While the box still calls it a "Stuka", by 1944 the Ju 87's daylight dive-bombing days in the European theatre were largely over in the face of near-total Allied air superiority. Instead, it found a new role flying hazardous night time harassment sorties behind enemy lines, running the twin gauntlet of AA fire and nightfighters. Operating at low altitude at night is dangerous enough at the best of times, and losses were frequent, but the old soldier's low speed (that made it so vulnerable in daylight) proved ideal in a task for which it was never designed. So it was that the Ju 87 fought on in Italy to the bitter end, battered and war-weary examples being found abandoned in Alpine meadows as the Third Reich finally collapsed.
Hasegawa's Ju 87 arrives in a very attractive conventional box, with the sprues and accessories in separate bags. The kit comprises:
102 x grey styrene parts (19 of which are not needed)
8 x clear styrene parts (1 not required)
2 x white metal parts
A set of poly-caps
Decals for 2 x colour schemes
The basic kit has been available in one form or another for some twenty years years. Despite being in almost constant production throughout that time, the moulds still look to be in very good condition and, while I found a couple of tiny "divits" and a little flash is beginning to creep in here and there, there are no signs of sink marks in the sample kit. The main parts have a highly polished finish, which is something of a mixed blessing because it highlights even the smallest scuff mark, but it looks like no more than a couple of minutes' work to smooth everything.
In fact, if I have one criticism of the kit's finish, it's that it's too
neat and smooth, as the delicate engraved panel lines and fasteners don't really capture the rugged appearance of the full-sized airframe. This really is one occasion where it will pay dividends to add some riveting and applique panels.
For a comprehensive Walkaround, see Aeroscale's photos of the RAF Museum's Ju 87 G-2
Hasegawa were one of the first manufacturers to make extensive use of modular design and drop-in mould sections to create multiple versions from a core set of parts. So, like the full-sized aircraft, the kit shares the same basic airframe with the Ju 87B, with a new nose, undercarriage and canopy section for the 'D and 'G. The fuselage halves are a very neat fit, and the precise joint at the wing roots puts many more modern kits to shame - if you're careful, you shouldn't need filler here. The wingtips are clearly formed with a separate mould and the alignment isn't perfect (something Hasegawa have often been criticised for), but it's no big deal in my opinion and it will be very simple to remove the slight ridge. The distinctive ailerons and flaps are moulded integrally with the wings, and although this is bemoaned by purists, there's no doubt that average modellers will welcome the greater simplicity it offers. A nice point is that the trailing edges of the wings and tail are all nice and sharp.
A few details
The 16 part cockpit features crisply moulded sidewalls and, although simple, isn't at all bad for a kit of this vintage. No seat harnesses are provided, and their absence will be very apparent. The cockpit layout is a bit of a compromise, as although the designers added a new pilot's seat and crash bar etc. for the Ju 87D/G, the instrument panel is taken from the earlier 'B and doesn't match my references. In particular, Schiffer's "German Aircraft Cockpits 1911-1970" show a number of additional instruments fitted to aircraft equipped for night missions. Hasegawa provide a decal for the instrument panel in addition to the moulded details. Unfortunately, this is printed in black, which is incorrect (the original panel would have been RLM 66 grey), but the instruments themselves could look effective if punched out and applied individually.
An SC250 bomb is slung under the fuselage on a swing-out crutch, while underwing panniers carry a quartet of SC50s. The latter are quite nicely detailed and their fins are reasonably thin, but watch out for the ejector pin marks positions right where they'll be most visible.
The standard exhausts are replaced by white metal flame dampers, and I must admit I found them rather disappointing because the ones in the sample kit don't have a truly circular cross-section. I'm surprised Hasegawa chose to cast them in metal, as I can't help feeling that resin parts would be crisper and better detailed.
Instructions and decals
The assembly guide is very clear and simple to follow, breaking construction down into 15 easy stages. Additional "info diagrams" highlight where parts need modifying or holes drilled and, overall, the kit should be very straightforward. Gunze Sangyo paint matches are keyed to the details throughout.
Decals are provided for a pair of interesting colour schemes:
1. "White G", 2./NSGr.2, June 1944, Italy, with standard RLM 70/71 upper surfaces and the undersides and national markings over-painted in black.
2. "E8-GK", 2./NSGr.2, June 1944, Italy, with the RLM 70/71 splinter pattern over-painted with a random "mirror wave" of RLM 79.
The decals look to be very good quality, and are printed in perfect register with a silk finish. A nice touch is that the roughly painted-out markings are provided for the first scheme, which will same a lot of messing about. There are a few servicing stencil marks supplied, and (along with the main markings) these should be applied before painting the "mirror wave" if you're going for option two. The raised non-slip ribs for the wing roots are provided as decals, and this really is something of a compromise in my opinion, as they will look too 2-dimensional to be very effective in this scale.
Hasegawa's popular Ju 87 has always been a very good kit, and the night attack option certainly gives a welcome twist over the standard versions, although I think the flame dampers could have been handled better for this Limited Edition boxing. lf you've got the skill and the confidence to tackle the "mirror wave", the result will be a head-turner in any Luftwaffe collection.
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