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Ju 52

Pro-Modeler 1/48 Ju 52/3m Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2009 Manufacturer Pro-Modeler
Subject Ju 52/3m Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5944 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Best Ju 52 kit in any scale Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Ju 52
Ju 52
Ju 52
Ju 52
Ju 52
Ju 52

The Junkers Ju 52 was a transport aircraft scaled up from the earlier W33. The type was first flown in the early 1930s and was produced between 1932 and 1945. These early Junkers transports, like the Ford Tri-Motor, relied on corrugated metal skin to provide greater strength with less weight - a flying Quonset Hut.

During the early 1930s, the Ju 52 was used extensively in commercial air transport with Lufthansa and exported to other countries as well. The first Ju 52s were actually single-engined aircraft which were later denoted as Ju 52/1m (one motor) while the most-widely produced version was the trimotor Ju 52/3m.

The Ju 52 was inducted into military service in 1935 and went into combat during the Spanish Civil War as both a bomber and a transport. The type became one of the principal airlifters of the Luftwaffe throughout the war, though like the C-47, the Ju 52 was neither fast nor maneuverable, and was therefore a target in areas where enemy fighters could be found. One good example of this was near the end of the North African campaign where 24 Ju 52s were shot down and another 35 seriously damaged by allied fighters during the 'Palm Sunday Massacre'. JG 27 was tasked to cover the transports, and they only claimed one kill in return.

While most of the Ju 52s were destroyed by war's end, the type was so versatile that Amiot of France produced the aircraft as the AAC1 Toucan after the war. CASA of Spain also produced the aircraft after the war as the CASA 352.

Monogram surprised the hobby market with this kit to expand their resume of beautiful 1/48 aircraft kits. Initially released under the Monogram banner, this kit lives up to the high standard of detail and simplicity all in one package. While I don't recall the date this kit was originally released, Revell-Monogram reissued the kit in 1999 under the Pro Modeler banner with a few tweaks to render the early Spanish Civil War dorsal and ventral gun 'turrets', weighted wheels, and a few other options. Revell Germany followed that release with a civilian version of the Ju 52 with 1936 Olympic markings.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus a single tree containing the clear parts. This is the first time I had seen Revell use connecting pins to lock sprue trees together to keep them from rattling around during shipping. Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing this technique again in a Revell box, though this technique of interlocking trees is also in use by a few other companies like Eduard.

The issue of raised versus scribed detailing is moot on a project like this one where virtually the entire surface of the model is corrugated. Nevertheless, the detailing is nicely done and it is still impressive to see how much detail Monogram can design into a kit without making it overly complicated to build.

The cockpit is very nicely rendered, and with the layout of the greenhouse cockpit enclosure, you'll be able to see that detail after assembly. The rear compartment is also enclosed with details for the area where the dorsal gunner stands to operate the gun.

The main cabin has the structural framework to support the cargo and paratroop missions as well as the bench seating for the paratroops.

The wings go together easy enough, but the wing-fuselage joint would benefit from an interconnecting mainspar that ran through the fuselage to the wings as there isn't that much strength in the kit design. It will probably be suitable for most modelers, but I want to hear that 'snap' sound when handling the model.

The engines are nicely rendered out of the box, and with careful painting and weathering, will be another eye-catching feature on this trimotor.

The kit also comes with four paratrooper figures, though there are no figures to fly the aircraft. The paratroopers will just have to wait on the flight crew...

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • Ju 52/3mg4e, Grupo de Bombardeo Nocturno (Night Bombing Group), 22-101, Spanish Nationalist
  • Ju 52/3mg7e, 1Z+LK, 1.Staffel, KGzbV1, Milos, Greece, 1941

While this kit has been off the market for a while, no doubt some of you have one or more stashed away safely in your collection. Either way, it is worth dusting off and taking another look!