by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Junkers Ju 88 was built in response to the need for a medium bomber that could outpace the fighter aircraft it was likely to come up against. When it entered service it was a fast medium bomber, but of course fighter aircraft had also become faster. From what I have read about the Ju 88, it saw service with the Luftwaffe throughout the Second World War. Taking part in combat in every theatre of war the German forces were active in, and that is without saying just about every other possible aircraft role and it is these gaps that ICM is targeting now with a Ju 88D-1 German reconnaissance aircraft in 1/48th scale. This is the 6th edition of the Ju 88 from ICM
The model is packaged inside a substantial cardboard tray with a flip top lid, and that has a card lid with all of the artwork and model information. ICM are one of the few companies where I feel I can reasonably post one of their products without further protection. Inside the box is a single re-sealable plastic bag containing the sprues; this is not ideal due to possible damage, but at least the clear sprue is packaged inside another bag before being packed with the rest of the model. My concern with the single bag approach is the risk of parts becoming distorted or twisted which can be a real pain when itís a fuselage that is affected. Some of the sprues where lightly bent in the bag, but fortunately when released went flat again.
I began this review by taking a good look at the sprues and parts that go into making of it. I am sure you will not exactly be surprised when I tell you that all of the sprues from the previous releases are in this release, but there is a new canopy in the mix for good measure and of course decals. Due to this there are a very good number of spares in the box which will likely please the modeller and annoy the wife in equal measure. The mouldings are very good from what I can see having no flash present and ejector pin marks that are hidden away. I can see a number of flow lines and moulding marks present on the parts, but it is my belief that none of these have marred the finish of the model.
The cockpit of the aircraft is the same as in the 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 and I still wish this had been altered. 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 pickier about as I have progressed. Other than this I am very happy with this area of the model.
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 been included as a separate part for this reason. 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 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.
The new aspect with this model is the camera openings in the lower hull which are correct up to a point. These should be flat of the Ju 88D-1 but the ones provided are correct for the Ju 88D-0 and 2. Also not mentioned is that there should be a ring of rivet detail present on the left half of the fuselage at the same location as the rear camera window on the right half of the fuselage. This third window was optional and the circle indicates the plate that could be removed if using the location. My biggest gripe here is that a modeller could mess up the model easily as the holes need to be drilled out; I will give ICM credit for the drawing that is the guide for the holes and remembering to include the needed drill size. If you look at the box artwork you can see the covered third camera opening.
The vertical tail and rudder are supplied as separate parts and offers the choice of the very early tail as seen on some very early Ju 88A-4ís, also provided is the counter weight tail design seen on most Ju 88ís; well done ICM. 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 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, which is an aspect I also approve of.
The nacelles for this release are the later style as used on the later Ju 88A-4ís which were powered by a different engine. On previous kits that used these engine nacelles there was some distortion of the parts, most likely due to the way they were packed, but in this offering everything appears to be good. 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 variant on which the D-1 is based as opposed to the A-5 and so one of the two models must be wrong as the engines are the same in all models released so far; I suppose it would take someone with a very high degree of knowledge to pick out which engine is exactly the right one; regardless I am very pleased to see this in this model. Being engines it would pay to add some wiring to the area if you are going to display it. The propellers, cones and radiators are clearly identified for use with this model. The propeller blades look very accurate to me and should I think keep everyone happy being the wooden paddle style blades. Two small doors have been supplied as separate parts for those modellers who want to show off the engines, but vision is very restricted and so I would undertake some surgery to allow more of the engine to be seen.
Looking at the undercarriage for this model throws up a really nice touch and a not so nice inclusion. 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 to the area of the model. The main struts look very good detail wise and the minor seams lines to deal 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 and also keeps parts liable to get broken out of the way. 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.
ICM has supplied some quite nicely detailed iron bombs for display with this model; they have done a good job of the bomb racks as well, giving the modeller the idea that they were designed rather than an afterthought. I personally would consider adding the bomb racks, but not the bombs themselves as I like the cleaner look of this type of model; that is the beauty of this hobby you can do whatever you wish.
With this model ICM has provided four finishing options, which are as follows;
Ju 88D-1, 5.(F)/122. Russia, Winter 1942
Ju 88D-1, 2.(F)/22. Russia, Winter 1942
Ju 88D-1, 1.(F)/120. Norway, Autumn 1941
Ju 88D-1, Libya, 1942 (Yes an MTO Version)
The decals themselves are excellent print wise having a nice gloss finish to them. Carrier film has been kept to a minimum and so you should not encounter problems that way. The colours are strong and cleanly finished. No swastikas have been included and so will need to be sourced elsewhere depending on the country you are in.
A good look at this model and I know that ICM another offering, this time of the Ju 88D-1, Factor in the selling price and you cannot help but be impressed with this offering. The quality of this model is a fine example of how far Eastern European manufacturers have come in a short time. Yes there are aspects I am not a fan of such as the lack of harness detail and a one piece rear wheel assembly and most importantly the error with the camera lenses, but in most other respects this is a very high quality offering. The low asking price also make it possible to think about adding after market parts for those who may otherwise not be able to justify the cost. I personally am considering harnesses, metal MG barrels and weighted tyres.
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