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Ju 52/3m

ArsenalM 1/87 Ju 52/3m Deutsche Fluggesellschaft 1938 Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review June 2009 Manufacturer ArsenalM
Subject Ju 52/3m Deutsche Fluggesellschaft 1938 Scale 1/87
Kit Number 1227 Primary Media 49 parts (45 in olive styrene, 4 clear styrene)
Pros Sturdy kit suitable for wargamers Cons Possibly based on 50 year old Faller kit; no cockpit; some “soft” details; very spartan directions and information
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $20.00

First Look

At the latest Great Scale Train Show in Baltimore this weekend one of the vendors had two new kits from a new HO scale military manufacturer from Germany, ArsenalM. They offer a collection of HO scale kits in resin and styrene as well as styrene kits from other companies with their own modifications; the kits also appear to be Czech, Austrian, German or Russian in origin.

This kit is of the Junkers Ju-52m3 – the famous “Tante Ju” – and this version is the Lufthansa civilian model with spatted wheels. While neither the box or the directions have any indication of that other than the drawings, it is pretty obvious for anyone who knows this aircraft. While living in Frankfurt during the 1980s the three restored Ju-52s belonging to Lufthansa “buzzed” my apartment (I was living on the 23rd floor of a high rise) and it was both impressive and scary, as well as loud!

There have been several other HO or related scale kits of this famous aircraft released over the years, one being nearly 50 years old and from Faller, better known today for its HO scale German pattern buildings and HO electric highway system. But that kit was somewhat crude and as such has been of interest only to collectors. ROCO also had one – not sure if it was only a cleaned-up version of the Faller kit – but it has not been seen for several years.

This kit appears to be either an updated version of the old Faller kit or the ROCO one (which also appeared to have been based on the Faller one) based on some of the sprues in the kit. To me this kit – albeit it was 45 years ago when I built it – is much like the old Airfix kit as it uses the same basic parts breakdown of the fuselage, with the sides, belly plate and top as separate parts. It is a good way to ensure good crisp rendering of the corrugated metal skin, and the landing gear legs are one single piece which “trap” within the belly plate. No separate parts are provided for the doors or cargo hatches, but the former is scored on the outside of the fuselage and the latter on the inside.

While this is the civil variant a separate cargo hatch cover is provided on the sprues for the hatch if the modeler decides to add it. Also the kit comes with two stretchers for the inside as well as a small section of floor and the rear bulkhead. It also adds a machine gun and upper mount with windscreen for the military variant; oddly no cover is provided to seal the ring opening in the kit, so any civil modeler is on his own to cover the resulting gap.

But the kit is a “basic” one and has a lot of compromises. The exhaust systems are molded onto the respective sections where the one-piece engine assemblies attach, and look to be pretty faint at that. The spatted wheels are two-piece assemblies which attach to the struts after assembly. There is no cockpit at all, and the canopy attaches “Aurora style” to a flat surface in the fuselage. The windscreen also is a bit too vertical.

Making a true model from this kit will take work, but the basics are of close to the right

dimensions. The wingspan is correct (332mm) with length a bit short. It is more than suitable for either an HO scale airliner or wargame transport and with some work should be a good representative of the breed.

One set of is provided for a single machine, D-2468, in Lufthansa black and silver finish. The box “art” is the only finishing direction provided, but as it is a “PC” version no red bands with swastikas are provided for the tail.

Overall this isn’t a perfect kit – but then again most modelers in HO scale are not looking for the same level of resolution or detail as those in 1/72 or 1/48. But it is accurate enough in outline to serve well as a background model or for a wargame transport.

Sprue layout:

  • 19 Left lower wing, engines, fin, propellers
  • 9 Left upper wing, elevators, landing gear, civilian spatted wheels
  • 3 Right lower wing, flaps, aileron
  • 1 Right upper wing
  • 9 Interior details, open wheels
  • 4 Clear styrene
  • 4 Fuselage halves, belly, top