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AMtech 1/72 scale Ju 88S-1/T-1

Kit: No. 72901
Scale: 1/72

Manufacturer: AMtech, 5109 Aspen Dr. Suite 1, West Des Moines, IA 50265, 515-221-2343, www.amtechmodels.com
Price: $21.98
Comments: Injection-molded, 102 parts, decals
Pros: Interesting subject, good surface detail, good interior, excellent decals
Cons: A few fit problems, engine cooling fans missing, some parts omitted from the instructions
AMtech has released another variation of an AMT/Ertl kit from the 1990s. This time, it's the Ju 88S-1/T-1, a modification of the previous Ju 88C-4/C-6. The Ju 88S-1 was a lightened and more streamlined Ju 88A-4 airframe coupled with powerful BMW 801G-2 engines.

The kit is molded in light gray plastic with finely engraved panel lines. The decals are excellent and provide markings for four separate aircraft. The cockpit features well-molded seats and some detail on the side panels.

I like the instruction sheet's extra color notes and names for the plastic parts. However there are a couple of omissions. The rudder pedals (parts No. 16 and 17) are not shown on the cockpit diagram. A Revi gun sight is also provided (90) but not depicted on the instructions. I found references for all these parts on the AMT/Ertl Ju 88C-4 instruction sheet.

The instructions say to glue the cockpit between the fuselage halves, but also to dry-fit the canopy first. I had the benefit of two kits to work from, and oddly enough, one canopy was slightly undersize; the other one fit much better. Adjustments to the canopy and the fuselage are much easier at this stage. I recommend test fitting the clear parts, as I had to adjust their fit. Doing so after painting would be difficult.

The rear bank of engine cylinders should be staggered between the front cylinders, but the kit has them lined up. I simply removed the tab on the rear bank and rotated them to the proper alignment. The kit lacks the obvious cooling fans at the front of the BMW 801 engines; you would have to substitute spare Fw 190 parts.

To ensure the engine nacelles aligned with the fuselage, I added them after attaching the wing to the fuselage. I had to add some filler at the left wing root to make it match the dihedral of the right wing. The front of the gear-bay bulkheads (53 and 54) must go on top of the lip that forms the gear-well opening. Filler was also needed at the wing/ nacelle joints.

An addendum to the instructions warns that if you proceed according to Step 8a, the engines will sit at an upward angle instead of parallel to the fuselage. I filed off most of the lower lips of the nacelles to achieve the correct exhaust-ring angle. I also followed the recommendation to hold off gluing the cowls to the exhaust rings until final assembly. This allows more play for alignment and makes painting easier.

I decided to paint my Ju 88 in the polka-dot camouflage of 3./KG 66. After painting the base color of RLM 76 Lichtblau (light blue), I painted the bottom and props with "tire black," a very dark gray. I didn't think I could apply the RLM 75 Grauviolett (gray violet) dots with an airbrush, so I shaved dust from dark gray pastel chalk, and using a cut-down stiff-bristle brush, I burnished the chalk dust into the flat top color. It took concentration to keep the dots about the same size and density, but I'm happy with the results. A coat of clear gloss sealed the pastel dust.

AMtech's decals are excellent and snuggled into the seams without using a setting solution. They were easy to move into place once they were on the model, and the white decals were opaque. I sealed them with another gloss coat, then applied a clear flat coat and weathered with more pastels.

The finished model measures close to the dimensions in William Green's Warplanes of the Third Reich. I spent about 35 hours on this kit, a large chunk of that time applying the camouflage. Though some work will be necessary to get the engines to line up properly, builders with a little experience should be able to produce a nice-looking model.

Phil Pignataro

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