Pro Modeler 1/48 Ar 234C-3/4 Blitz Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||November 2007||Manufacturer||Revell/Monogram|
|Subject||Ar 234C-3/4 Blitz||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||5979||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Great subject and detailing||Cons||Cockpit transparency and control surfaces are solid|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$29.99 to $32.00 depending on where you shop|
As early as the summer of 1943, a four-engined version of the Arado Ar 234 was being considered to replace the twin-engined Ar 234B. This new version was designated Ar 234C.
The designers incorporated four BMW 003 turbojets into two nacelles under each wing. The new power plants had inferior thrust compared to the earlier Jumo 004’s that powered the Ar 234B. However, it’s lower weight and smaller size made it an ideal choice for the Ar 234C.
There is little doubt that the Ar 234C was the fastest production jet aircraft of the Second World War. On occasion, test pilots reported tail flutter and control unpredictability at high speeds. It is now known that they were approaching the sound barrier, which was unknown at that time.
The production aircraft had a designed cockpit with a slightly bulged top to afford better rearward vision. Two versions were produced; the Ar 234C-3 bomber and the Ar 234C-4 reconnaissance aircraft carrying two cameras in the rear fuselage. Both versions were armed with two forward firing MG151/20 cannons. Some C-3 bombers also had two rearward firing MG151’s in the rear fuselage.
About 19 C-3’s and a few C-4’s were completed before the end of the war. Some of the C-3’s were used operationally by KG76 and III./EKG1. There are also reports of a C-4 with 1./(F)123.
I previously wrote a review of the Hobbycraft Ar 234B in 1/48th scale (look here), so I though a review of the four-engined version should be done. This kit comes in a large tray and lid type box. The box art shows a Ar 234C-4 bomber version taking off from a runway using the under-wing JATO rockets. It is one of the few box arts I have seen that display the swastika on the tail of the aircraft. This is surprising as Revell/Monogram has a German office and sells their kits there, where displaying the swastika is a big no no. Side panels of the box show photos of the model built as the bomber and the reconnaissance version. Also a photo of the reconnaissance cameras that mount into the belly of the aircraft. A paint listing appears on a side panel too, calling out the color names in English and French and the RLM numbers in a few cases.
In the box are 8 medium gray trees of parts and 2 clear parts trees in 4 cello bags. The gray parts are all into 2 of the bags and the clear trees have individual bags. There are cards in the larger cello bags that say the kit was molded in Japan.
The instructions and the decal sheet complete the kit’s contents.
The instructions consist of an unstapled booklet of 8 ½” by 11” page format that is 8 pages long.
Page one begins with a history of the aircraft, with a small photo of the model made up. This is followed by international assembly symbol translations, “read before you begin” instructions and decal application instructions. Finally, there is a repeat of the paint listing on the side panel of the box lid and contact information for reaching Revell-Monogram by phone or on their website. A copyright date of 2003 is shown also.
Pages two through 5 give a total of 8 assembly steps. Each assembly drawing has the names of the parts next to them and also what color they should be painted. I really appreciate this thoroughness on Revell-Monogram’s part. It really helps smooth the assembly. In step 8, you can opt for the drop tanks, JATO rockets or belly bomb. In step 3D, you can opt for the bomber ventral fuselage panel or the reconnaissance one.
Instrument panels have raised molded instrument faces on them, but you can opt to use decals for these.
Pages six through eight have painting and marking drawings for one each of the bomber and reconnaissance versions of the Ar 234. There are drawings of the top and bottom of the aircraft, showing the camouflage pattern, left and right profile drawings and drawings of the Walter Ri202 JATO units.
The Ar 234C-3 Bomber version is shown with the black tail number 250008.
The Ar 234C-4 Recon version is shown with the black tail number 250022.
Letter A tree holds: The left fuselage half, a bulkhead, one side of the horizontal tail surfaces, one of the drop tanks, one of the RATO rockets and it’s supports, the main landing gear compartments inner walls, pilot seat back etc. (27 parts)
Letter B tree holds: The right fuselage half, another bulkhead, the drag chute cable, pilot seat bottom, the other RATO rocket and it’s supports, the other drop tank and it’s supports, the main gear doors, the bomb pylon and the other half of the horizontal tail surfaces (27 parts). Lettering jumps to letter J tree. It holds: the main wheel halves and gear struts, cockpit instruments, DF loop antenna etc. (33 parts)
Lettering jumps to letter L tree. It holds: the bomb parts and reconnaissance camera halves (19 parts).
The clear letter M tree holds: the dorsal direction finder cover, lenses and the ventral fuselage cover for the camera compartment (if opting to do the reconnaissance version) (8 parts).
Lettering now jumps to letter R parts tree. It holds: the upper wing half (full span), exhaust nozzle cones, control yoke, periscope fairing and eyepiece (8 parts)
Letter S tree holds: the lover wing halves (2 parts), engine rotor blades and exhaust vanes, antennas and drop tank sway braces (22 parts).
Letter T tree holds: the cockpit tub, main wheel halves, nacelle parts, front instrument panel, nose wheel bay doors, side instrument panels etc. (19 parts)
Letter U tree holds: the cockpit rear bulkhead, engine intake cones and cowlings, lower nacelles panels, nose gear retraction strut, rear engine exhaust covers, ventral gun compartment cover (if opting for the bomber version) and the nose gear strut halves. (21 parts).
Clear letter V parts tree holds the cockpit transparencies (4 parts), unfortunately, these are molded solid, so that the cockpit cannot be shown open without a lot of surgery. Too bad, as the cockpit on this kit is very detailed inside.
The decal sheet is next. In addition to the national markings and the tail numbers (already mentioned above) there are cockpit instrument faces (as an alternate to the molded in faces on the panel parts) and the swastikas for the tail (as the white outline type).