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Airfix Junkers Ju 87B

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/48 scale plastic model aircraft kit
One of the most famous and easily recognizable aircraft of World War II, the Stuka needs no introduction. The Luftwaffe dive-bomber has a long history with Airfix, which released its first 1/72 scale Ju 87 in 1957. This new-tool kit replaces a 1/48 scale offering first released in 1981.

It has all the features that make Airfix’s new kits so great ­ good fits, crisp details, and interesting building options, while keeping the parts count at a relatively low 158. All of that makes Airfix’s Stuka ideal for a quick build or a novice modeler.

As with most aircraft, construction begins in the cockpit. But there’s a twist: The entire assembly, including floor, seats, controls, bulkheads and walls, goes into the sturdy wing spar and onto the center lower wing. Then, the assembled fuselage slides over it.

The seats lack belts, and no crew is included, so the omission is obvious under the big canopy. I printed belts on paper, cut them out, and glued them to the seats. The aftermarket will undoubtedly produce suitable plastic or photo-etched belts soon.

The rest of the airframe went together with little effort. The upper portion of each  wing is a single piece, and they fit perfectly — joins just seemed to disappear with minimal cleanup. I used no filler on the model.

The elevators can be posed up, down, or neutral, with optional tips.

The nose came next, and with it the option to display a pretty complete Jumo 211d V12 engine, including radiator, plumbing, and the mounts on the firewall. Or you can leave it out and build the cowl buttoned up. The instructions don’t give a third option with one or more panels removed for maintenance, but it may be possible with modifications.

The canopy gave me a little trouble. For some reason, the clear-parts glue I usually use to attach canopies would not hold the kit parts. Instead, I used Tamiya Extra Thin Cement, which adhered perfectly but also crazed the clear plastic in a couple of spots.

I applied decals for a Luftwaffe bomber in Spring 1940; they laid down perfectly, but a few of them appear to be too big. No swastikas are provided.

I spent about 30 hours on Airfix’s Stuka, much of it painting. If you are looking for a quick, straightforward build with few speed bumps, this is the kit for you. It’s a great choice for a less-experienced modeler.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2017 issue.
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