Pro Modeler 1/48 Junkers Ju52
By Will Riepl
Here's a kit that I've been wanting for quite some time. Way back when, I built the Airfix 1/72 kit, and from then on I've always liked the plane. The three engines, the corrugations, and the fixed landing gear all appealed to me. And then there's that trademark Junkers feature of having the ailerons and flaps completely separate from the wings. I had though that the possibility of a 1/48-injection kit of this venerable cargo plane was nothing more than a pipe dream. Then I saw the test shots from Revell-Monogram at Chicago and I knew that I was finally going to have a quarter inch Ju52.
I managed to get a couple (OK, four) in advance of the release date, which made doing one for the April issue a very strong possibility. The kit has a lot of parts, and I mean a lot! The interior is incredibly complete and superbly detailed, which is both good and bad. It's good because, well, it's good, but it's bad because once the fuselage is together, you can't see hardly any of it. The surface detailing of the kit is absolutely stunning, with the corrugations done perfectly, right down to the rows of rivets in the valleys of the corrugations. The breakdown of the kit is pretty much the same as all the other Ju52 kits out there, with a separate top, sides, and bottom, with all the seams falling on easily hidden lines. The decals are quite nice, with an option for a Spanish Civil War and a standard Luftwaffe variant. But since I am not a conformist, I went my own way as far as markings. So without further adieu, here's the Pro Modeler 1/48 Junkers Ju52!
A good place to start on this kit is in the interior, and this will keep you busy for a good amount of time. While we will probably see quite a few resin detail sets for this kit, the interior builds up quite impressively out of the box. The interior is broken down into three sections: the cockpit, the cargo area, and the rear gunner's section. Bulkheads are provided, and here is the first bit of care that needs to be taken. When the interior is finished and you glue it into the fuselage, don't glue the bulkheads to the fuselage, but rather leave them free from the fuselage sides. This will help greatly when it comes time to glue the upper fuselage to the sides, as you can then move the bulkheads around to get the perfect fit.
The interior was painted RLM02, with details added in black and some subtle weathering applied. Once this was done, I moved to the fuselage assembly. The bottom part of the fuselage fit perfectly, without any work needed. The top part needed a bit of work because of the interior bulkheads, but once those were all situated right, everything just snapped into place. This kit is one where the adage of fit twice, glue once needs to be followed very closely. Dry fit everything several times before gluing to make sure of the fit before actually gluing. Also, take care to remove all traces of the sprues, especially on the fuselage top, as one little hair leftover can make an unsightly and difficult-to-fill gap.
Once the fuselage was together, I turned to the wings. Pretty simple stuff here, really, until you get to the engines. Here's another area that needs close attention. Read the instructions very closely, then dry fit the engine to the wing and read the instructions again. The alignment here is very tricky, and if you get it wrong early on, all the exhaust stubs will be going the wrong way. Take your time, though, and you will be rewarded.
I decided to paint the model with the wings off, as the joint between the fuselage and wings was flawless and it would make painting easier. I decided early on that I didn't want to do what the kit had for markings. Originally (before the kit was released) I wanted to do D-2600 or one of the other high German officials planes. But when the kit came out, I saw that doing one of those would be very difficult, if not impossible. The civilian Ju52s didn't have the rear upper turret, and to fix that on this kit would take a lot of work to line the corrugations up. I think we will see a resin replacement for that before too long, and Revell-Monogram might even do it themselves as well.
Since that option was out of question, I started looking at what else I could do. And I found my answer in Poland. In poking around the Profile Publication on the Ju52, I came across a picture of some medivac Ju52s in Poland, with black undersides, overpainted 61/62/63 camouflage, and large code letters under the wings. Toss in the red crosses on the white circles, and we have a winner!
So now comes the question of how the heck do I paint a hard-edged camouflage on a corrugated airplane? Well, I tried something a bit different: Post-It tape. It's the same adhesive on those Post-It notes, but in tape form. This works really well, as it doesn't pull up previous layers of paint, it adheres well, and is pretty cheap too. I started out by painting on the light gray of the 61/62/63 scheme. Once that was done, I masked off the pattern and sprayed the other colors, finishing with the black underbelly. When that had dried, I went back over the green with RLM71 to reduce the contrast and to match what the pictures show. I used the new Testors Acryl paints for the camouflage, and they went down very well. Once the camouflage was down, I made a loose mask for the white circles and sprayed those on. I didn't make this a tight mask, as there is obvious overspray on the real plane.
Now that the painting is finished, it's time for the decals. Contrary to popular belief, the kit decals are not 'stretched' to fit into the corrugations. The crosses are perfectly square, dashing that theory. Well, since I wasn't doing the kit options, it didn't bother me too much. I started by cutting a decal for the red cross. When I applied that, I discovered just how hard it is to keep a straight line with a thin decal while laying it over corrugations. After struggling with the first one, I decided that the rest would just be painted on, and I created a mask and sprayed them on. Next up were the swastikas and wing crosses. I had a lot of trouble getting the decals to settle down into the corrugations, and some care will be needed here to achieve a flawless finish. Since I was having so much trouble with the decalling, I decided to just airbrush the rest of the markings on. So I created masks for the fuselage and wing codes and airbrushed those on. I used a lot less setting solution this way that's for sure!
With all the markings on, it was time for the final assembly. The wings were glued on, followed by the landing gear. Now that it's sitting its own, I started looking at the easiest way to glue the ailerons and flaps on. I separated the flaps from the ailerons and attached them separately using superglue and a needle applicator. There isn't much glue space here, so the superglue is the best choice.
Next up were the engines. After all the test fitting, these went on perfectly, with everything pointing the way it should. Finally, the canopy went on, but only temporarily. After attaching it and shooting the final pictures, I noticed that this Ju52 had the forward turret, so I've popped the canopy off and have raided another kit for the rear turret. The next pictures will show that in place…
All in all, this is one incredible kit. The level of detail is incredible, the level of engineering is incredible, and the price is incredible. At a retail price of $33.50, this kit just can't be beat. And while this is no weekend slammer, I was able to finish mine in a marathon modeling week, with no putty needed and just some careful painting. Now all I have to do is figure out what the next one will be done up as.
1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00
Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.
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