by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Introduction: Cyber-Hobby Orange Box Super Value Pack
Cyber-Hobby is a division of Dragon and markets a series of value-packs including the Orange Box class: Orange Box - value-priced, entry level kit with previous tooling and upgraded with combination of bonus parts such as figures, new OVM, or new tracks.
This review of the Cyber-Hobby Orange Box Super Value Pack features a 1/48 Junkers 88A-4 and a groundcrew. The built model is the Pro Modeler release which I build a few years ago.
Junkers Ju 88 continued a series of successful and innovative designs dating back to the Junkers J.I all-metal monoplane World War One. An advanced medium bomber design of the “Schnellbomber” concept, i.e., a high-speed bomber able to avoid interception by being faster than defending fighters, the agile Ju 88 could carry a heavy bomb load and could even deliver divebombing attacks! A sound and stable design, nicknamed Mädchen aller Arbeit (Maid of all work), the Ju 88 was perhaps the most versatile design of the Second World War. Successive redesigns improved the breed and produced some with impressive performance. If the Ju 88 had a flaw, it was defensive armament. Though boasting performance that made it a difficult target for early fighters, Ju 88 was never quite able to escape all interception, and lacked a credible counterpunch.
Ju 88s fought everywhere that the Luftwaffe darkened the skies. It even fought in the dark sky over the Fatherland against British bombers. Nachtjäger (night fighter) Ju 88s were the most formidable Nachtjäger fielded by the Luftwaffe, eclipsed only by the purpose-built HE 219 Uhu.
Ju 88 was developed into improved models: Ju 188, Ju 288, and Ju 388. Their weak defensive armaments never effectively defended them from interceptors. Finally in the Götterdämmerung of the Third Reich some of the 18,000 Ju 88s built were impressed as flying bombs in the Mistel program.
In the 1970’s AMT released a 1/48 Ju 88; it had issues. In the 1990’s Hobbycraft released some 1/48 Ju 88s; they were praised by some model magazines as great models, perhaps because the alternative was the AMT kit. Today they are considered dreadful. Then quarterscale Ju 88s were released by Dragon and also distributed by Monogram Pro Modeler. The base kit is engineered in a modular concept to allow different versions to be released. Dragon released four 1/48 Ju 88s that I know of: Ju 88P-1 with a 75mm PaK 40 anti-tank cannon (Kit Number 5543), Ju 88A-6 Luftwaffe Balloon Cutting Aircraft (Kit #5513), the Ju 88G-6 Nachtjäger, and the Ju 88C-6 Zerstorer; also released was a 1/48 Ju 188.
I built the Pro Modeler Ju 88A-4 and am happy with the model. It is the basis for this review as this model is the same kit.
Dragon / Cyber-hobby Ju 88A-4
Opening the sturdy, medium weight, top-bottom style box, your eyes feast upon a mountain of sprues of light gray or clear parts, 23 to be exact! Most are sealed in individual bags. These hold more than 220 parts, an instruction sheet, and a sealed sheet of decals.
The parts are crisply molded. The surface is smooth and detailed with recessed panel lines, plus a few raised details where authentic. However, these sprues are over 10 years old and there is a lot of light flash. Many ejector marks mar visible parts. There are even a few slight sinkholes on visible pieces. Most parts have noticeable seam lines to shave off.
There are no photo-etch parts. The attachment points of the parts to the sprues are robust. Use a sharp blade or sprue cutters to carefully remove pieces. There are many pieces which you will not need due to Dragon engineering the model for several variants: engine cowlings, two canopy styles, defensive weapons, instrument panels, radar operator’s equipment, and two types of pilot seats to be specific.
The modular model is designed with a common rear fuselage from the cockpit aft, and common inboard wings. Different variants will have a unique nose and front fuselage for that version's cockpit, plus the outer wings, engine nacelles for the inline Jumos or BMW powerplants (no engines included), and canopy. The vertical stabilizer is a separate assembly. Ailerons are separate while the elevators and rudder are molded to their airfoil. The propellers are individual, too.
Most of the fit is good. However, I found the mating of the front cockpit fuselage and rear fuselage required filling and sanding. The outer wing sections and separate wingtips also require some filling, and realigning of the engraved panel lines. While the wing-to-fuselage joints were tight on the top, the underside required some filling and smoothing of gaps. This was tricky due to the many extended fairings and actuators along the area. Additionally, the lower fuselage at that area has a variant-specific plug to mate together with the wing-fuselage assembly. Not all the panel lines align well.
Visible interior areas feature molded basic internal structure; the cockpit is enhanced by separate side details, the detail of these parts are very good. Detail in the nose and wheel wells remains fairly plain.
The cockpit consists of a floor, a rear bulkhead featuring the Luftwaffe style bank of radios, side consoles and oxygen piping, separate levers for the throttle and propeller and mixture controls, a control column and yoke, seats for the aircrew, defensive MG 17 machine guns, the instrument panel, separate dive-bombing sight (with clear reflector lens), rudder pedals and pistons, and foot trays. The machine gun defending the front of the aircraft features a mounting pinion, a length of ammunition belt, and a chute for the spent shell casings. The instrument panel features raised bezel and face details, a separate compass, and instrument ‘cans’ on the backside. Not included are spare ammo magazines nor the Wehrmacht gas mask canisters stowed for each crewman, which I have seen in interior photographs. Disappointingly, the seats are thick, they lack any harness detail, and they are marred by hideous ejector marks. This detracts from the otherwise well detailed cockpit--a shame considering the canopy ‘greenhouse’ is clear and allows a great view of the interior. The open access between the cockpit and ventral position is featureless and allows a view into an undetailed gap. There are many aftermarket sets available to rectify this and other issues. The ‘bath tub’ below the nose is a clear styrene assembly of two halves, a nose, and a hinged rear entry windscreen. A machine gun fits into the rear part and the bombsight into the front. There is no other internal detail other than an optional boarding ladder. The glazing is smooth and the airframe portion has a slight texture that makes it easier for you to paint.
The interior of the canopy framing held sunscreens and other paraphernalia, none of which is provided in the kit. The exterior framing varies in definition. Some sections are faint and with the complexity of the compound curves of the glazing and framing makes painting the canopy challenging indeed! Fortunately, the five-piece greenhouse is assembled with a left and right half, a unique rotating gun mount in each half, and a front windscreen section. These fit together surprisingly well. While there is some distortion around the curved glazing most of the greenhouse is clear and affords a good view into the spacious crew compartment. The nose glazing is a single part. Having flat panes and straight framing, it was no problem to paint, and it fit snugly to the fuselage. Further clear pieces are a large cover over an omnidirectional antenna mounted in the top of the rear fuselage, navigation lights, and a lens for each of the peculiar engine instrument clusters mounted in the cowlings.
This Ju 88 carried its warload on four external pylons. These are nicely detailed including anti-sway braces. The nicely detailed quartet of SC500 bombs are multi-piece assemblies, including separate straps between the fins.
The aileron horns and dive brakes are separate. The antennas are thin.
For ground display your Ju 88 sets upon a pair of hefty landing gear. These are detailed single struts built with several parts apiece. The torque links are separate. Use care aligning all of these parts or your Junkers may turn out pigeon-toed! There is virtually no detail inside the gear well, though these are not very visible. The gear door interior detail is soft, yet the doors feature delicate actuator arms. The big main tires are reasonably detailed.
Servicing your bomber are a pair of "Blackbirds," as Luftwaffe ground crewmen were known due to their black uniforms. These figures come with bombs and bomb carts. They are reasonably well-sculpted figures but both are in the same pose. Several arms allow you to vary their appearance. Each sprue has two heads and the torso of an aircrewman, though there is no lower body. The parts have noticeable seam lines.
Decals, Instructions, Painting
This Ju 88A-4 has three decal choices:
1. B3 LH, 1./KG 54, North Africa, 1941-42
2. V4 FH, 1./KG 1, Russia, 1943.
3. 4D DS, 8./KG 30, Sicily, 1942. This unit participated in the epic attacks on Malta.
KG 54's "Mädchen" wears a simple RLM 79 over RLM 78 camouflage, with white theater markings. The Junkers from Sicily is in the temperate RLM 70/71/65 scheme, with both yellow and white theater markings. Ju 88A-4 V4 FH is also in RLM 70/71/65 but with a winter whitewash. With the yellow theater markings on the fuselage and wingtips it makes a striking model.
Cartograf printed the decals, kindly including a partial Balkencruz for the dive brakes. Surprisingly, no stenciling, servicing markings, nor unit badges are provided; Pro Modeler's decal sheet was filled with them. No surprise, swastikas are not included. The decals are printed sharp, opaque, thin, and in registration.
The instruction sheet s a multi-fold. It’s printed mainly in line art and has blue and gray fill to emphasize certain assemblies. The sequence of assembly is very to follow.
Painting guidance is basic. The only paints referenced are Gunze Aqueous and GSI Mr. Hobby.
Dragon’s Cyber-Hobby Value Pack release of their Ju 88A-4 offers this fine model with the bonus of a couple of ground crewmen. You can enjoy building this model straight from the box, or superdetailing like crazy! The decals are high-quality though basic. The interior detail of the cockpit is very good, while the rest of the visible interior is average. The recessed exterior detail is great! The landing gear looks good. Some parts are a bit thick while others are more to scale. And you will have many useful spare parts left over.
Average modelers should be able to contend with the modular construction. Fit is good but filler is needed. It needs work to remove seam lines and flash, and fill ejector holes and some sinkholes. While the clear parts are fairly free of distortion they are challenging to paint. Cockpit detail is good but many mold marks detract from the end result.
All in all Dragon makes the best 1:48 Ju 88 you will find. Releasing this value pack at such a good price makes it very attractive. Definitely recommended.
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