Revell 1/144 Junkers G.38 Kit First Look
By John Doerr
|Date of Review||August 2008||Manufacturer||Revell|
|Kit Number||4053||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nicely detailed kit||Cons|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$13.65|
The Junkers G 38, which first flew in 1929, was the largest aircraft of its time, with a wingspan of 143 feet and length of 75 feet 5 inches. The G 38 was a monoplane in the age of biplanes and incorporated several radical concepts. It featured Junkers’ patented thick wing design, and was a blended body type of flying wing. The thick wing allowed the mechanics, part of a crew of seven, access to be able to service the engines in flight. The aircraft was powered by four diesel engines, two 12-cylinder engines inboard and two six-cylinder engines out board. The original design could carry 13 passengers. During the flight-testing program, the G.38 set four world records including speed, distance and duration for airplanes lifting a 5000-kg payload. Two prototypes were built, licensed as D-2000 and D-2500. In 1930 the aircraft began regularly scheduled flights with Lufthansa Airline and also special demonstration flights. Regular Berlin to London service began in 1931.
Both prototypes under went fairly constant upgrades in their first years of service with the final definitive version flying in 1933. The engines were upgraded to four 12-cylinder diesels giving a total of 4,023 horsepower. The cabin was rebuilt to include additional seating on a second deck over the wing spars and three seats were added to the wing’s leading edge inboard of the engines, adjacent to the fuselage. The total seating was raised to 34. The aircraft were re-registered, D-2000 becoming D-AZUR and D-2500 becoming D-APIS. D-APIS was used on a scheduled service covering the cities Berlin, Hannover, Amsterdam and London.
The design had also been sold to Mitsubishi, which produced six aircraft as a militarized bomber version, the Ki 20. D-AZUR crashed during flight testing in 1934. D-APIS continued commercial service until the outbreak of the war. It was taken over by the Luftwaffe and used as a transport until it was destroyed by the RAF in Athens on May 17, 1941.
The model comes in the seemingly standard Revell-Germany end flap opening box. I have learned now not to throw away used tray and lid type boxes to put the Revell kits in. The kit consists of three trees, two silver and a clear, for a total of 79 parts. The silver parts are delicately molded with a corrugated surface on all of the exterior parts. The kit includes a one-piece interior with all the passenger and pilot seating. While it looks very nice, I can make no comment on the accuracy. The cockpit is well done for this scale and includes two control wheels. The instrument panel is simply a flat panel molded into the fuselage halves. The trailing edge surfaces are molded as separate pieces. The triple- finned biplane tail looks to be well designed to achieve both a good fit and alignment. The clear pieces, which include all the passenger windows, all have raised framework.
The decals appear thin and clean and include the markings of both aircraft. However, the swastikas that should appear on the tail fins after the Nazi rise to power are left off, due to the legal requirements in Europe. D-APIA includes the rudder markings for the Weimar Republic but I don’t know whether they were carried or not. The decals also include black frames for the mechanics’ windows in the engine nacelles and black frames for the passengers’ leading edge windows. Research shows that only the middle horizontal frame is black and the rest of the frames are silver.
The instructions are the standard Revell mutlipage international style booklet. They include a location drawing of all three sprues. There are 19 well-drawn simplified steps. The color callouts by letters are referenced to the Revell brand paints by their name, without FS numbers or standard color names.
This appears to be a well thought out and engineered kit. The level of detail is more than sufficient for this size of kit and most of it will not be visible. It will build up to a nice sized shelf kit with a wingspan of about 12” (30 cm) and a length of around 6” (15 cm). I would recommend this kit for those who enjoy unusual aircraft and the tiny scale.