Nearly every aircraft model kit manufacturer has done a Stuka. Now, 21st Century Toys joins the fray with its Ju 87B/R.
If you have not seen one of these kits before, you'll be surprised - no sprues! All the parts have been cut loose and divided into bags with no identification other than the assembly drawings. But the model's not that hard to figure out. Two sheets of decals provide markings for three aircraft.
Assembly is divided into eight steps. An RLM color list references Model Master and Polly Scale paints, and the instructions (some in text) are complete and error-free.
Step 1 covers the 13-part cockpit, in which the seat can be adjusted fore and aft. My kit was missing the control column; I replaced it with florist's wire and a couple of shaped pieces of sprue.
Four screws join the upper and lower wing surfaces. I closed gaps with glue and bar clamps. One wing had flash on the upper surface leading edge that I sanded to fit. On the same wing, the lower trailing edge seemed to fall short. The flaps were warped, and fit was sloppy. The vinyl screw covers were too small for the openings.
For a B variant, install the bombs; for the R, install fuel tanks. However, hold off attaching the tanks, bombs, or dive brakes until after applying the underwing decals.
The landing gear presents a choice of what to install in the siren location. I selected the siren fairing (no propeller) as shown in the side profiles, but without references for this particular aircraft I was guessing.
The engine propeller blades swing freely on a knurled metal pin. I used a hammer to drive the pin to its stop, but the prop remained sloppy. I was able to shim the head of the pin with styrene to tighten it up. The spinner is too small and fits poorly.
I postponed the canopy, tail wheel, and trapeze bomb until other assemblies were complete. Don't forget to install the cooling grille in the nose before joining the fuselage halves. To install the trapeze, you can twist the forward ends of the rack with a tweezers so the locating pins will pass the slots in the fuselage without damage.
The fuselage halves are held together with several locating pins and three screws. Once again, the screw covers were poorly molded and ill-fitting; I made new covers from card stock.
The deep panel lines were easy to mask and paint. I gave the frames one coat of RLM 02 gray followed by another coat of RLM 70 black green so the interior color shows inside the canopy. The radio mast antenna is incorrect for B/R model Stukas; I used it anyway.
The pitot tube's angle of attack can be adjusted up or down to align it with the wing. I made antenna wire from stretched clear sprue, using white paint for insulators.
I painted with out-of-production Floquil Military RLM 65, 70, 71, and 79. The decals glided onto a coat of Testors clear gloss and responded nicely to repeated coats of Solvaset. The final finish is Aeromaster clear flat.
Using a yardstick to measure - it's the only tool I have that's big enough - I found the dimensions of 21st Century's Stuka remarkably accurate.
I spent around 17 hours on this project, less than usual on a plane of this size. Most of the time was spent masking the four-color scheme.
The manufacturers indicate that this model is for beginners with a kit or two of experience. I concur: It's a basic model that reminded me of the old Matchbox kits. Making it a contest winner would take an awful lot of work - but if all you want is a big Stuka to grace your display shelf, it's a perfect choice.
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