Eduard 1/144 Junkers Ju-52
Model and Text by Tom Norrbohm
Photos by Steve Jantscher
This kit has been eagerly awaited by many since it was announced some time ago. Having built the Me-109's in the same scale by eduard, I was looking forward to the release of this kit and I must say that it is truly an impressive model.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Wow! There are 3 sprue trees of dark grey plastic and 1 of clear. You get a sheet of Eduard Express Masks for the windows and tires. And.... are you ready for this? 1 sheet of photo-etched parts! Also, 1 decal sheet of markings for 4 aircraft. Plastic parts are free of flash and surface detail of the 'corrugations' is well done. You have the option of building this model with or without snow skis. I chose the wheeled version for this build.
FUSELAGE: In step one, you assemble the interior which includes photo-etched instrument panel, control yokes and throttle/console panel. And you thought 1/72nd photo-etched was small! I am not a PE person. Most of my models are built out of the box. I have used PE in the past, but in this scale it is stretching it a bit. Depending on what you do with your clear parts, you can leave the PE out. We'll touch on this later.
Clear parts are carefully glued to the inside of the fuselage along with the completed interior. Fuselage halves are now glued together. Now we can glue the top portion of the fuselage (part #C1) to the fuselage assembly. I found on my model that the fuselage assembly was a little narrower than the top piece. With some careful clamping and gluing, I glued one side first to the top piece and when that dried, I followed with the other side. You may have to put a spreader inside the fuselage to help get a even match with the two assemblies. This model is designed to go together with virtually no sanding due to the fine surface detail, so care must be taken when gluing parts together. The tail/rudder assembly and canopy are now glued on.
WING ASSEMBLY: After drilling out the appropriate locating holes for the landing gear assembly in the lower wing, the top wing panels are glued on. Now we come to one of the 'bumps in the road'. You will find, that the control surfaces (parts A2 & A4) for the horizontal stabilizers fit just fine. However, the control surfaces for the wings (parts A3 & A6) do not fit at all! The 7 locating arms are too big to fit into the recesses of the control parts. With a little filing and some M.E.K. (which I use for all aspects of my model building) the two parts are securely attached to the wing assembly. Landing gear assembly was put on at this time.
Now we come to what I consider the most glaring fault with this kit. When attaching the finished wing assembly to the fuselage, I found that I had a wing root gap of 1/32 of an inch on both sides. This is major in this scale. My gaps were wide at the front and tapered toward the trailing edge of the wing. How you treat this is up to you. I chose to use thinned white glue, with excess removed with a wet Q-tip. This may take several applications but at least no surface detail will be compromised.
PAINTING: When you are satisfied that all seams are filled and sanded and everything looks right, we can proceed with painting. The engines, engine cowlings, propellers & other small parts, are all painted separately to be applied later when the model is completely painted. We now use the Express Mask supplied with the kit, to mask all the clear parts. I had been warned that the eduard masks were not the best and suffered from lack of tack. I found this to be true in this case. I have used other brands of masks, and the eduard masks are a real pain to use. Besides not having enough adhesive, they are made in a dark green semi transparent material that makes it impossible to see what I'm doing when applying them to the canopy! If they were white, there would be no problem! So now is decision time. Try to use the masks, with the possibility of having to do touch ups, or paint the clear parts black? For me the choice was simple as I have painted clear parts black on my other 1/144th models.
With that decision out of the way, we can prime our model. Afterwards, all the yellow theatre markings were painted and then masked. Undersurface RLM 65 was applied and masked as well. RLM 79 was next applied. Using Tamiya masking tape (great stuff!) I started masking off areas to apply the next color RLM 71. After that dried, followed by more masking, RLM 70 was applied. The corrugations detail does not effect themasking in anyway as my masking job was nearly flawless! One of the rare times that has happened! After applying a flat finish coat and applying any panel lines with a pencil, the model is gloss-coated and ready for decals.
DECALS & FINAL ASSEMBLY: Kit decals were well made, with only a minor amount of off register on the upper wing crosses. Decals settle down well with applications of MicroSol and MicroSet. After an hour or so, I would check the decal, and look for 'silvering' in any of the clear film areas of the decal. After poking or cutting the area, I would reapply some MicroSet. You may want to help the decal along by taking a wet cloth and applying pressure over the decal to help it settle into the corrugations. I only had to do this for the wing crosses.
At this stage, I got a brainstorm. By using the Express Mask as a stencil, I applied it to some clear decal stock and airbrushed it with flat black paint followed by some Testor's sealer (see photo). This would allow me to represent all the clear areas on the model with decals. This would be a simple thing to do and would certainly be much neater than painting. All window decals were applied as above with the kit decals. As you can see, the end result looks quite well.
All pre-painted assemblies are now installed (engines, cowlings, etc.) and the model is given a coat of Testor's Dullcoat. The only clear part attached to the model is done so at this time, that being the top gunners clear windshield.
CONCLUSIONS: The end result of this build is an impressive little model. Surface detail is excellent. I question the need for some photo-etch in this scale. The DF loop and wing pitot tube is okay. The guns and ammo drums (yes, ammo drums!) along with other details are just to small for my liking. Some of you may not have problems with this and that is great. Even if I had left the canopy clear, would you be able to see much in the cockpit anyway? Other than the fit problems of the fuselage and the wing root gap, these problems are easily solved and the end result is a really excellent model. I highly recommend this model.
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