, the MSRP on this kit is about half of the price for the original ICM kit, so you’ve got yourself quite a deal buying the Revell of Germany boxing.      

Sincere thanks are owed to Revell of Germany for the review sample. You visit them on the web http://www.revell.com/germany and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/revell.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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