Ju-87G1/G2 Stuka (BF-002) 1:35 (2022)

Ju-87G1/G2 Stuka (BF-002)

1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys

Ju-87G1/G2 Stuka (BF-002) 1:35 (1)

The Stuka must be one of the most well-known German aircraft of WWII, partially because of its propaganda effects during the Nazis’ early successes with Blitzkrieg as they over-ran much of Europe, one after another. It was developed in the mid-30s as a dive-bomber, with distinctive gull-wing and fixed undercarriage with spatted wheels, which housed the so-called ‘Jericho Trumpet’ sirens that terrified its victims, knowing that the bombers were entering the dive phase of their attack from an almost vertical angle. The pilots would often black-out during the dive, but they were assisted by an automatic pull-out system that prevented many pilots from ploughing into the ground whilst unconscious. When they were used to attack the British Isles they experienced heavy losses due to the fact that they were preyed upon by a faster, more agile opponent, and those fighters were being accurately directed toward them by radar operated ground-control. They began to be used in conjunction with Bf.110 escorts, but even the 110s were no match, needing their own escorts against the British Spitfires and Hurricanes.

Rather than withdrawing the type from service entirely, they worked upon improving the airframe, and re-tasked it for other roles in less dangerous environments where the fighter opponents were either absent or less capable than the typical Allied aircraft of the day. The initial Ju.87B that was so badly mauled by the RAF gave way to the C, the D, and finally the R, which included a pivot to the ground-attack and tank destroyer role in which it had mixed success, partly due to its relatively slow speed over the battlefield making it an easy target. It lost the ground-attack role to the Fw.190, ending production of the type at the close of 1944, by which time it was hopelessly outclassed.

The Kit

This is a brand-new tooling from Border models from their new line of 1:35 aircraft that began with the Bf.109 that we reviewed here a while ago. It arrives in a large top-opening box, and inside are five sprues of medium grey styrene, two sprues of clear parts, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a four-part resin figure, a decal sheet, and the glossy instruction booklet, with colour profiles on the back pages that have been penned for them by AMMO. Detail is very good, and once you get over the slightly unusual scale of things, especially the pilot, who appears too tall for the scale, but that’s an optical illusion from staring at 1:32 pilot figures for years. Measuring it, the fellow scales out at approximately 5’10” ignoring the extra height of his cap.

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Construction begins with the Jumo 211J engine that could output up to 1,400hp on a good day, and this starts with the inverted V-12 block, which has two sides and two end-caps, with a top section added, and a V-shaped underside, plus a fluid reservoir on the top. It is bracketed by a pair of engine mounts, with another rectangular reservoir on the side of one of them, plus a drive-shaft to the front. More ancillaries are built up and mated with the engine, totalling 16 parts, plus a pair of cylinder head covers underneath. The firewall is detailed with seven extra parts, the oil-cooler is built of four styrene parts, plus two PE grilles at the rear, then the three sub-assemblies are joined together for insertion into the nose, which is made up from two halves separately from the main fuselage. When the engine is inserted, the front is closed up by a circular insert, and the exhaust stubs are slotted into the sides, each one having a slide-moulded hollow lip to add realism, and two tiny PE L-shaped parts placed in slots just in front of the radiator intake.

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The cockpit is begun by making up the pilot’s seat from four styrene parts and two PE belts, with the bulkhead behind it made of two more before being added to the stepped floor surface, which also has a clear view-port in the floor, control column, two-part rear seat, gun mount and rear bulkhead. A large rectangular ammo can is added to either side of the gun mount, then the two sidewalls are made up with PE and styrene parts, and glued to the inside of the fuselage halves after drilling a few holes, then trapping the cockpit between the halves along with a circular insert behind the gunner’s position. The two-part rudder with control linkages and clear light are also fitted at this time.

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Attention shifts to the wings, which have a separate gull-shaped centre section on the lower wing and shorter outer sections, both of which have a landing light and clear cover in the leading edge. The relocated radiators under the centre of the wings have separate inserts with PE grilles on both sides, which are glued in first then covered by the cowlings. Each wing has the period-typical Junkers flying surfaces that run the full width of the wingspan in three sections, attaching by narrow rods into slots, with additional actuators added for each part, plus a couple of horn balances on the outer section. The upper wings close over the lights, and because they overlap the joint between the lower inner and outer sections, makes for a strong joint. Wingtips, a top-side square insert, and on the port side a strange little horn that requires the drilling out of a slot outboard of the inner/outer join. In the open centre section, the lower-view glazing is added, and an un-numbered surround that supports another piece of glazing, which I eventually found on sprue C after (far too) much searching. It’s part C7 in case you wondered. The instructions also repeat the completion of the centre section along with the other wing, but it’s easy enough to ignore that.

The Stuka had a large greenhouse canopy, and you have a choice of three styles of front opener, one with a straight lower rail, one with a pair of sliding windows in the middle, and another with a kinked lower rail. The windscreen has two choices, one that has simplified cheek panels, the other with an additional vertical frame, and both have an external piece of armoured glass added to the front, which is best done late in the build and possibly using a clear varnish to avoid bubbles. The fixed centre section has a roll-over frame inserted inside before it is glued in place, and the rear glazing has two styrene inserts added before the zwilling (twin) mounted MG15s are made up and slipped through the port in the rear. The barrels and breeches are a single part, with four more styrene parts making up the mount, and a pair of PE ring sights are added to a curved bar above each barrel. Behind the gun position, the EZ6 direction-finding unit receives a clear styrene cover, although it’s not clear from the profiles whether this should be left clear or painted over. The elevators have separate flying surfaces with twin actuators and a tip-mounted pivot that is made from two parts. Two of the tabs on the elevators should be removed from each of the flying surfaces before they are mated, then they attach to the fuselage by the usual slot-and-tab method. The nose is joined to the fuselage before the canopy is completed, and is joined by another section of the upper fuselage under the windscreen, which has rudder pedals and instrument panel that doesn’t mention the decal that is present on the sheet four-fold, but it’s there and you know about it now. The gunsight and clear lens are added at the front, then the sub-assembly is dropped into the space in front of the pilot. The prop has a central boss in two halves, with separate blades with keyed bases, plus front and back sections of the spinner enclosing it after attachment to the drive-shaft with a flat circular retaining plate. The fuselage and wings are also mated at this point, followed by the main gear legs, which are made wheels first, having two half tyres and two-part hubs that the strut slips over, and this is then covered over by the spatted fairing, with a separate scissor-link hidden away inside. The tail-wheel is similarly made from four parts, with a two-part yoke trapping it in place for installation under the aircraft that allows it to stand on its own “feet” for the first time.

The G often carried gondola-mounted 37mm cannons under each wing, with a 6-round magazine containing armour-piercing rounds that garnered the nickname Kanonenvogel, which literally translates to Cannon Bird. The breeches are made of two halves that are surrounded by a lozenge-shaped cowling with the magazine projecting from both sides about half way. The pylons they mount on are also in halves, and have additional styrene parts and PE mounting plates added so they can be fitted under the wings in the pre-drilled holes. The final jobs involve adding the pitot probe to the starboard wing leading edge, plus optional armour panels on the sides of the pilot’s cockpit if using the simplified windscreen and kinked lower edge to the sliding canopy that protects him.

The Figure

Included in this first boxing is a four-part pilot figure in a greenish-grey resin. It has separate arms and head, but the rest is cast in one, with crisp casting and moulding that has no visible bubbles or defects. The head had fallen off its casting block on my example, but the chap is still smiling from under his cap, so it’s all good. The drape of his costume, features and pose are all first rate too, so it’s a welcome addition.

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Markings

There are two decal options at the back of the instruction booklet, both wearing green splinter camouflage and a yellow tail band, and flown by the same well-known pilot. From the box you can build one of the following:

  • Ju-87G-1, Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Kursk, 1943
  • Ju-87G-2, Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Eastern Front, Germany 1944

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Decals are printed anonymously, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The dials on the instrument panels are very slightly out of register however, but it is so unlikely to be noticed that it doesn’t really matter. There are a few stencils on the sheet, and some Swastikas for the tail fin, although they are absent from the profiles at the back of the instruction booklet.

Conclusion

If you want to engage in this relatively new scale for aircraft, this seems like a good plan. It is well-detailed and should be simple to put together with a bit of care and attention, so should build up into a creditable replica of this genuinely iconic aircraft.

Highly recommended.

Available in the UK in all good model shops.

Review sample courtesy of

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