- Published on Thursday, 22 November 2012 00:00 Thomas Mayer
First flown and put into service as a three engine aircraft in 1932 (the Junkers Ju 52/1m had only one engine) the Ju 52/3m, or Ju 52 in short, became one of those eternal iconic aircraft we still know today! After about eighty years few of these classic aircraft still fly today in 2012 and will do so in future! While used as civil airliners in the Thirties the "Tante Ju" or "Auntie Ju" might be best known for the use in the German Luftwaffe during World War Two.
To my knowledge this is Eduard´s fourth incarnation of their 1/144 scale Ju 52 kit, with the first one having been issued in 2002. So, let´s have a look how the moulds have stood the time since then.
In contrary to the Eduard 1/144 scale Spitfire Mk.IXe reviewed here by Jim Hatch only parts for one aircraft kit are given in the end-opening box. But for the Junkers Ju 52 being a much larger aircraft than a Spitfire I didn´t really expect to get two kits here.
The sturdy card board box is adorned by a beautiful artwork of a Ju 52 in flight, coloured in standard Luftwaffe camouflage. The back of the box shows the four colour and marking options you can build from this kit, as there are:
- 1Z + BF, IV./Kgr.zbV.1, South Italy – North Africa, February 1941 – May 1943
- 3U + MT, 9./ZG 26, France, 1940
- 4U + NH, Operation Merkur, Crete, May 1941
- 4V + EU, I/KG zbV 172, Tripolis, North Africa, 1942
Especially the third option immediately caught my eye. The standard Luftwaffe colours painted over by an additional light sand colour in a zigzag pattern looks very different! More on the individual marking and camouflage schemes are given in the full colour assembly manual, but more on this later.
Inside the box a clear resealable plastic bag comprises THREE tan coloured sprues with the kit´s clear parts protected in their own resealable plastic bag. There is an additional zip-lock bag in the box comprising the assembly manual, the decals and the mask sheet.
Taking the three tan coloured sprues out of the bag I was very curious how Eduard rendered the corrugated metal sheet structure, an exceptional feature of the real aircraft, in 1/144 scale injection moulded plastic. Largest part showing this structure is the lower wing part moulded in one single part full width.
Well. I am more than happy by the very fine presentation of the corrugated structure! This is an awesome piece of tooling all over the kits exterior parts.
Corrugated skin: checked!
As we already have a look at the parts on sprue A here are some more shots to show you the details here:
On the cockpit bulkhead the two pilots seats look different, with the left one having arm rests while the right one doesn´t. Also the back rest of the right seat is higher than the left one. Although I couldn´t find any wartime pictures to confirm this I give some trust in Eduard here. Oh, btw: we still speak 1/144!
Sprue B comprises the upper main wing parts, showing some beautiful corrugated structure as well.
We also find the three radial BMW engines here, although very simplistic but hopefully sufficient for the scale given. The middle engine already has its NACA cowling moulded in place while the two wing mounted engines will have to be glued into separate cowlings, cleverly marked L (left) and R (right) on their back where they will be glued to the respective wing.
This sprue also comprises a beautiful vertical fin and the three very filigree two-bladed propellers. They might look a little bit scruffy on the pictures below, as are the separate exhaust, but this is due to the magnification only.
Last of the tan coloured sprues is C:
Half of the parts shown here are not to be used for this kit, for example the two skies. These parts belong to earlier other versions of the "Tante Ju".
Certainly to be used are the upper fuselage spine and the two fuselage halves, of course! The fuselage sans the middle engine is 12 centimetres long. Again the corrugated structure is well done here, even wrapping down the fuselage side as it can be seen on the real aircraft. The two landing gear struts will need some careful sanding to remove some mould separation seams, as will the two wheels due to the moulds seem to have shifted a very little bit. But this really is minor and will only take some few minutes to take care of.
Sprue G finally provides the clear parts for this kit; most prominent one is the windscreen for the cockpit.
Transparency is good albeit not as crystal clear as I have seen it on recent kits from Eduard. But a dip in Future should improve this. The fuselage side windows are provided on oblong strips with a pair of individual side windows to be applied separately. The assembly manual gives us the choice to use windows 2 & 3 or 4 & 5 here. Looking closer to those clear parts the only difference I can see using my Mk. I eyeball is a very small hole in each of parts 2 & 3. I take a guess here that maybe some weapons could be added here, but neither are any parts given to depict those nor does the manual give any further hint here. Also clear parts 4 & 5 show some depressions on their visible surface. I think this could be remedied by adding some Future or brilliant varnish to level the depressions out.
Pre-cut masks for the clear parts are provided on a sheet of yellow Kabuki tape 62 x 42 millimetres in size. 30 masks are given for the fuselage and cockpit windows, with a further choice of 4 parts to paint the main wheels! Not bad for a kit of this size!
Decals for the four marking options are given on a sheet 139 x 82 millimetres in size. Printing has been done by Eduard with good colour saturation and very narrow carrier film. The decals look really thin what should help them to settle down into the recesses of the kit´s corrugated skin.
I had to manipulate the close-up shots here to make the decals more visible against the backing paper, doing so maybe having worsened the decals appearance.
Assembly instructions are given in a full colour semi-gloss leaflet comprising twelve pages 148 x 210 millimetres in size. On the first page a short intro on the real aircraft´s history is given in English and Czech language, followed by a general view of the kit´s contents on the next page. The kit´s assembly is shown in nine steps on four pages after this general view. A full page is used to show the placement of the masks to protect the clear parts from paint and show how to use the masks to give the main wheels some colour.
Each of the four colour and marking options is printed in colour on its own individual page, showing the aircraft from the left, right, upper and lower side. I wished a certain German manufacturer would finally do so, too!
Colour call-outs are given as Gunze GSI Creos paints.
So what do we think?
As soon as I have seen Eduard´s announcement of this little beauty I was looking forward to have a look into the box. The moulds being about ten years young now still keep up with nowadays kits with some minor exceptions here and there. The parts show almost no flash and the details as the corrugated skin, the engraved panel lines and the finesse of some smaller parts is well worth having a closer look at. This kit will build into a fine representation of the real aircraft, particularly with regards to a photo etched upgrade set available from Eduard. Stay tuned...
Very highly recommended
Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-700-0256-38 / Muck, Richard / CC-BY-SA;
My very best thanks to Eduard for the review sample! To purchase directly, click THIS link.
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