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Junkers Ju 388L

by Brett Green


Junkers Ju 388L


Planet Models' Junkers 1/48 scale Ju 388L is available online from Squadron.com



The Junkers Ju 388 was the ultimate operational development of the versatile Ju 88 family.

After the Ju 288 programme was abandoned, the simpler Ju 388 was accelerated. The primary focus was to find a fast bomber capable of outrunning late-war Allied fighters, however the flexible design was also adapted to other roles.

The first production version was the photo-reconnaissance model, the Ju 388L. The Ju 388K bomber version was externally almost identical to the reconnaissance bird. The main difference was the ordnance in the ventral pannier. A night-fighter version, the Ju 388J, was also under development.


The Ju 388K and L were based on the Ju 188 series, but differed considerably in appearance and specification. The crew worked in a redesigned cockpit and simplified glazing. The wooden ventral pannier bulged from the fuselage. The vertical tail was a new, larger design, and the tail carried a sting via a remote-controlled barbette equipped with twin MG131 13mm machine guns. Two BMW 801TJ engines in revised cowlings drove four-bladed VDM-Dural propellers. Maximum speed was 615km/h at 12,285 metres.


Planet Models' Ju 388L In The Box

I was initially surprised at the size of the box that arrived on my doorstep. Surely this big 1/48 scale aircraft could not fit in a box this small?

It can!

My second surprise came when I opened the sturdy little box. Except for three clear vacform parts, the kit is all-resin. I expected some photo-etched brass for details.

A quick measurement confirmed that the kit is indeed 1/48 scale, although references are ambiguous about some dimensions.

The kit comprises around 89 resin parts in lightweight, pale cream coloured resin. Surface detail is recessed and very fine. The wings are particularly impressive, but the fuselage surface detail is so fine that many panel lines are almost invisible
Casting blocks are small and quality is very high. The main imperfection on my model is a bubble on the top-rear tip of the rudder. No warping was evident despite the long journey to Australia.

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Parts breakdown is sensible. The fuselage and each wing are supplied in halves. The wings feature an insert for the engine nacelle, indicating the possibility of different versions in the future. Ailerons and elevators are supplied separately but the flaps and rudder are fixed.

The relatively small number of parts and absence of photo-etch does not imply that detail has been skipped. The cockpit and wheel wells boast nice detail. Harnesses are moulded on to the seats while sidewalls and the rear cockpit bulkhead are appropriately busy. However, overall cockpit detail is a little softer than we have come to expect from the top-tier of resin producers.

Clear parts comprise two parts for the big glazed nose and a window for the cockpit floor. The vac parts are very clear but miss some of the prominent circles on the glazing of the real aircraft. Two sets of clear vac form parts are provided in case of problems.

The instructions are simple but adequate. Three exploded-view drawings clearly indicate the location of all parts.

Markings for one Ju 388L and one Ju 388K are supplied. Swastikas are present, but split into two parts each.





Test-fitting is essential when building any limited run model. My first task was to match the fuselage halves. To my horror, one fuselage half was 2-3mm shorter than the other. I considered a number of remedies, including the installation of a plug in the short fuselage half. In the end I decided to simply trim one side of the mounts for the tail barbette.


There was also a step present on the bottom of the fuselage where the halves met. This was eventually filled with Milliput, sanded and rescribed.

Some reinforcement of the main subassemblies was required. Locating tabs for the wings are very shallow, and no locaters are provided for any of the tail surfaces. I drilled holes in the tail surfaces, wings and fuselage in preparation for the installation of brass locating spars.

With these initial preparations complete I commenced construction.

The cockpit was assembled and painted. I used Reheat instrument decals for the small instrument panel and starboard sidewall. Lenses were drops of Krystal Kleer.




I thought the harnesses looked somewhat skinny, so I overlaid Reheat brass photo-etched Luftwaffe Harnesses on top of the moulded-on kit parts. The assembled cockpit tub was offered to the fuselage halves. I had to remove some resin from the bottom of the tub to achieve a decent fit. I broke off one of the delicate rudder pedal mounts while preparing the cockpit. This was the first of about five times that one or both of these parts broke off. I would recommend leaving the rudder pedal mounts off until immediately before the canopy is installed.

I glued the cockpit sidewall to the kit fuselage, added the rear bulkhead and tub, and joined the fuselage halves using two-part epoxy glue. I secured the fuselage with rubber bands while the glue dried.


I then assembled the wing and engine nacelle sub-assemblies. Removing the waste resin from the wingtips of the model proved to be tricky, but the assembly of these parts was trouble free and the fit was extremely good.

When the epoxy glue was thoroughly set, I filled the step on the lower fuselage and trimmed the tail. I also painted the DF antenna on the upper fuselage before adding a layer of clear epoxy cement to the top of the assembly. The epoxy was intended to represent the clear lens over the top of the delicate circular antenna.

Brass rod was inserted in the pre-drilled holes in the fuselage. The wings and tailplanes were test-fitted and adjusted. A spot of super glue was applied to the outer extremes of the joining surfaces of the wing, and two-part epoxy was smeared on the larger area in between. The purpose of this two-glue strategy is to “tack” the wings in place using the super glue, ensuring the correct dihedral while the more robust (but slow-curing) epoxy glue dries.

The model was starting to look very much like a Ju 388! While the main airframe was setting, I worked on the smaller details such as the propeller assemblies and the undercarriage.

There are no locating holes in the one-piece spinner to accommodate the propeller blades. There are, however, dots marking where the holes should be. I drilled these carefully using a pin vice and assembled the propellers using super glue (click thumbnail at the right to view a larger image).

I then assembled and painted the main gear. This is a big, heavy model. I was worried that the main gear might not locate positively with the gear bay, or that the resin gear may not take the weight of the model. My concerns were unfounded. The undercarriage assembly has been well thought out and located positively without any extra work. The main gear legs are reinforced with steel rod (cast into the resin), so strength was not a problem either.

By far, the biggest challenge presented by Planet Models’ Ju 388 is the vacform glasshouse. I packed the nose cap and main canopy transparencies with Blu-Tak, then cut the parts free with a new Exacto blade.

The forward upper fuselage features a small raised ridge to help positively locate the vac-form canopy, but there is no corresponding guide for the nose transparency. The only suggestion I can make here is to test fit, then test fit, followed by more test fitting. Fortunately, a second canopy is supplied if there are fatal problems with the vac formed parts. I decided that the most complex procedure would be matching the clear nose cap with the main upper canopy. In order to simplify this operation, I glued these parts together using epoxy cement before they were secured to the fuselage. This was fiddly but ultimately successful.

The glasshouse was fitted to the fuselage using epoxy glue. The vac parts were taped onto the fuselage while the epoxy dried.


I still had a few problems with gaps and poor alignment with the starboard fuselage side. The gaps were addressed with plastic strip and putty, and I sanded the fuselage side to improve its relationship with the canopy glasshouse.

In preparation for painting I filled the few remaining gaps (mainly around the lower wing root and the joins between the engines and wing leading edges) with Milliput, followed by sanding and rescribing as required. I sprayed the filled areas with a dark colour to ensure that the repairs were perfect.


Painting and Markings


The paint schemes on the handful of operational Ju 388Ls were quite simple. They appeared to be finished in RLM 76 lower surfaces, with a single solid colour on the upper surfaces. The tail was sometimes painted with a large, capsule-shaped mottle while others wore a more conventional mottle in two colours.

As is my usual routine, I masked the canopy and pre-shaded the panel lines using black Tamiya Acrylic paint.


I chose to finish the upper surface of my Ju 388 in RLM 83 Dark Green. The tail was mottled in a combination of 83 Dark Green and 81 Brown Violet.



Planet Models' 1/48 scale Junkers Ju 388K/L is an ambitious model that stretches the use of resin almost to the limit. There is no doubt that the very labour-intensive production of this large kit contributes to its expense. Fortunately its high cost is matched by its quality.

Having built one of Dragon’s 1/48 scale Junkers Ju 88G kits some years ago, I can attest that this kit is actually easier to assemble than the mainstream plastic kit.


Planet Models has since released the Ju 388J Night Fighter version of this aircraft. Despite the hefty price tag, I snapped up that version too!

The Ju 388 will suit anyone who has some experience building resin kits. If you have always wanted to build a 1/48 scale Ju 388 and money is not an issue, this is the model for you!



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Model, Images and Article Copyright © 2001 by Brett Green
Page Created 14 August 2001
Last updated 04 June 2007

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