AMtech 1/72 Junkers Ju 88H-3/4 Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||April 2004
Updated Jan 2008
|Kit Number||729206||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Simple conversion, multiple versions in kit||Cons||Provide your own Fw 190|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The Junkers Ju 88 was one of the Luftwaffe's most versatile aircraft. Starting out as a bomber in 1936, the Ju 88 would evolve into a night fighter, reconnaissance aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, special missions platform and more. With almost 15,000 airframes produced, the Ju 88 saw extensive combat service.
Under Project Mistletoe (Mistel), war weary Ju 88s were being converted for one last mission - cruise missile. Packed with explosives, these Mistel aircraft were guided to their targets by another aircraft attached to the top of the Ju 88. Once the target was in sight, the pilot of the guiding aircraft, typically an Fw 190, would set the autopilot of the unmanned Ju 88, detach from the flying bomb and return to base.
There was one interesting exception to the Fw 190/Ju 88 combination. An extended range version of the Ju 88, designated Ju 88H-4, was equipped with a surface search radar for maritime reconnaissance. Flying beyond the range of protective fighter cover, it was decided to equip the aircraft with its own 'parasite fighter'. As the fuel used by the Ju 88 and Fw 190 were different octanes (and therefore incompatible), a few of the Ju 88’s tanks carried fuel for the Fw 190 to use while attached to the Ju 88, leaving it with nearly full fuel tanks to provide protective cover for the Ju 88 in case it encountered enemy aircraft, and still have the range to return safely home.
AMtech has released their latest variations of the Ju 88, based on the decent AMT/ERTL 1/72 Ju 88 series kits. This latest release contains the parts for the stretched Ju 88H-3 Mistel version as well as the stretched Ju 88H-4 Fuhrungsmachine. The basic AMT/ERTL kit is recognizable by their standard light gray styrene parts, featuring scribed details and panel lines. The AMtech enhancements are molded in dark gray styrene and also feature finely scribed panel lines. The new parts include the replacement stretched fuselage, the H-4 cockpit and radar radome, the H-3 bomb nose, external fuel tanks, and the strut structures to carry the Fw 190 atop the aircraft (not included).
Assembly of the kit is initially very straightforward. The cockpit assembly uses the stock AMT parts, but pay attention to the instructions as portions of the floor and rear bulkhead require trimming in order to fit the completed cockpit into the new nose. If you’re building the H-3, no worries as there is no cockpit, just the two-piece warhead that attaches to the fuselage in place of the cockpit.
Assembly of the wings and engine nacelles should be accompanied by lots of dry-fitting of the parts, especially the wing/nacelle joins, to ensure a good fit, otherwise you may have some gaps to contend with later.
The additional weight of the parasite fighter stressed the landing gear and tires to their limit. In order to mitigate this stress, an additional landing gear strut was attached to the bottom of the fuselage to better distribute the weight until after takeoff, when it would drop off.
The one area that will require a bit of precision is with the attachment of the support struts that carry the Fw 190 atop the Ju 88. The instructions give precise dimensions to drill holes in the underside of your Fw 190 and atop the Ju 88. While this shouldn’t pose a problem for the experienced modeler, a little care will ensure that you don’t have an unsightly alignment problem later.
Markings are provided for three aircraft:
- Ju 88H-4, G2+BH, 1945
- Ju 88H-4, unidentified, 1945
- Ju 88H-3/Mistel 3B, II./KG200, 1945
Now here is a project that will catch people’s eyes on the contest table or on your shelf. An Fw 190 atop a Ju 88 is definitely an eye-catcher. While AMtech has previously released the Ju 88G versions of the Mistel, this kit gives you the more unusual H-series Ju 88 with the stretched fuselage. The project is simple enough for modelers who are accustomed to modifying stock kits and have the tools to do the job (pin vise, modeler’s drill bits, etc.). Recommended!
Check out the build review of this kit here!
My sincere thanks to AMtech for this review sample!