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Ju 52/3mg6e

Italeri 1/72 Ju 52/3mg6e Minesweeper Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2010 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject Ju 52/3mg6e Minesweeper Scale 1/72
Kit Number 0126 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Reissue of a nice classic kit Cons No swastika decals
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $33.00

First Look

Ju 52/3mg6e
Ju 52/3mg6e
Ju 52/3mg6e
Ju 52/3mg6e
Ju 52/3mg6e

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.

I'm not use when Italeri first released their Ju 52 in 1/72 scale, but it remains one of the best kits of the subject in this scale. If ever there was a subject that needed raised details, it is the flying quonset hut, the corrugated airframe of the Ju 52. While this kit has been released in the usual utility aircraft releases, this remains the only kit to have rendered the unique minesweeper variant in any scale with the distinctive sensor ring around the underside of the airframe.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus a single clear tree. The detailing is nice and the parts are well engineered to go together easily.

The kit provides a reasonable flight deck complete with crew figures which can all be seen through the greenhouse cockpit enclosure. The main cabin is empty save the rear bulkhead and access door to the dorsal gunner's station. That's okay in this variant as most of the windows are covered over to keep the interior dark for the sensor operators.

Construction of the airframe is straightforward though you will have to decide at the beginning which of two versions you'll be building as parts are provided for each one. For example, in one version, the only dorsal gun position is behind the main cabin, while the other has another dorsal gun position on the flight deck.

The most challenging step will be the installation of the magnetic sensor ring under the fuselage. There are six struts that mount the ring under the fuselage and wings and a single tab to the rear fuselage. The actual aircraft had rigging from a dorsal mast to several points of the ring from behind the wing trailing edge around to the tail to provide strength to the antenna. You'll want to use your favorite rigging technique to replicate this detail on your minesweeper as well.

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • Ju 52/3mg6e, 3K+HF, Minensuch Gruppe, France, 1943
  • Ju 52/3mg6e, B, Minensuch Gruppe, Baltic Sea, 1944

As to be expected in some of these European-produced kits, no swastikas are provided in the kit, so you'll have to seek out spares from elsewhere to render an accurate kit.

This is still a nice kit and out of the box, will render a rather unique looking variant of the ole Taunte Ju. This kit hasn't been on the market in a number of years and it is nice to see it back on store shelves, even though it is a limited edition release.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!