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Ju 290A-5

Revell 1/72 Ju 290A-5 Seeadler Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review March 2008 Manufacturer Revell/Germany
Subject Ju 290A-5 Seeadler Scale 1/72
Kit Number 4340 Primary Media Styrene
Pros One neat and huge German aircraft Cons Lack of a wing spar in the kit may present problem with wing to fuselage joints, because of weight of wings. Part trees not alphabetized
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $31.00

First Look

Ju 290A-5
Ju 290A-5
Ju 290A-5
Ju 290A-5
Ju 290A-5
Ju 290A-5
Ju 290A-5
Ju 290A-5
Ju 290A-5

The Ju 290A first saw service in the role of an emergency transport. The first Ju 290A-0 and the V1 prototype took part in the Stalingrad airlift. Subsequently, the Ju 290A-1 went into transport duty with LTS 290, initially operating from Berlin, and then from Grosseto in Italy. Maritime reconnaissance aircraft of 1/FAGr 5 began operations on the type on 15 October 1943, joined in November by 2. Staffel.

Several joined 3.Staffel/Kampfgeschwader 200, the Luftwaffe’s special operations unit, flying agent-dropping missions with a hatch cut into the cabin floor. This unit also flew the sole Ju 290A-6, originally developed as a pressurized personal transport for Hitler, and in April 1945 used the type for a one-way flight to Madrid. The aircraft was later used by the Spanish Air Force. One Ju 290A-7, a variant which did not enter service, was ferried to the USA for trials.

The Ju 290A-5 was the first version to offer realistic protection. Fuel could be rapidly dumped in an emergency, and the fuel tanks were given protection. Heavy armor was incorporated around the pilot and co-pilot, giving protection against rounds of up to 20 mm caliber. Defensive armament was improved consisting of two Focke Wulfe low-drag dorsal turrets, each with a 20mm MG 151. Similar weapons fired from two streamlined lateral positions and one more in the tail. The ventral gondola mounted an MG 151 in the front, and a 13mm MG 131 in the rear.

The Ju-290 was flown by a crew of two on the flight deck. Seven additional crew members acted as gunners, observers, navigator, radio operator and an operator for the Hohenwiel search radar. The tailgunner operated the single MG 151 from a prone position in the narrow tailcone, although a glazed dome was added from the Ju 290A-3 onwards to give more headroom. The cabin, inherited from the Ju-90 transport, was largely unobstructed, and had two large outward-opening doors in the port side for loading cargo. Underneath the rear fuselage was the Trapoklappe, a hinged ramp which could be lowered for air-dropping or to raise the cabin floor level with the ground , the ramp then allowing vehicles and heavy loads to be winched in.

This kit is manufactured by Revell of Germany. It comes in a large end-opening type box. I would have preferred a tray and lid type box for a kit as large as this one. At least to use the tray to keep parts in one place on my workbench. Parts, particularly the decal sheet, seem to slide out and get lost from the end-opening type boxes. The box also seems a little flimsy. My kit was under 3 other model boxes and is starting to get a crushed look.

The boxart shows a Ju 290A-5 flying through clouds and escorted by a Fw-190 fighter. It is camouflaged with a splinter of RLM 74 (olive drab) and RLM 75 (mouse gray) on upper wings and the fuselage spine. The sides and bottom are RLM 65 (light blue) with a mottle of RLM 83 (bronze green) over the blue on the sides. It carries the code 9V + BH on the fuselage sides. The 9V is in small black letters. The B is in white and the H is black. These last two letters are larger size than the 9V. There is a yellow shield on the nose with a black 3-masted sailing ship on it. This aircraft is with the 1./FAGr 5, Operation 'Eisenhammer', Roggetin, March 1945 (marking included on the decal sheet in the kit).

A side panel states that the kit is aimed at modelers 13 years and older and that it is level 5 skill level. That means that it is a difficult model, with over 150 parts and requires a very high level of skill.

The back of he box shows the full color boxart of 6 other aircraft kits that Revell markets: an Airbus A 380 (kit no. 04230), a Heinkel HE-177 'Greif' & Fritz X (kit no. 04515), a EH-101 Merlin HAS-1 'Royal Navy' helicopter (kit no. 04410), a Breguet Atlantic 1 (kit no. 04384), a Blohm und Voss BV-222 'Wiking' (kit no. 04383) and a Lockheed/Martin F-16C Block 50/52 (kit no. 04633). There is also a color illustration of paints, glue and a rudimentary airbrush that Revell markets.

Inside the box is a large sealed cello bag that holds 7 light gray parts trees, a clear parts tree (that is in its own sealed cello bag), the decal sheet and the instructions. The decal sheet had a tissue sheet to cover its face against scratching. However, in my kit, it had come loose and was floating around in the box. There is also a single sheet, printed on both sides with security warnings about the kit, in 21 languages including English.

The instructions consist of an unbound booklet of 24 pages in 8 ½' x 11 ¾' format.

Page 1 begins with a black and white photo of the model made up. This is followed by the history of the Ju 290A-5 in German and English. The bottom of the page has Revell’s address in Germany in multiple languages.

Page 2 begins with 'Read before you start' instructions in 17 languages, including English. This is followed by some illustrations of how to use hobby tools to build the model.

Page 3 shows international assembly symbols and their meanings. The bottom of the page says to please note the enclosed safety advice.

Page 4 has a color listing of 20 different colors, called out with alphabetic labels, suggested to use to finish the model.

Page 5 is the parts trees illustrations for 5 parts trees.

Page 6 begins with illustrations of 2 more parts trees. This is followed by the first 5 assembly step illustrations.

Pages 7 through 17 give a balance of a total of no less than 76 assembly steps.

Pages 18 to 21 each have a 4-view painting and marking scheme for the Ju 290A-5.

The first camouflage scheme is the one on the boxart, already described above. The amount of stencil markings to put on the Ju 290A-5, no matter what the camouflage scheme is mind boggling in their number.

The second camo scheme is for a Ju 290A-5 'Seeadler' of the 1./FAGr. 5, Rechlin, November 1945. It is in a splinter pattern of RLM 74 (olive drab) and RLM 75 (mouse gray) above the wings and on the spine, with RLM 65 (light blue) on the fuselage sides and bottom and below the wings. It carries the fuselage code 9V + KH. The 9V is in small black letters, the cross is the skeletal white type, KH is in larger letters all black, with the K outlined in white. It carries the yellow shield with the black 3-masted sailing ship on it, that the first scheme carries too.

The third camo scheme is for a Ju 290A-5 'Seeadler'of 1./FAGr. 5, Ergolding b, Landsburg, September 1944. The paint scheme is identical to the second camo scheme above. It also has the same shield on the nose and the fuselage code KR + LK all in large black letters, again with the skeletal white cross. The fuselage code is again repeated under the wings.

The fourth camo scheme is for a Ju 290A-5 'Seeadler' of 1/KG 200, Wiener Neustadt, January 1944. It is in the same scheme as the previous two camo schemes. The shield on the nose is white with the 3-masted sailing ship on it in black. The fuselage code is A3 + FB. The A3 in small letters, a skeletal white cross again and the FB having the F in green and the B in black large letters.

In addition to these markings the decal sheet has the instrument panels as a decal, the ventral direction finding antenna (that looks like a spoked wagon wheel) as a decal and tons and tons of stencil markings. A modeler could literally spend a MONTH putting all 117 (yep - I counted them) of these stencil marks on the model…whew!

The last 3 pages of the instructions are blank.

The parts trees are not alphabetized. They have the part numbers on them, next to the parts. However, they are not alphabetized. This means that modelers of the kit will have to identify the parts, as to where they are on one of the 8 parts trees, by searching for that part, first, on the parts tree illustrations of the trees. It would have even been nice if the parts on each tree were numbered consecutively, but the numbers jump around between trees. For larger parts, such as wing and fuselage sections, this won’t be too much of a problem. However, all those small parts will be a real drudgery to find the right ones for a particular assembly step. . Bad move Revell.

I also wished that Revell had used more cello bags for the 7 light gray parts trees, to keep them from rubbing together and knocking parts off and scratching things. Thank heavens, that they put the clear parts in it’s own cello.

I hope readers will forgive me for not naming every part on the parts trees in this kit. There are just TOO MANY of them to try and name. So, I will just name a few and you can see the rest in the pictures.

The first large tree holds the lower fuselage large panel, wheels, landing gear legs and numerous small parts (100 parts)

The second medium sized tree holds the propellers, engines, nose antenna, cowling parts, a couple guns, propeller shafts and spinners and numerous other small parts (79 parts) My kit was missing one cowling panel (a part no. 84) I will have to contact Revell of Germany and see if they will send me one of this part. They should, given my experiences with their service department in the past…always good service.

The third medium sized tree holds fuselage side halves, bulkheads, ventral gondola parts, instrument console, tail wheels and numerous other parts (36 parts)

The fourth medium sized tree holds the underside center section of the wings and cowlings attached to the lower fuselage nose piece.

The fifth medium sized tree holds the two upper wing halves.

The sixth small tree holds the two lower wing sections, outboard of the engine nacelles.

The seventh medium sized tree holds the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces and the rear loading ramp. (8 parts).

The final parts in the kit are the clear ones. You get the cockpit windows, turret blisters, fuselage windows, direction finder antenna transparency and wing light lenses (35 parts) The cockpit transparency had broken off the tree in my kit. Thank goodness this tree was individually cello bagged.

This aircraft has a very substantial wing span. I don’t see a wing spar part in the kit, that I think is sorely needed to support these wings. If nothing else, strongly bonded joints is going to be needed to support the wings.

This is one big aircraft. The doors and the ramp can be posed open or shut. It has good cockpit detail, but I don’t know how much of it will be visible through the transparency.

This is one neat, big honking 4-engined German aircraft. It is not for the novice aircraft builder and definitely not a weekend project. Highly recommended.