Review: 1/48 scale ICM 48232 Junkers Ju-88 A-5 kit review – Part 2 of 2
This is the follow up to the first article I posted on the newer ICM release of the Junkers Ju-88 A-5.
The first part of this kit review is covered here.
I had to break this review up into two separate parts, due to the high number of photos I took. There are 80 photos in all...
To begin with, these are the books I used for references during this review.
Warplanes of the Luftwaffe, edited by David Donald,
Warplanes of the Third Reich, by William Green,
and the Squadron Signal "Junkers Ju-88 In Action" book by Brian Filley.
Lets start this out by looking at the clear parts.
They are nicely molded, thin and crisp. They also look to be very transparent. As in the first article, I have included a 12 inch ruler to use as a guide to indicate the size of the parts.
This next photo can explain some of the differences far better than I can by writing a description. This picture came from the "In Action" book, which is an excellent resource on the early variants.
As mentioned in the first article, the Ju-88 was a work in progress during the early variants. Because of this, and field modifications, along with factory rebuilds, The Ju-88 A5 could have had a number of possibilities present on the "plexi" glass components.
Here are two options for the rear gunner. This is a close up photo of the kit instructions.
followed by the associated kit parts.
The glass nose "Bug Eye" as it is often referred to, is a single part. However three different versions are included as options.
This picture below, shows the different types of nose and the various MG's (and cannon) that are (or are not) used, depicting the part used. Here again it would pay to check your references...
and the associated kit parts.
This next photo is a full page from the kit instructions. It shows the various MG's that were mounted in the cockpit.
There is also an option for a cannon, which was occasionally fitted in the 88.
The kit parts for these MG's and cannons are represented very well. This is a close up of the MG's.
The "snail drum" magazines look great too.
There are many of the magazines provided, since they were often stored throughout the cockpit in various locations.
Some were located here, next to the radio set, where they could be easily accessed by the crew.
Here's a close up of the radio ...
The instructions have you install the pilot's windscreen after the nose glass is installed.
The parts is molded well. However it looks like the part may have sprung open in my sample. These kit parts look really nice. The only thing that bothers me is having to glue along a panel line where a slight slip during gluing the parts together, could be a disaster. I would have rather seen these parts molded as a complete unit and included as an additional part, just in case.
There is another similar glue line on the rear gunners position, if you decide to use the later armored glass for your build. The earlier glass that does not have the small circular windows is molded as a single part, where the later armored glass that has the round circular windows is molded in two halves.
This rear gunner's canopy assembly sequence can be seen better by looking at the kit instructions as shown here. This is actually the last construction step listed on the instructions.
The main landing gear are vey nicely molded. The main gear legs look to be very sturdy.
The details look crisp and no flash is present anywhere and any of the parts in this model.
The main wheels are also very nice... They are two parts, molded as halves.
The tail wheel has some nice details molded into it.
There are several other small landing gear parts, as seen in this picture below.
The instructions have you install the main gear before installing the engine nacelles.
Here's a close up of the nacelles. Notice the engine access panel locations, and how they can be posed in the open position if desired. This will allow you to display the Jumo engines easily without modifications. Here you can also see the large square locating pins that will ensure a robust positive attachment point under the wings.
The larger bombs were carried under the wing on the Ju-88, since to my knowledge, there wasn't enough room for large ordnance in the internal bomb bay on the A-5.
Here is a close up of one of the bombs.
along with the associated page covering this from the instructions.
This page also covers installing the landing gear doors, which have some very nice details molded into them as well.
This is how the inside of the main gear doors look.
The flaps look like they can be posed. There are some nice surface details molded in to them. Here in this photo, you can also see one of the metal covered ailerons. This was a change form the earlier A-1, which had a shorter wing, and fabric covered ailerons.
In the first installment, I mentioned the dive brakes. Here's a close up of one of them.
The very first part of the building starts with the cockpit.
Various bits are glued to the sidewalls of the fuselage. There are several small round marks present on the inside of the fuselage halves. They appear to be raised, and may not even be visible once everything else has been installed. These raised marks could quite possibly be a locating pin for another part. I will now know for sure until I start construction.
Please take a look at this picture and decide for yourself.
Now that we are talking about the cockpit, this is another source of online debate . Some have stated the gunner's seat should be mounted on a raised platform. Others have said the floor needs to be slightly trimmed and modified, and that it is hardly visible once the model is finished.
Personally I didn't know what the deal was. That was until my friend Pedro L. Rocha asked me to post a photo of the cockpit floor, so he could compare it to a Dragon kit he built and had used a Verlinden resin replacement part.
That's when the light bulb went off... Hey I have several Pro Modeler A4 kits in my stash...
So I pulled one down and inside there was also a replacement resin cockpit by CMK inside the box ! I had completely forgotten about purchasing that, so it was a nice find.
I photographed the parts like he requested, and the problem areas are visible.
The cockpit floor (part # C10) is shown in this instruction booklet photo. This is most likely the part causing the online stir...
Here is the kit supplied cockpit floor. It is pretty much flat, with a minor change in height where the radio operator seat will be installed.
Below is a photo that shows the Revell / Pro Modeler Ju-88 A4 cockpit floor, molded in light gray and still connected to the parts tree. I am pointing at the elevated radio operator's seat location, with a red tipped wooden tooth pick. Look at the height difference.
Then sitting just behind it, is a yellowish colored resin cockpit floor made by CMK. This is supposed to be an "Improved" replacement part for the RM / PM kit. This part is still attached to the resin pouring block. The details showing the variations with the floor elevations are highly visible.
Please keep in mind that these parts are what another kit manufacturer has molded, and the assembly process is a little different from what ICM uses. These parts are also for an A-4 version, which Pedro advised is the same and an earlier A-5 variant.
The gold standard would be to locate an actual photo of a real Ju-88 cockpit floor ... The search is on.
Meanwhile, the seats are constructed from several parts. Here is the assembly sequence:
The seats themselves have a single small ejector pin mark located in the center of the seat bottom. It looks to be very shallow, but it is there.
This next picture shows how the pilots controls are installed...
followed by the seats...
The instrument panel is well presented. It has raised details, and should look nice once the decals are applied for the instruments. Located in the top of the photo is the pilots "armored" seat. This is something that was added later in production. The early A-5's didn't have an armored seat like this. But they could have been added at a later time, such as a field modification, or a factory rebuild.
The cockpit assembly is built on the lower wing center section. Once everything is in place, this lower wing part is then attached to the fuselage. This is some clever engineering. This will ensure the proper dihedral, and should eliminate any possible gaps along the engine nacelles and fuselage sides. The outer wing seam will be hidden under the engine nacelle. This seam I'm talking about is located where the lower outer wing panel is joined on.
I mentioned earlier that the flaps were position able. All of the control surfaces are. This is a nice touch. This next photo shows the assembly of the tail feathers...
Here's a close up of a control surface. I'm pretty sure it's one of the elevators. Notice how the panel lines are.
Speaking of panel lines, check these out... They are nicely rendered. This next one is the underside of the wing.
Followed by the top side of the wing...
And the side of the fuselage where the upper wing panel is joined. Notice the reinforcement strips along the wing seam. This should help to ensure a good strong glue joint.
These last two pictures show how the wing panels and control surfaces are built and installed on the plane.
Well, there you have it. I presented it all, sort of like one of my favorite Clint Eastwood movies, "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly".
But in this kit, there is hardly anything that can be called "Bad" or "Ugly".
You can look at the photos I have provided, along with the reference materials, and make an educated decision for yourself. I reported an honest unbiased review of this kit, as I always try to do.
I am not affiliated with any model company, and all of the kits from my reviews have been purchased with my money... (except one, the BP Defiant which I won as the random award here on Imodeler).
Is it the "perfect kit" ? Nope... But I'll answer this question with another one...
Will there ever be a "perfect kit" ? I hardly doubt it. You can't please all of the people all of the time.
ICM has come along in leaps and bounds, and will be giving some Asian model companies a run for their money... This is a nice kit. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one... or two.
They have given us something that we should be thankful for... Another WW2 German twin engine bomber in 1/48 scale ! We do indeed live in the Golden Age of modelling.
In closing, I wish to thank my friends who assisted me with this review. Without their help, this article wouldn't exist. Seriously, thanks guys !
They are Robert Paschall, a fellow Imodeler member and friend, who provided the missing center pages of the instructions.
Tom Fox, the customer service manager from Squadron Mail Order, who tirelessly searched for the missing pages, and came through with a second set for me...
and Pedro L. Rocha, another fellow Imodeler member, Ju-88 connoisseur, (and new friend of mine), for asking the questions he did after I posted this article in it's original form.
This kit is "Highly Recommended" by me...even with the few things I pointed out during the two reviews. I'm sure that someone with a little effort, could fix these small errors easily.
Thanks for reading this.
and as usual, "Comments are Encouraged".
- “Warplanes of the Luftwaffe”, Edited by David Donald.
- “Warplanes of the Third Reich”, by William Green.
- Squadron Signal “JU-88 In Action Part 1” Series by Brian Filley.