VEB 1/72 Junkers G23/G24 Airliner Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||September 2007||Manufacturer||VEB Plasticart|
|Subject||Junkers G23/G24 Airliner Bomber||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||N/A||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The big successes the Junkers F-13 enjoyed, during the first years of air transport with Junkers planes, confirmed that both within Germany and abroad there existed a continually increasing interest to extend passenger traffic, and airline systems. Hence, the need arose to build even more efficient and larger planes and put them into service. It was planned by Junkers that the larger passenger plane G-24, whose intra-company designation was J-24, should replace the F-13. A design application filed with the International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN) to obtain approval for construction probably envisioned the construction of a passenger plane with a different number of engines (single-engined, twin-engined, triple-engined). The ICAN gave its approval on February 8, 1925, on the basis of the design limitations applicable at that time.
Development work had already started in autumn 1923, and in the summer of 1924 the first G23 was built at Dessau. The G23 constituted an intermediate solution for the low-wing monoplane conceived as G24, a triple-engined cantilever plane with corrugated duralumin sheet metal covering, with a central Junkers L-2 engine and two lateral Mercedes D-III engines, was relatively low powered. The aircraft had a two-man crew and accommodated nine passengers in an enclosed passenger cabin. Behind this cabin was a compartment for luggage and mail. In an adjoining compartment was a toilet with a lavatory.
Flight trials took place in the autumn of 1924 at Furth near Nurnberg. Shortly afterwards, it was decided to carry out the flight tests at Dubendorf in Switzerland. This prompted the Swiss airline “Ad Astra Aero” to immediately place orders for the new plane at Dessau. In 1925, four machines were delivered to this airline.
All airplanes of the first line, which were completely ready for flying when they left the Dessau works (works numbers 831 to 851) at first were given the type designation G23. This fact has to do with the approach adopted by the Junkers works in the designation of their planes under the conditions of construction limitations imposed on them. A certain proportion of the first line of planes was supplied in the form of individual components to Sweden where they were assembled by Messers Aktie Bolaget Flyindustrie at Limhamn, which also fitted the planes with more powerful engines.
By transferring production abroad, it was attempted to evade the limitations of the Treaty of Versailles. The major part of the G23 planes built at Dessau were also flown to Limhamn shortly after their completion and were fitted with other engines there. All machines that were assembled and refined in Sweden were then flying as G24 planes also in Germany, with most of them at first being registered with foreign airlines. Only after the limitations were lifted, the planes were given marking characteristics to the German roster.
From May 1926, the entire production again took place at Dessau, with the official designation G24. The numerical type sequence used for Junkers planes was continued, and the number 23 was no longer used for two planes of different design (this was the case temporarily, since Junkers had also built a single-engined test plane, the T23).
During the period in which the B24 was produced, the engines employed were changed several times. The G24 planes built last had a central engine JU L8G and two lateral engines JU L5. On account of the different engines, the span was also changed several times. From 1925 till 1928, more than 70 G24’s were built, sold locally and abroad and used in scheduled service. During that period, G24’s also established service-load records.
In 1926, G24’s from the first line of products were revamped into single-engined, cargo-transport planes F24 with a BMW Via engine (551 kW). Among these modified planes was also the G24 with the works number 843 (Swedish marking characteristics S-AAAK…one of the decal options in the kit), which…after having returned to Germany, was registered as D-1019.
VEB Plasticart was a former model kit factory from the German Democratic Republic in East Germany. This company, I think, is out of business. But, years ago, they had a very large selection of various model kits. This particular kit had a origin in 1987.
The kit comes in a large, very sturdy tray and lid type box. The box art shows a G24 flying over the Alps in Swiss airline livery. A side panel of the box shows this aircraft again in profile and another profile of a G24 in Swedish airline livery. There is also a cutaway drawing on this side panel tool Inside the box are four silver plastic trees of parts, two jet black trees, a clear tree, the decals, the instructions and two toothpaste tubes. The kit mentions that one…for sure is gel type glue…and the other may be silver paint…although I never opened them both to see what was in either and they are totally unlabeled as to what might be in them.
The instructions consist of a very large single slick coated sheet that accordion folds out into six 19” x 7 ½” pages. This is then folded again in half.
Page one has the history of the G23/24 in German, Russian, English and French.
Page two continues with the French history followed by it in a language I cannot identify. Spilling over into half of page two and all of page 3 are two 2-views of the two marking options provided in the kit:
The first one is for a Swiss airline aircraft. It is overall bare-metal with black engine cowlings and landing gear legs. It carries the fuselage number 132 in black. The word JUNKERS is done in cursic lettering on the side of the central engine nacelle. There is a red square on the rudder with the white letters CH on it. The wings have a red band surrounding them and CH appears again in white on one of them and 132 in white on the other wing band.
The second marking option is for a Swedish airline. It is the same bare-metal with black cowlings and landing gear and the fuselage number 5-AAAK in black lettering. The number 5 appears again on the rudder in black. This code is again repeated in very large black letters above and below the wings.
Page 4 Has “Instructions concerning the assembly of the model” in the same five languages mentioned earlier.
Pages 5 & 6 have five assembly drawings, called out in roman numerals. In step 5, you have to drill out 7 holes in the center of the lower wing to accommodate the landing gear struts and oleos.
The kit provides a full interior, which includes the open cockpit, passenger seats and internal bulkheads. I don’t think much of the passenger area will be visible at all after assembly as the windows are small and rather thickly molded.
The first large parts tree is molded in silver plastic and holds the upper and lower wing halves. The lower wing is done full-span, which sets the dihedral nicely. It also holds the wing flaps. (5 parts)
The second medium sized silver tree holds: the fuselage sides and top and bottom pieces (4 parts)
A third medium sized silver tree holds: the horizontal tail surfaces and its support bars, props, flap hinges, control yokes and prop retainer washers etc. (29 parts) A fourth small silver tree holds: the rudder, wheel hubs, boarding steps, engine fittings, direction finding antenna, radio antenna etc. (29 parts)
A medium sized jet black parts tree holds: the main gear legs and struts, main wheels, internal cabin bulkheads, engine cowling parts, passenger cabin floor with seats molded in etc. (22 parts)
A small jet black tree holds: the pilot’s cabin floor with seats molded in, engine fronts, dashboard, engine top panels and a number of grab handles. This aircraft has grab handles all over the outside of it, just about everywhere you look. Must have been for ground handling ease? (11 parts)
The final parts tree is clear and holds the aircraft’s windows (20 parts) The pilot’s cabin was an open affair, with only a low windscreen glass in front of the pilot and co-pilot. Must have been very cold, flying over the Alps in that condition. At least the passengers were warm and cozy in their closed compartment.
None of these parts trees is cello bagged in the kit. Friction, between the trees managed to break one of the main gear leg parts and knock off one of the engine exhaust rings.
The huge decal sheet, with the two alternate markings already described above, completes the kit’s contents.
This kit was also released under the Revell of Germany label and also was done with pontoons instead of wheels as another kit. Availability is still possible from a few on line shops overseas.
The detail, especially the corrugation is very good. I did read a few other reviews of this kit on the internet that mentioned some inaccuracies and thickness of trailing edges. I am not a nit-picker and can live with some of this. I also heard that VEB Plasticarts decals shatter when they hit water, so they should probably be hit with some of the decal coating liquid that’s available at hobby shops. I also wonder just how well the decals will snuggle down over the corrugation?
I heard somewhere that the G24 may have been used by the Luftwaffe in early WWII, however I have not seen that verified anyplace. If it is true, I would sure like to see what those markings would have looked like.
Recommended to airline modelers out there.