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ICM Junkers Ju 88A-5

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT | REVIEW | MILITARY
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ICM’s new-tool Ju 88A-5 is a really nice model. For starters, I liked the sturdy cardboard kit box with attached lid, and its separate box top with the art and labeling.

The kit comprises six sprues of light gray plastic and one clear sprue. All surface detail is engraved, consistent, and very fine — quality that is as good as it gets for an injection-molded kit. There was no flash on any of the parts. The canopies were crystal-clear with raised framing, a nice touch that makes masking a little easier.

Cockpit detail was also well done, with pilot and radio-operator seats featuring multiple parts, including seat-adjustment levers. The instrument panel had raised detail for the bezels, with instrument faces supplied as decals.

The horizontal stabilizers and rudder are posable but, alas, not the ailerons — even though they and the flaps were molded separately.

The kit also includes two complete Jumo engines and the option of leaving cowl panels off to display them.

The 24-page instruction book has color illustrations on the front and back pages. I found the exploded-view assembly steps easy to follow, and I appreciated seeing the paint and decal callouts printed in red. Paint-color callouts were for Testors Model Master colors only, but ICM includes color descriptions to make it easy to pick other brands. There are decals for four versions. No swastikas are provided so I used some from my spares; the model didn’t look right without them.

Construction was straightforward, beginning with the cockpit. My only complaint was with the pilot’s seat being molded in halves it was difficult to clean up the seam running up the center of the “bucket.” No seat belts were provided. With the greenhouse canopy, adding belts would make the interior pop.

The rest of the kit fit together with few problems. The seams only needed a little sanding to make them disappear. I did notice a couple of fine sink marks just behind the canopy that needed a little attention.

With the fuselage and wing assembled, I moved to the engines. I was a little worried about how all of the parts would go together but, as it turns out, needlessly — everything fit perfectly. Too bad most of the engine detail cannot be seen, even with the cowl panels off.

Once I had the basic kit together it was time for the tedious masking of the clear parts. I started with Tamiya tape but switched to Bare-Metal Foil for the rest. I was impressed with the fit of all the clear parts.

I used GSI Creos Mr. Color Luftwaffe paints mixed with Mr. Color Leveling Thinner.

After giving the paint a day or so to dry, I put on a gloss coat of Mr. Super Clear; it’s expensive, but it makes for a clear, durable finish, and it dries super fast.

The nicely printed decals have a fine flat finish. They went on with no trouble, though I had to be careful moving them around because they are thin and tear easily.
During decaling I discovered the only flaw in the kit’s instructions.They failed to mention that the dive brakes need to be left off until after the underwing crosses are placed. There was no way to get the decals to settle down over the dive brakes. (ICM thoughtfully included decals to go on top of the speed-brake slats, but I missed that during my build!)

Overall I found ICM’s Ju 88A-5 an enjoyable model to build. With excellent fit, really nice instructions, and great details, I would recommend this kit to modelers intermediate and up. Hopefully, the aftermarket will release some canopy masks to make building it even sweeter.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2016 issue.

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