Junkers Ju 52/3m g4e
Reviewed by Rui Silva
It was a bold decision to market such a kit in 1:48. It is a big (61.5 cm / 24.2 in wingspan) and well detailed model (174 parts). The moulds must have taken a lot of time and money.
Considering the German "home market" of Revell it is surprising that a commercial version (i.e. Lufthansa) has not appeared since. It is perhaps even more surprising that not one of the aftermarket decal producers have been tempted by this aviation classic... But lets open the box.
Four large sprues are supplied in two separate plastic bags. One of the bags contains a smaller one for the transparency.
The corrugated metal plate covering, almost Junkers' trademark, is very well done with different widths for different surfaces. The surface texture is carried on to the interior as is very good interior detail, including seats (with engraved seatbelts) and bulkheads. A particularly interesting aspect is the fuselage top, with corrugated detail on the outer and inner sides.
The BMW engines are provided with circular cooling baffles, exhaust manifolds and ignition harnesses. I have ordered the MDC "engine improvement set" but, to be honest, I can't see much room for improvement...
The instruction booklet is reasonable but the colours are only referenced to the Revell paint range, for instance what must be RLM 65 (Paint "C") is a mix of 50% Revell 55 + 20% 57 + 30% 5... to me, it is 0% patience for these commercial tricks!
The parts available in the ProModeller release for a bomber version are also included in this kit, namely the wheel spats, bomb aimer fairing and the ventral gunner "bucket". I originally intended to make a Portuguese AF bomber (g3e), then a Portuguese AF transport (g7e or an Amiot AAC.1 Toucan) but, after study of some photos, I reached the conclusion that this kit, as provided, can only be made as a g4e.
The bomber versions had a different starboard fuselage, no cargo door and a small door near the cockpit, the transport versions had no dorsal gunner position, the g7e had a larger cargo door and the Toucan was as the g7e but with smaller wheels and larger tires... to convert a kit to these configurations would be a nightmare due all those fine corrugations! Even so I think this kit is not a 100% accurate g4e, as it has some extra hatches on the bottom of the fuselage that I assume were for the bomb bays.
So this model must be built as labelled in the box - 3m g4e.
Lets look at the two sets of markings provided - one machine of II./KGr. z. b.V. 400 and one of II./KGr. z. b. V. Wittstock, both late 1942 in the Mediterranean theatre, RLM 65/70/71 plus yellow theatre markings. Looking closely though on the placement scheme, what do we find? Four windows only on the starboard side? And this large door? Well, both machines either really were g7e's or they were wrongly drawn. The "box-top" machine has white and green stripes on the 3 cowlings, both sides on the middle engine and on the outer side on the nr. 1 and 3 engines, counting on my fingers this gives... 4 decals, but the decal sheet only has 3 of them. The instruction drawing only shows the stripe on the port side of nr. 2 engine but the photos of the completed model on the box side's show stripes on both sides... Strangely this completed model also has yellow propeller hubs while the box illustration shows green ones and the painting scheme shows nothing.
The decals are of the "Super Abziehbild" type, made in Italy, I hope they are better than the ones supplied with the 1:48 Lippisch P.13 which were completely unusable - very thick and so immune to decal setting solutions that in the end they all went to the garbage can. The silvering was the worst I have ever seen.
Revell is to be commended for this well made kit of a very important Luftwaffe type. It will be a pity for Revell and their modelling customers if they don't provide us with more versions of "Tante Ju".
The interior and exterior is well detailed and the only disappointment about this kit is the confusion with the markings/decals provided. I think that perhaps the little extra expense of buying the ProModeller version will be worthwhile for the better instructions and different decals.
MDC (see their web site) is marketing an engine improvement set and they will soon have conversions for the floatplane and minesweeper versions.
If enough of us e-mail them they might be convinced to produce a conversion for a civil Ju 52... now think about an 1:48 D-ABIK "Manfred von Richthoven", resplendent in red, white and gloss black!
Review Copyright © 2000 by Rui