Hasegawa 1/32 Ju 87G Stuka Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||January 2006||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||Junkers Ju 87G-1/2 Stuka||Scale||1/32|
|Kit Number||08075 ST25||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||The best Stuka kit in any scale||Cons||Elevators & rudder molded in place|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$64.98|
The Junkers Ju 87 first flew in 1935 as result of a competition for a new dive bomber. The unsuccessful contenders included Arado, Hamburger, and Heinkel. Like Willy Messerschmitt's Bf 109 prototype, the Ju 87 prototype was powered by the Rolls Royce Kestrel engine. And like the early Bf 109, the early Ju 87s were shipped off to serve in the Spanish Civil War to receive its baptism of fire to work out any bugs in the design.
Nicknamed the Stuka, the aircraft formed an essential part of Hitler's Blitz across Europe with its precision bombing capability. The Ju 87, like the American SBD, employed dive brakes to allow for near vertical dives on a target, the steep angles all but assuring a direct hit every time. As allied air superiority took hold in the west, the Stuka was too slow to remain a viable combat aircraft, but the Luftwaffe still reigned over the skies over the Soviet Union.
While the Luftwaffe held its own in the sky, Soviet armor was proving to be a problem on the ground. A Ju 87 was fitted a pair of obsolete 37mm Flak 18 in pods under the wings and in this new role, the aircraft, guns and corresponding ammunition proved to be highly effective against the T-34. The Ju 87G 'tank plinker' was born.
My congratulations to Hasegawa. This has got to be the best Stuka kit in any scale produced in any media (except perhaps the Junkers 1:1 scale versions). I am not a Stuka fan and I am even more tired of all of the various Nazi releases that have flooded the hobby marketplace over the last few years. Nevertheless, when I opened the box, I had to buy the kit. This is a first-class model inside and out.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on nine parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The detailing throughout this kit is excellent. The only problem I noted was a few ejector pin marks on the undersides ailerons and flaps, but these should be easy to clean up.
One of the things that caught my attention about this kit was the cockpit. I think this is one of the nicest cockpits I've seen straight out of a Hasegawa box. Will someone craft a resin cockpit for this kit, undoubtedly, but I'd have to say that this is the first Hasegawa kit I've owned where I don't feel compelled to replace the cockpit. Don't get me wrong, I will still drop a set of Eduard color photo-etch into this kit in a heartbeat, but that's just me...
The kit is clearly engineered to render a variety of Stuka variants aside from the Ju 87G. This kit provides the parts to render the normal wingspan Ju 87G-1 and the longer-winged Ju 87G-2.
Another impressive bit of engineering in this kit is the wing box which is the left-most part on the first tree. The Stuka featured an inverted gull wing similar to the F4U Corsair that followed. Hasegawa has engineered this wing box to serve as the structural joint between the various wing panels and the fuselage. Very nicely done!
The one bit of improvement I'd recommend is molding the elevators and rudder separately so they can be posed. This isn't something that a few scribes with a sharp X-Acto knife won't overcome.
The canopies are molded in four parts, but the instructions don't depict an option to display the canopies open. This may be due to the thickness of the clear parts not being able to sit properly atop one another. If this turns out to be the problem, you can vacuform the pilot's sliding canopy and solve that problem.
The kit provides two styrene crew figures that are very nicely done should you wish to crew up your cockpit. As a special thanks, Hasegawa is also including in their first release of this kit a special figure set containing Hans-Ulrich Rudel and his dog, both cast in white metal.
Markings are provided for two examples:
- Ju 87G-2, Stab/SG2, W.Nr. 494193, as flown by Oberstleutnant Hans-Ulrich Rudel
- Ju 87G-1, GS+MD
The instructions also provide a set of templates for you to cut paint masks out of your favorite masking material.
I was really impressed with Hasegawa's re-tooled Fw 190D-9 kit, and this Ju 87 kit shows that they are stepping up their game in the 1/32 kit department. With those two nicely detailed Flak 18s under the wings, this tank plinker will be looking great on my shelf.
This kit is definitely recommended.