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Junkers Ju 52/3m

by Ian Robertson


Junkers Ju 52/3m


Revell-Monogram's 1/48 scale Ju 52/3m is available from Squadron.com



Believe it or not the Ju.52, which first flew in 1930, was originally designed as a single engine civil transport. The design was soon modified to include a total of three engines, hence the designation Ju.52/3m (driemotoren, or three motors). A military version produced in the mid 1930s saw action as both a transport and medium-bomber during the Spanish Civil War. Although an excellent transport aircraft, the Ju.52/3m was ill-suited as a bomber and was soon replaced in this role by more specialized aircraft. During WWII the Ju.52/3m, nicknamed "Tante Ju" by the Germans and "Iron Annie" by the Allies, served in all fronts as a versatile and reliable transport of both men and supplies.


The Model


The Ju.52 was never at the top of my "wish list" for 1/48 kits. Let's face it, this aircraft would not even place in a beauty contest! However, the Pro-Modeler Ju.52/3m kit that debuted in 1999 is by all accounts a winner. When I first opened the box I was struck by (1) the sheer size of the aircraft and (2) the incredible detail and crispness of the parts - particularly the distinctive corrugations on the wings and fuselage. To tip the balance in favor of the kit even more, it was surprisingly affordable by today's increasingly expensive standards. This model will add character to any WWII collection, and be assured that it will crowd all but the largest model shelf.


After purchasing the kit I was stumped when it came to a color scheme. I toyed with the idea of a Legion Condor scheme or a winter Luftwaffe scheme, but when Third Group decals came out with a stunning set of markings for a yellow-striped Mediterranean transport hack (4U+NH) my mind was made up.

Once I was set to tackle this project I had a decision to make regarding camouflage colors. Third Group's instructions called for a highly unorthodox scheme of RLM61/62/69/75. This translates into dark brown (61) / green (62) / yellow-sand?(69) / over light blue (75). My doubts about this scheme were raised further when several Hyperscale contributors provided me with a scanned image of the color photograph that Third Group cites as their reference for this aircraft (from Ries 1972, Markings and Camouflage Systems of Luftwaffe Aircraft in World War II, Vol. IV). After helpful discussions with Steven Eisenman (a.k.a. Steven-Modeldad) I opted for the more likely color scheme of RLM70/71/65 with Italian yellow stripes. Based on the reference photo I believe this is a more justified interpretation of colors, especially since most Ju.52s in Luftwaffe service wore the standard RLM70/71/65 splinter scheme. The yellow stripes were likely a field or hangar modification once the aircraft reached the Mediterranean theatre.




Despite its large size and detail the kit is easy to build. I made only four minor modifications to the kit. (1) 4U+NH had a fairing above the nose engine to protect the windshield against oil spray (at least I believe that was its purpose). Third Group fails to mention this modification, but it is clearly present in the reference photograph.



I fashioned the fairing from a piece of evergreen sheet styrene. (2) I replaced the plastic loop antenna behind the cockpit with fine wire. (3) I deflected the horizontal control surfaces on the tail. (4) I dropped the "flapperons" on the wings. Ah yes, the flapperons. A word of advice: Add them after construction is complete. If you add them earlier, as indicated in the instructions, you will break them off time and time again. Trust me!


Paint and Weathering


Almost all painting was done using Polly Scale acrylics. Interior sections were painted RLM02 and then weathered with chalk pastels. SNJ aluminum metalizer powder was rubbed sparingly with a cotton swab (Q-tip) on the floor panels to simulate scuffed surfaces. The white bands on the fuselage, horizontal stabilizer, and underside wing tips were applied and then masked until the rest of the camouflage was complete. I painted the model a standard RLM70/71/65 splinter scheme starting with the RLM65 underside. Using paper masks I then applied stripes of Italian Camouflage Yellow (diluted 25% with Light Gull Grey for a faded effect) over the upper surfaces. Only the right fuselage, tail and wing of the aircraft are visible in the reference photograph - the rest of the camouflage scheme was left up to my imagination. Any similarity between the yellow patch underneath the left side of the cockpit and a map of Italy are purely coincidental.


The model was treated with a coat of Future prior to addition of the decals. I had considerable trouble getting the larger decals to settle into the corrugations on the fuselage and wings, even with Micro-sol and Super-sol decal solvents. In the end it worked out to my satisfaction (read - I gave up and moved on to weathering). After a second coat of Future I applied a dull coat of clear lacquer.

To weather the model I started with an uneven application of highly thinned light brownish-yellow paint (Israeli khaki + Italian camouflage yellow) to create a faded dusty appearance. Chalk pastels (ochres and browns) were used to further this effect, particularly on the wings and over the decals.

The exhaust pipes were painted metallic grey (Tamiya XF-56 acrylic) and then brushed with orange-brown chalk pastel. Exhaust stains were sprayed on using highly thinned black paint. Grey chalk pastel was added by brush to the fuselage exhaust stains.




The outdoor photographs were made with a manual 35mm camera and 35-80mm lens, 200 ASA film, tripod, and a shutter release cable (to avoid shaking the camera while using slow shutter speeds and high F-stop).



In the background are the Owyhee Mountains south of Boise Idaho. The close-up photograph of the nose and cockpit was made using a macro lens with a mounted ring flash.




Thanks to Kent Eckhart (IPMS Boise - MadDog Modeler), Doug Fritz, and Steven Eisenman for their helpful suggestions and reference material.



Additional Images




Model, Images and Text Copyright 2001 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 02 August, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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