Italeri 1/48 scale Arado Ar 196A
Like the American OS2U Kingfisher, Germany’s Arado Ar 196 was a shipborne, versatile World War II floatplane. It was well-known for serving on Kriegsmarine warships like the Bismarck and Graf Spee. Some were also deployed from coastal bases.
Good fit; variety of markings; nice accessory beaching dolly display
Injection-molded, 107 parts, decals
Italeri’s brand-new Ar 196 finally gives us a mainstream-manufacturer 1/48 scale kit of this interesting aircraft (previously only available as short-run kits). The kit is neatly molded in gray plastic with no flash or ejector-pin marks. Options are limited to underwing racks, bombs, and a nifty beaching dolly.
Reviewing the instructions, I could see this would be a easy build. Construction starts with the cockpit module. This contains adequate detail for the cockpit and the observer/gunner’s station. The assembled module fit perfectly into the fuselage.
Wing-surface detail is a bit heavy, especially over the wing cannons, but it looked better after a coat of paint. The wings went together without a problem.
With floatplanes, the usual issue is attaching the floats and getting the supporting struts aligned. Italeri has made this easy by molding the main front and rear supports in one piece. This solves the alignment problem and proves to be very sturdy.
The kit includes a nice representation of the BMW engine, and with a little work part of the cowling can be posed open to show the engine detail.
The multipart floats are a bit fiddly to assemble, and I did not find that the nose caps fit well.
The canopy comes in three sections and is nice and clear.
I painted my Arado with a combination of Polly Scale and Tamiya paint; RLM 72 and 73 came from the Polly Scale range of Luftwaffe maritime colors.
Decals provide for four different aircraft with some interesting variations. One scheme features Japanese markings for a German commerce raider used in the Pacific; another is for a Vichy French auxiliary cruiser. The decals applied very well.
My primary reference was Arado Ar 196: Germany’s Multi-Purpose Seaplane, by Hans-Peter Dabrowski and Volker Koos (Schiffer, ISBN 978-0-88740-481-8). The completed model compares well to the photos and the dimensions.
I finished my Ar 196 in a quick 17 hours and found it to be a nice build and a fun project. The kit can be easily handled by the novice builder. If you’re into German aircraft, you will want to add this famous floatplane to your collection.