The Junkers Ju87 Stuka is an unmistakable aircraft. With its angular lines, cranked wings and wheel spats, it can hardly be mistaken for any other type. Originally conceived in 1933, as part of the Sturzbomber-Programm, the Ju87 did not receive an enthusiastic reception from the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM). It was only after famed WW1 ace and stunt pilot Ernst Udet became a strong proponent of the design that it was chosen for production.
Although the name "Stuka", short for Sturzkampfflugzeug, originally referred to any dedicated dive-bomber aircraft, the Ju87 was so iconic in this role that it became synonymous with it alone. The Ju87 is often associated with Blitzkrieg, where it had tremendous success during campaigns in Norway, Poland, Belgium, France, Holland, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Without strong air defense to counter it, the Stuka was able to take a devastating toll on ground forces. Shipping was also vulnerable to the pinpoint attacks of the Stuka, and the Ju87 destroyed more Allied shipping than all other German aircraft put together during WW II. However, during the Battle of Britain the Ju87 suffered heavy losses when it was employed in a role for which it was not suited, strategic attacks on well defended targets. Afterwards, the Ju87 redeemed itself with successful use as a tactical ground attack aircraft on the Mediterranean and Eastern fronts, where later variants served right up to the cessation of hostilities.
When I first heard the announcement that Trumpeter was going to release a 1/32 Junker Ju87A, I was very interested. Having a keen interest in Spanish Civil War aircraft, I thought it would be a great addition to my collection. However, it was eventually changed to a Ju87B-2, which was still interesting since the only other options for a "B" model Stuka in 1/32 scale were the old Revell kit, and the 21C kit, and I like the angular lines of the "B" model the best.
This all-new kit is cleanly molded, and features restrained panel lines and subtle rivet detail, which is much improved over Trumpeter's early efforts. With 330 parts, the kit features a complete engine, open and closed radiator flaps, positionable control surfaces, detailed gun bays and PE detail parts. The well-detailed cockpit also features an instrument panel with raised details, and includes a decal to represent the instruments. The wing features a double spar to ensure the proper angle of the cranked wing as well as provide strength. There is an "extra" rear canopy section as well, however according to the instructions it is not used. Stubs are also included on the wheel spats for the "Jericho sirens", however these are not included as they were apparently not installed or removed from the Ju87B-2 due to increased drag. Tires for the main wheels and tail wheel are provided in a black rubber-type substance.
The kit provides a variety of weapons to hang on the underside, however one of the options, which includes two bombs under each wing is not possible as sprue WB only includes 2 of the 4 bombs needed. Fortunately this option was not fitted to the "Berta", so it should not be an issue.
Unfortunately, this is the least of the problems with this kit. Having seen the test shots online, I was struck that something looked odd about the model, particularly the wheel spats. However, since it was a test shot, I had to wait until I could see the kit in person to confirm or refute any shape problems. Once I received the kit, I dug around for plans to compare it to. I found what appear to be a good set of plans in the Model Mushroom Publications (MMP) book on the Ju87. As these were in 1/72 scale, I enlarged them at 225% to get them to 1/32 scale. Comparing the kit parts to these plans, I found the first issue was that the wheel spats were indeed not the correct shape. The lower-front part of the spat does not have a "bulbous" curve as the plans do, and the bottom of the spat as a more-or-less straight curve up from the front to the rear, whereas the plans show a stepped curve (please see photos). As I also have the 1/32 Hasegawa Ju87D and the 21C Ju87B kits, I also compared them to the plans, and both kits wheel spats matched up well with their respective MMP plans, although the 21C kit spats have a cut out on the bottom behind the wheel, which I believe may reflect a field modification to deal with mud clogging up the wheels (if anyone knows for sure, please comment with the correct info). Comparing the Trumpeter wheel spats to the other two kits wheel spats, one can see the difference.
Since I had the plans and the kit out, I decided to compare the fuselage as well. The fuselage itself matched up the plans quite well, as did the Hasegawa and 21C kits. However, the nose section of the Trumpeter kit was short (2mm) and also noticeably narrower (approximately 1mm top and 2mm bottom) at the front than the plans. Interestingly, the 21C kit also suffers from exactly the same issue (however the parts are not an exact match, so it is not a direct copy). . The underside of the radiator "chin" also was curved upwards from back to front, whereas the real thing was more flat (the 21C kit does not have this issue) (please see photos). The spinner is also smaller than the plans would indicate. The Ju87D had a redesigned nose, which was made more streamlined and was slightly smaller than the Ju87B nose at the front. So, assuming the Hasegawa kit is correct, the Trumpeter nose should be at least the same size or slightly larger. Comparing the nose of the Trumpeter kit to the Hasegawa, the nose of the Trumpeter kit is noticeable smaller, as the plans indicated it was.
Remembering that Trumpeter had originally announced the "A" model Stuka first, I decided to compare the kit nose and spinner to the plans I had (from the MMP book) for that version as it has a smaller nose than the "B" model. It turns out the Trumpeter nose is just slightly larger than the "A" model plans, and the aforementioned curve on the bottom of the radiator "chin" matched perfectly. Could it be that Trumpeter, who and originally announced the "A" model first, used the dimensions for that nose, and changed the upper cowl contours to match the "B" model. I don't know, and the evidence does not "confirm or deny" in any case.
Looking at the prop, the blades seem a bit off as well. Measurements show that the blades are about 6.1 mm shorter (note that is a real 6.1mm short, not a scale 6.1mm short) than the 3.4 meter diameter of the VS-5, which makes them look a bit "fat".
The canopy of the Ju87 had both internal and external framing, generally with the horizontal framing being external, and the vertical framing being internal. Like the other available kits, Trumpeter molded all the framing as external, so some creative painting will be needed to make this area look more accurate.
Interestingly, the wings seem to have no issues at all, matching both plans and the Hasegawa kit parts. They also have the benefit of the included detail for the MG bay for those that wish to display their model with one or both of these bays open.
The kit comes with markings to build three different aircraft. The first, featured on the box art, is from Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 "Immelmann", serving on the Russian Front in September 1941. The decals for this aircraft are incorrect as the Scottie dog is supposed to face forward on both sides, however the decals are both facing the same way rather than being "handed". The second aircraft is from Lehrgeschwader 1 (Demonstration Wing), based in Tramecourt, France in July 1940 which operated all major Luftwaffe types. The third option is a winter camouflaged machine from Sturzkampfgeschwader 1, again serving on the Russian Front in December 1941. Decals are clear and in-register, as usual from Cartograph. Note that multi-part swastika decals along with some basic stencils are included. Finally, the upper wing crosses have a strange proportion to them, with too much space in between the white "arms". If you cannot find a replacement and need to use this kit decal, I recommend you cut it into the four sections (one with each white "arm") and position it to look correct.
Being a fan of the Ju87B, I was excited when the opportunity to review the kit came up. While I expected to find some minor shape error with the wheel spats, I must admit that the nose being too small/pointed was something of a shock. While I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the plans I used to form this opinion, I am reasonably confident that they are indeed correct based on my comparison of them with the Hasegawa kit and other known measurements.
Overall, the kit is still quite nicely molded, and has much better detail than any other existing "B" model Stuka kits. For most modelers, I am certain that it will build up into a satisfactory model without correcting any shape errors. For those that are concerned about such things, I am confident that the shape errors with the spats and nose/spinner can be toned down with some "modeling skill" if desired, and it's likely that some aftermarket company will produce a set of corrected prop blades for this kit. I've got this kit on my modeling schedule for a full build here on AeroScale, so I'll get to see what I can do with it!
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Highs: Cleanly molded parts, excellent panel line and rivet detail, positionable control surfaces, detailed cockpit, engine and gun bays.Lows: Misshaped nose, misshaped wheel spats, short prop blades, internal canopy framing molded externally, decal errors.Verdict: While not perfect, this kit is an improvement over the other options available today for a Ju87B, and I am certain that when built, no one will mistake it for anything other than a Ju87!
About Doug Nelson (DougN1) FROM: GEORGIA, UNITED STATES
I've been modeling on and off for over 40 years. My primary interests are WW1, Interwar and WW2 aircraft, although I do build an occasional WW2 armour kit.
I used to build 1/32 kits back in the 80's, but switched to 1/48 in the early 90's when all the nice new kits started showing up. I've sinc...