I didn't quite know what to expect when I
heard that the Stuka was being issued by Academy. I knew that Italeri had
a 1/72nd kit, as did Fujimi. Revell's was quite nice as well. This one
came from out of nowhere, as far as I was concerned. When John offered it,
I decided to gamble that it was a new issue.
The rumor started immediately on news of its
hitting the market, or even a bit before that, that this is the Hobbycraft
Ju87. Hobbycraft, however, never actually released a 1/72nd scale Ju87. As
the story unfolds, and this is still hearsay but from fairly good sources,
Hobbycraft was getting ready to release their Ju87 but didn't.
Rather, Academy acquired the molds and
released the kit themselves. Academy masters do the molds for new
Hobbycraft stuff anyway, so that's not much of a reach. In any case, this
issue is one that we Regular Joe Modelers have never seen before.
The level of molding is just
exquisite. There are really clean recessed panel lines, flush rivets and
access panels all over the place. There is a good level of detail molded
into the fuselage halves without causing any deformation on the exterior.
I really looked for sink marks and ejector pin marks; the only ones I
could find at all were on the tail struts. The rest of the molding is
exceptionally clean and flash free. Academy has done even more; they
decided to save us the headache of drilling out the barrels of the 37mm
cannon. In the molding process, they must have had an extra pin assembly
which lined up with the gun barrels. After injecting the styrene, that
assembly was extricated from the muzzle brakes, leaving perfect holes. You
can tell that was how it was done as there are matching holes in the sprue
where those pins must have lain. I can't think of another 1/72nd kit that
has attempted such a trick.
I read Chris Bucholtz' article on
building a 1/72nd scale F4-F Wildcat, in which he sprayed black up on the
fuselage half, then interior color down, to create shadows. I tried to
emulate his technique and I have to say that is very effective and simple!
I shot Floquil Grimy Black on all the interiors, then Floquil Interior
Gray Green down at an acute angle. After that had dried some, I drybrushed
a lightened interior gray green on some of the raised surfaces. Lastly, I
picked out details with a fine brush and various colors. I used the kit
decal for the instrument panel, and am very pleased with how it looks. I
used Solvaset to get the decal to lay down in the raised and recessed
detail on the instrument panel, then used thinned Dull-Cote flowed between
the dials to mute the panel and bring the dials out. I'm quite happy with
that. Somewhere in the process, I lost the rear seat, so I had to build
one from brass and wire. I attached Eduard PE pre-colored seat harnesses
and I was ready to zip up the fuselage. This whole process so far only
took a couple hours at most.
I had to drill out a few holes to take
the 37mm cannon, then was ready to assemble the wings and attach them. I
used Tenax7R throughout this process. Everything fit beautifully; I didn't
need to do any filling at all except under the fuselage in one spot. The
wing-fuselage joint is flawless. I then slapped on the horizontal
stabilizers and landing gear; it didn't take too long before I was ready
I tried a new technique; the look
that I was trying to capture would have been a Russian front aircraft that
had been whitewashed, but where most of the white had worn off. I
was trying to achieve something that could be Spring 1943 . I first
sprayed Floquil German Light Blue (65) all over to look for any problems.
Satisfied that the surface was good; I masked the blue, then shot German
Dark Green over the top surfaces. Using Tamiya masking tape and regular
masking tape, I masked a splinter scheme, then shot German Black Green. I
next shot Testor's Gloss-Cote to begin the decal phase. I applied kit
decals throughout (except the swastika which was not provided in any form
in the kit) to depict Rudel's Stuka. After decalling, I sealed them in by
spraying Gloss-Cote again. Now, over the gloss, I shot a thinned dusting
of Floquil Reefer White on all the top surfaces, keeping it very light on
the insignias. In some places, the white hit the blue areas as well, but
that's okay; they would have done that on the real thing as well. That
very afternoon, I used Novus 2 to polish away most of the white. I cleaned
up some areas better than others, trying for a random appearance. After
that had dried a day or two, I shot Testor's Dull-Cote to seal the whole
thing in. I now had achieved the look I was trying to get.
I like this kit a lot and had a
great time building it. It is my understanding that Hobbycraft was
planning on doing many variants of the Ju87 all the way back to the Ju87A.
I will happily buy them as they become available.
Now for the bad news; the dimensions of
the kit are somewhat doubtful. The nose is quite a bit shorter than the
Fujimi nose, and doesn't match drawings either. I think this is a great
opportunity for the aftermarket resin people to jump in and deliver a
great product. I'd happily buy them too!
Many thanks for the opportunity to review
this very cool kit.