by: Darren Baker [ ]
In the early 1930's Germany was looking for a twin engine bomber to outstrip the fighters in terms of speed. One of the aircraft designs resulting from this search was the Ju 88 designed and built by Junkers Flugzeug and Motorenwerke AG company.
In the spring of 1941 the Ju 88A-4 variant was produced with improved armament and powered by two liquid cooled Jumo 211J engines delivering better performance. In 1943 a night fighter variant of the Ju 88A-4 was produced with the title of Ju 88C-6b. this version was equipped with an MG FF cannon and 3 MG 17 machine guns in the nose, 2 MG FF cannons in the ventral gondola plus a further 2 MG FF cannons fitted in the fuselage at a fixed angle forward and upward; These last two were not fitted to all aircraft. As a night fighter variant of the Ju 88 the aircraft was fitted with either the FuG 202 or FuG 220 Radar. These aircraft saw service on both the Western and Eastern Fronts between 1943 and 1945.
ICM has continued to release a great selection of 1/48th scale aircraft and this time it is the Ju 88C-6b that is in their sites.
This offering from ICM is packed in the now usual flip top cardboard box and a separate card lid, a great combination for protecting the contents. The only thing I would now change is the packing of the entire contents in a single plastic bag albeit the clear sprue being in its own bag within the main bag.
The moulding quality is good with no major flows observed by me. There are a few flow marks observable on the larger moulded elements, but my checks such as running my nail over them and looking at them under magnification would all indicate that this has not caused any issues. The obvious problem with all kits is the ever present ejector pin marks, these as you would expect have been hidden in areas not seen on the finished model, but a few will need to be addressed via filling and sanding. I will add here that with this being one of a number of Ju 88ís being released by ICM there are a number of parts not used with this model and so there are some significant spares. One thing I have found is that with this model example the engine nacelles are all distorted due to I believe the packing in a single bag place undue pressure on the parts.
The cockpit of the aircraft is the same as in previous releases, and I have to say I am rather pleased with what I see offered. The control panels are nicely replicated and would appear to be basically correct. The pilotís instrument panel has been provided with decals by ICM, but if these do not please you I am sure Eduard or someone else will release an internal set for the model. A lot of attention has been lavished on the seats for the cockpit area, especially the support structures. The pilotís seat has been moulded in two halves and this means there is a joint that needs to be hidden or filled; an aspect I would rather not be the case. The only real downside here that I can see is that no effort has been made to represent the crewís harnesses; this is something I have become more picky about as I have progressed. Other than this I am very happy with this area of the model. Further on this aspect is that Eduard and maybe others have released generic harness sets that would be suitable for this model.
The rear wheel has been moulded as a single piece, it is well detailed from what I can ascertain, but it is something I do not like to see from a painting aspect. The front wheel units cheer me up quite a bit as I really like the detail moulded in this area of the model. The main struts look very good detail wise and the minor seams lines that need to be dealt with should be easy due to the breakdown of parts. The torsion links are supplied separately and so aid the clean up process. Just about everything other than the strut is supplied separately resulting in a very nice looking main undercarriage assembly. I especially like that these are assembled off of the model and added after assembly into what I believe will be a rigid structure. The tyres are well detailed, but they are not weighted which lets them down; I am sure that resin weighted wheels are or will be available soon for this model. The wheel bay doors have not been forgotten and are again very well detailed inside and out. The only thing the modeller really needs to add are the brake lines which are not moulded, but that is not exactly unusual.
The fuselage of the model has been tackled very well in order to make it reasonably easy for ICM to provide various versions of the Ju 88, but this has not been done in such a way as to make life difficult for the modeller. The radio direction finder has present and well detailed. The panel lines are very nicely recessed and fine, a check of drawings indicates that most of the panel lines appear to be present and correct. The large mouldings have an almost very lightly textured finish that I find appealing, but the parts are smooth; it is a hard sensation to explain. While covering the fuselage it is I believe a good time to look at the clear parts for the model. The clarity of the clear parts is very good and it would be worth looking for paint masks for this one, there are so many framed panels that you will need a very steady hand to avoid marring the finish. The thickness of the clear parts is fair, but there is a small amount of magnification that takes place. The defensive machine guns are reasonable detail wise and will look the part, but I would consider the metal barrel option as I think this model is worth the expense; at the very least take the time to drill out a short portion of the muzzles. An aspect that I like about how this model has been tackled from an assembly aspect is the lower portion of the fuselage under the wings; ICM has added a length of the wings that will make adding the rest of the wing portions so much easier for the modeller.
The vertical tail and rudder parts have the cut out in the top of the tail present, I do believe this is correct in most cases except for some very early Ju 88A-4ís. Panel lines throughout the flight surfaces are well represented and should look good when picked out. The rest of the flight surfaces are very well done and have the finish I spoke of earlier present. All of the flight control surfaces are supplied separately, and while not workable they do allow the modeller to decide the position they are set in.
Looking at the nacelles where there is quite a bit of distortion present on these parts, most likely due to the way they were packed, but due to the way everything goes together this issue should easily correct itself if the engine side panels are secured in place. There are two engines supplied by ICM and they do look to be very well detailed, but it is my understanding that there was a different engine in the A-4 as opposed to the A-5 and so one of the two models must be wrong as the engines are the same in all of the models; I suppose it would take someone with a very high degree of knowledge to pick out which engine it is exactly that is right or wrong. Regardless I am very pleased to see these in this model. Being engines it would pay to add some wiring to the area if you are going to display it. The cones and radiators are provided in this offering of the model. The propeller blades look very accurate to me and should I think keep everyone happy. The radiator detail looks a little on the weak side to me, but you canít have everything. The odd part here is that in order to display any of the engine detail surgery will be needed on the nacelles as they have not been designed for display of the area with the exception of the side panels.
ICM has supplied both the FuG 202 and FuG 220 Radar antenna which is a nice option; if you are not happy with the antenna offered then I believe Master offer brass options for you.
ICM has provided four finishing options for this model with two options for both sets of radar. The decals themselves are glossy with good colour register and are also very thin; running a finger over the decal sheet I cannot detect the edges of the decals with my fingers. The finishing options are:
Ju 88C-6B, Pilot Lt Wilhelm Beier, 10/NJG 1, October 1942
Ju 88C-6B, Pilot Maj Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, Stab IV/NJG 5, Orel Russia, Spring 1943
Junkers 88C-6b, 3/NJG 4, Mainz, March 1944
Junkers 88C-6b, 6/NJG 2, Kassel, Spring 1944
If you are a fan of German aircraft and you want a model that can be built from the box with a small amount of added detail by the modeller that results in a nice offering; then this model is well worth you looking into. The cockpit area is nicely busy that a small amount of work will lift to a high standard. Construction all appears straight forward and been tackled in a very promising way. The detail of the parts is very nice for the most part and of course there are aftermarket options for those who want to take it further. the downsides for me are the lack of Swastikas on the tail that I feel could be tackled in a sensitive way for those that may be offended. The distortion of the engine nacelles is a disappointment to me.