Revell 1/48 Ju 87D Stuka Kit First Look
By John Doerr
|Date of Review
|Ju 87D Stuka
|Low cost, clean moldings, the only Ju 87D currently available
|Low level of detail, poor painting guide
The Junkers Ju 87 may well be the most recognized aircraft used by the Luftwaffe. Its angular and ungainly shape became the face of the Blitzkrieg. The diving Stuka, an abbreviation of Sturzkampfflugzeug, or dive-bomber, was used in propaganda posters, and films by both sides.
The war started with the Luftwaffe using the Ju 87B. It proved to be an accurate and demoralizing weapon as long as the Luftwaffe had attained air superiority. It carried sirens attached to each of the landing gear spats to heighten the demoralizing effect as it screamed down on its opponents. During the Battle of Britain, the Stukas were used in conditions where they were exposed to opposing fighters and many were lost. The Stuka units were subsequently withdrawn for the battle. The Ju 87s were also used with success in the Balkan, Mediterranean, and initially on the Russian fronts. As the Russian Air Force recovered and started fielding more and better fighters the Stukas became more vulnerable. With no replacement available, the design was improved with the D series
The initial Ju-87D-1 featured a Jumo 211J-1 engine developing 1,400 HP, driving a new VS-11 propeller. The new engine permitted a much cleaner installation than its predecessors, and the airframe was redesigned accordingly with a new engine cooling scheme, leaving only the oil radiator at the chin location and the coolant radiators moved the underside of the inboard wing sections. . An entirely new canopy with better aerodynamics was fitted, and the main landing gear fairings were reduced in size and the sirens removed. Many times, due to muddy or snowy field conditions, the spats were removed completely. Greater engine power also permitted more protective armor and fuel capacity, featuring the installation of outer wing tanks. The Ju-87D-1 retained the twin fixed forward MG-17 guns, but replaced the single MG-15 gun in the rear with MG-81Z, twin guns of the same caliber. The MG-81 had a faster rate of fire than the MG-15, and had a belt instead of magazine feed.
In early 1943 production moved on in turn to the Ju-87D-5, which featured distinctive extended wingtips to improve handling, as well as the jettisonable landing gear. The dive brakes were deleted after initial Ju-87D-5 production since it was used almost exclusively in the ground attack role. The two forward-firing MG-17 machine guns were also replaced with twin MG-151/20 20-millimeter cannon. The Ju-87D-7, was a Ju-87D-5 with night flight instrumentation and long flame dampers on the exhausts to hide the exhaust glow from the pilot or potential enemies.
The kit comes in the standard lid and tray box. The cardboard is quite thin and not very sturdy. One surprising aspect was that opening the box was a heavy-duty cardboard strip bridging the center of the box and taped to the sides to protect the plastic inside from crushing.
The kit is packaged in two separate plastic bags, one for the clear pieces to protect them from scratching and the rest in the other. It is crisply molded in gray styrene with very little flash and raised details, typical of the Monogram offerings of the time. There are four gray trees and one clear. The clear pieces are well done being thin and transparent.
The kit is based on the G-2 version. Instead of the underwing cannon pods there are the bomb racks for the wings, with four 110-pound bombs, dive brakes and a centerline 1,100-pound bomb and the crutch. Also included are the flame dampers for the exhaust and the 20-mm gun barrels for the wings. The flame dampers are molded as a single piece with the interior side hollowed out.
The wing is molded in three pieces, a lower and the right and left upper halves. The offset flaps and ailerons are molded integrally with the lower wing half. While this lends a certain sturdiness to the model, I can not vouch for the accuracy of the representation.
The kit measures out to a length of 9-1/4 inches, which corresponds to a length of 37 feet compared to an actual length of 37 feet 9 inches. The wingspan measures 12-7/16 inches or a scale wingspan of 49 feet 9 inches, while Stuka had a span of 49 feet 3 inches. Also noted was the lack of the RDF loop fitting for antenna, a particularly visible feature of the night Stukas
The instructions are the typical Revell-Monogram series of pictorial international style. The assembly is broken down into seven steps and two decal and painting profiles. The second option is quite poorly done. It is of the night attack (Nachtschlact) D-8. The painting profile is horribly unclear. The night version carried the standard day scheme, over painted with light gray (RLM 76) wave squiggles. The profile appears to be overall dark green (RLM 71) with light blue splotches (RLM 65?).
The Revell Ju 87D is a re-release derivative of the Monogram classic Ju 87G-2 from 40 years ago. I am old enough to remember building it and being impressed with the level of detail for the time. That level of detail has been greatly surpassed by the newer kits. A brief search on the Internet showed me that if you want to build a D then it’s the only choice you have, unless you want to convert the Hasegawa G-2. There are aftermarket accessories available to cure the largest disappointment with this kit, the lack of cockpit detail, which only contains five pieces with raised details on the insides of the fuselage halves. The low cost of the kit makes the acquisition of the aftermarket accessories far less painful.
I was initially disappointed but the more I studied the kit the more I came to be convinced that this kit can be built into a nice model.