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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Building a Stuka

I have enough ongoing model projects that I could be easily said that I have no programme at all. My interests can flit around the entire history of aircraft development, from biplanes to the most current jet fighters. I probably find the 30s to 50s to be the most interesting period, with lots of interesting little dead ends especially in the conversion periods (e.g., biplanes to monoplanes, prop power to jet engines). But one era I seem to come back to frequently is the early WW2 years.

Much of this is on the Allied side (Hurricanes and Spits, with the occasional Stirling), but even I succumb to the fascination of German aircraft. It's easy to pick a Bf-109 to do, but perhaps not quite so easy to get some of the others. We've only gotten a really nice Bf-110 and Ju-88 in the last few years. The Hasegawa He-111 is extremely nice and the Italeri Ju-86 is serviceable, and Airfix is diving into this pool with 2014's Do-17. And of course there is the Ju-87, probably the best symbol of why the Luftwaffe caused such concern in the late 30s.

I built a lousy kit of the Ju-87 back when I first restarted modelling again in the mid 1980s - and built it lousily as well. I have a few copies of the range of Ju-87 produced by Fujimi, and decided that one day I would replace that old Stuka with a newly produced one. Then, somewhere in my travels, I ran across the Tally Ho decal sheet that featured the famous Desert Snake paint scheme, and the project moved up to the front burner.

The Fujimi kit, like most of its stablemates from that era, is a wonder to put together. Nice fit, nice detail, nice panel lines. It really did not take long to get the model to the state that it is in now, most components together and waiting for some canopy masking. Not every modelling project needs to be an epic journey - sometimes it is completely worthwhile to build a kit that is actually engineered to fit.

I suppose these may be the aircraft modeller's equivalent of the car modeller's slammer: a quick and easy build to prove, at least to yourself, that you can actually get something finished. But they are no less worthy for being less challenging. We all know that even what appears to be an easy job can become a trial in a real hurry. 

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