The Junkers Ju-88 series needs little introduction to most aviation modellers. One of the Luftwaffe's most versatile aircraft, though most remembered as a level bomber, dive bomber and night fighter.
The G series was a purpose built Night Fighter version with an airframe more optimised to that particular role than the earlier C series fighters. The G's also being fitted with much improved radar and weaponry, often including the "Schrage Musik" oblique upward firing cannons behind the cockpit. Early G series aircraft were fitted with BMW 801 radials. The later G6's being fitted with inline Jumo engines instead.
As a night fighter the Ju-88's were more than capable of bringing down the RAF's heavy bombers right to the last days of the war. However they were less well equipped for dealing with late war RAF night fighter opposition. The more advanced and manoeuvrable He 219 being more suited for dealing with enemy night fighters.
Zvezda's first 1/72 scale Junkers Ju-88 kit was released, I believe, in late 2006 and didn't receive much review or fanfare. Strange, because it's quality is a bit of a pointer to the way in which this company seems to be going. Just look at their first 1/48 kit for example.
The kit comes in a sturdy box, with decent but not exceptional artwork. The sprues are not bagged, not even the clear parts. Though nothing was damaged in my example at all, I think most people really would like to see at least the clear parts protected by a bag. The instructions are clear and the build sequence seems logical. The painting and markings maybe not so clear and logical- but more on that later.
The part trees are moulded in good quality plastic that should present no problems to work with and this is definitely not a short run model kit, parts containing locating tabs for all assembly. The surfaces are smooth, with no noticeable blemishes and all ejector pin marks seem to be well hidden in places that won't show. Detailing is very crisp. Panel lines are engraved, consistent and subtle. The equal, in my opinion, of the sort of fine panel lines that you get in a Hasegawa kit. There is no flash and moulding join lines are only light and should be easy to remove. The only noticeable over scale feature being the radar array. But I don't think anyone could do much better at this scale using injection moulding.
The cockpit is moderately well detailed, but this is the areas where most people would want to add to for this one. Three nice multipart crew figures are included.
The fuselage uses separate nose and ventral tray inserts. So other versions are looking likely or at least possible. A BMW powered G1 probably being the most likely I'd say.
Decals and Marking Options
This area of the kit unfortunately doesn't fare as well as the plastic. The decals are actually well printed and in perfect register. However mine, as you can see in the photo have yellowed carrier film. I have to say that the camera has actually made it more noticeable, it's not that bad to the naked eye. But you can see it. If it would show on a light coloured night fighter scheme and if it will get worse over time, who knows? I probably wouldn't want to trust them. I don't know if this is isolated to a batch or common for this kit.
Three markings options are given in the kit. No unit or crew information is given, though i believe the box art scheme may have been the aircraft of Erich Jung who shot down 8 RAF bombers in one night. The only useable paint reference given are Model Master paints. I think there is also another reference for some other paints, but it's all in Russian- maybe it's some type of domestic Russian branded paint? I have no problem with giving just one brand of paint, but i really like to at least see RLM, FS or even just common given names for the colours. As it is the instructions call for Gunship Grey and Primer Gray to represent the standard Night Fighter scheme which doesn't really mean a lot if you don't use Model Master Paints. Realistically though, most people building this would probably know a bit about the subject of Luftwaffe colours (and probably got into few punch-ons with other experts over the subject!).
Conclusion and should it be compared with the Hasegawa kits?
This is the big one isn't it? Well first of all, Hasegawa don't do a Jumo "G" series aircraft. Yet. So we're not quite comparing apples with apples. But they do a G1 BMW powered aircraft. I don't own that kit, but i've seen it. The Hasegawa kit is more complicated and has more parts. But we all know that much of that has to do with their desire to get every bit of use out of one set of moulds. As long as the Zvezda kit goes together well and has no hidden fit issues, then i think it holds up remarkably well.
But the big decider is price and how much it matters to you. Here in my LHS the Hasegawa Ju88's sell for around A$55. The Zvezda Ju88 cost A$25. If Hasegawa do a G6 will it be worth over twice the price? If we're talking about using my money, then I'd say probably not. Actually it was my money!
Zvezda are a company going in the right direction. This is a high quality model kit, only with a question mark about the yellowish decal film. As long as it goes together well, for the price it's hard to beat.
Highs: Excellent quality plastic. Price.Lows: Maybe those slightly yellowed decals. No info on markings options.Verdict: Hard to ignore for the price if you want a 1/72 Ju-88 night fighter.
About Andrew Beard (CMOT70) FROM: VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
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