Airfix 1/24 Ju 87B Stuka Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||October 2007||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Subject||Ju 87B Stuka||Scale||1/24|
|Kit Number||3506||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Excellent detail for 30 years ago||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$75.00 to $108.54 (depending on where you shop)|
Until at least 1942, the Ju-87 “Stuka” enjoyed a reputation that struck terror ito those on the ground beneath it. First flown with a British R. R. Kestrel engine and twin-fins in 1935, it entered production in 1937 as the Ju-87A with large trousered landing gear and full equipment for dive bombing. It included a heavy bomb crutch that swung the bomb well clear of the fuselage before release. The spatted Ju-87B (subject of this kit) was the first aircraft in production with the Jumo 211 engine, almost twice as powerful as the Jumo 210 used in the Ju-87A production aircraft. It had an automatic device (almost an automatic pilot) to ensure proper pull-out from the steep dives, as well as red lines at 60 degrees and 80 degrees painted on the pilot’s side windows.
Experience in Spain had shown that pilots could black out and lose control in the pull-out. Later, a whole formation of Ju-87’s in Spain was late pulling out over misty ground and many hit the ground. In Poland and the Low Countries, the Ju-87 was terribly effective and it repeated it’s success in Greece, Crete and parts of the Russian Front. In the Battle of Britain it’s casualty rate was such that it was withdrawn, thereafter to attack ships and troops in areas where the Axis still enjoyed some air superiority. By 1942 to 1945, it’s main work was close support on the Eastern Front, attacking armor with big 37 mm guns slung under it’s wings (Ju-87G version) and even being used as a transport and glider tug. Total production, all by Junkers, is believed to have been 5,709.
Back 25 years ago, MPC - a subsidiary of General Foods Fundemensions Group, was peddling the Airfix 1/24th scale aircraft kits under their label. Target and K-Mart had these as well as other shops. The only difference I ever noticed between the original Airfix boxings and these was the box, decal and the kind of plastic MPC used, which to me seemed rather soft and very easy to whittle on.
The kit comes in a huge box, that is 21” x 12”. It is about 4-5 inches too long as there is a void that big. The box is the tray and lid type. The box art shows a photo of the model made up and in the only marking offered in the kit. MPC never tells you on the instruction sheet what Squadron this marking represents, but I found the exact marking as a side color profile in Histoire & Collections Publications book, titled “Junkers Ju87, from 1936 to 1945” on page 35. It says that the aircraft is a Ju-87B-2 of S./St.G 77, Graz-Thalerhof, Austria, Spring 1941. It is in the 2 shades of green splinter pattern above with light blue below and dark green wheel pants. It has a yellow cowling and a yellow rudder. The propeller spinner is black with a red tip. The fuselage code is S2 + LN the “L” is red outlined in yellow, the rest of the letters being black.
The squadron badge, below the windscreen, is a shield that is yellow on the bottom and red at the top, the red having a bottom edge that is scalloped. Emblazoned over this is a black panther. There are also 6 walk-around type photos of the model, made up, at the top of the box art.
In all the 1/24th scale aircraft kits by Airfix that I have, I notice that the white parts look like they were parts of a larger parts tree that has been chopped up. A lot of parts get knocked off the remaining chopped up sprues too. MPC/Airfix does not put all the parts in a cello bag either. Wings and fuselage parts, especially are usually floating around loose with the decal sheet and instructions.
Because of all the parts in this kit and the chopped up sprues, I will dispense with trying to name all the parts in there (like I usually have done in my in-box reviews) and allow the reader to look at the pictures and see for himself what is there.
The detail in this kit is all engraved and of real high quality for 25 years + ago. The kit has a complete engine with removable cowling to see it, sliding canopy, spent ammo cans in rear compartment, separate wing brakes, navigation lights, wing panels that can be removed to see guns and ammo cans choices of 500 kg or 250 kg bombs, rubber tires, detailed chin oil cooler, detailed bomb crutch, pilot and gunner figures and a lot of detail in the cockpit etc.
At one time there was even a special book out on just how to build this kit and further dolly it up a bit. I am told that the decals in MPC/Airfix 1/24th scale kits aren’t the best and will have to scout up some alternates later I guess.