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Ju 87B-2 Kit

Tamiya 1/48 Ju 87B-2 Stuka Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2011 Manufacturer Tamiya
Subject Ju 87B-2 Stuka Scale 1/48
Kit Number 37008 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Impressive kit from Italeri plus the value-added parts from Tamiya Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (Yen) ¥2,880 (About $37 USD)

First Look

Ju 87B-2 Kit
Ju 87B-2 Kit
Ju 87B-2 Kit
Ju 87B-2 Kit
Ju 87B-2 Kit
Ju 87B-2 Kit

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 you might have expected this release to be a newly tooled Tamiya kit, it is actually a repackaged Italeri Stuka with one new parts tree, new decals, and Tamiya-class instructions. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees with one tree of clear parts and even a fret of photo-etched parts (Italeri kit) plus one tree molded in dark gray styrene (Tamiya addition).

Italeri has taken a new direction in its kit engineering and I'm impressed. The cockpit isn't the usual floorboard that mates up to some detailed molded into the fuselage halves and a decal instrument panel. Instead, the cockpit 'tub' is its own assembly with floor, sidewalls, center and rear bulkheads plus the instrument panel/firewall. The pilot's seat has photo-etched seatbelts and shoulder harness while the rear gunner's web seat (nice touch!) has its own photo-etched lap belts.

What catches my eye is the instrument panel. The plastic rear plate gets the secondary instrument panel decal. A photo-etched panel with the instrument frames goes over the decal, then another decal lays atop the photo-etched panel representing the primary flight instruments. Over this goes another photo-etched sub-panel with the instrument frames. Rudder pedals and a grab handle mount to the panel and this is covered by a photo-etched coaming/sun shield. Very nice indeed. The completed cockpit subassembly goes into the fuselage halves and this assembly is set aside.

Another bit of engineering I like here are the wings. The lower wing is one-piece so the anhedral/dihedral is already set up for you. Simply add the upper wing halves, add the photo-etched walkway reinforcement panels and remember to open up the holes in the lower wing half for your external stores. The wing and fuselage assemblies come together with no guesswork.

The elevators and rudder are molded separately so you can position them as you wish. The main landing gear wheels are molded weighted, so it will look natural sitting on your shelf. These go into the wheel spats and mount to the wings.

Another nice engineering touch is the engine. This is a nicely detailed Jumo 211D that not only has radiators, inverted fuel tank, etc., the kit also provides a length of scale rubber hose to connect all of your plumbing. To appreciate these details after assembly, Italeri set up the kit with a removable propeller and upper cowl panel.

The kit provides a nice selection of 500kg and 50kg bombs to arm your aircraft. Here is where Tamiya steps in. That dark gray sprue has two ground crewmen plus a bomb hoist so you can pose the aircraft as if it is getting the 500kg bomb loaded onto its centerline trapeze.

Markings are provided for five examples:

  • Ju 87B-2, F1+AD, Stab III/StG 77, Bulgaria, 1941
  • Ju 87B-2, T6+KL, 3./StG 2, France, 1940 (Battle of Britain)
  • Ju 87B-2, T6+JK, 2./StG 2, Russia, 1941
  • Ju 87B-2, J9+BH, 7./StG 1, France, 1940 (Battle of Britain)
  • Ju 87B-2, B6+20, Hungarian AF, Eastern Front, 1944

Decals are provided on two sheets and also include a nice set of maintenance stenciling. Italeri provided the four Luftwaffe examples while Tamiya added the Hungarian example plus a set of swastikas left off of the Italeri sheet.

This is a really nice kit and I'm quite impressed with Italeri's work here. I also am a big fan of Tamiya's instructions, so it is nice to see these two powerhouses teamed up again. Whether you choose the Italeri boxing or this Tamiya release with the additional bomb loading crew/hoist, you won't be disappointed with this kit.

My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!