Ju 88C-4

1/48 Junkers Ju 88C-4 “Night Fighter”

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The Ju 88C was originally intended as a fighter-bomber and heavy fighter by adding fixed, forward-firing guns to the nose while retaining some bomb carrying ability of the A-series bomber. The C-series had a solid metal nose, typically housing one 20 mm MG FF cannon and three 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns. The aircraft retained the ventral Bola gondola under the crew compartment though individual units sometimes removed this to reduce weight and drag to enhance performance. The Ju-88C was later used as a night fighter, and this became its main role.
The first version of the Ju 88C was the C-1 with 20 aircraft converted from A-1 airframes. Some of them entered service in the Zerstörerstaffel of KG 30 which became part of II./NJG 1 in July 1940. The C-1 was followed by the C-2 of which 20 aircraft were converted from A-5 airframes with enlarged wingspan. The C-4 became the first production version with 60 produced and 60 converted from A-5 airframes. The C-6, of which 900 aircraft were produced, was based on the A-4 airframe with more powerful engines and stronger defensive armament (single- or dual-mount belt-fed 7.92 mm MG 81 or 13 mm MG 131 instead of drum-fed MG 15 machine guns).The Matratze 32-dipole antenna for the Lichtenstein UHF radar.The C-6 as night fighter was typically equipped with FuG 202 Lichtenstein BC loUHF band airborne intercept radar, using the complex 32-dipole Matratze antennas. The first four C-6 night fighters were tested in early 1942 by NJG 2. The trials were successful and the aircraft was ordered into production. In October 1943, many C-6s were upgraded with new radar systems. The first new radar equipment was the FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1. After the UHF-band Lichtenstein radars had been compromised to the Allies in the late spring of 1943, the next development in German AI radar was the VHF-band FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2, discarding the 32-dipole Matratze antennae for the much larger eight-dipole Hirschgeweih (stag's antlers) aerials, required for the longer wavelength SN-2 system.
Many Ju-88C's had their Bola gondolas modified to hold up to two forward firing 20 mm cannon. Several C-6 night fighters were equipped with two "Schräge-Musik" upward-firing 20mm cannon in trial fittings, and from mid 1943 onward, there was an official field modification kit available for this arrangement.
A small number of the C-series day fighters had their new solid-metal noses specially painted to resemble the bomber A-series' "beetle's eye" faceted clear view nose glazing, in an attempt to deceive Allied pilots into thinking the fighters were actually bombers; the unusual "camouflage" attempt did result initially in a number of Allied aerial losses.


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Now let’s take a closer look at the new limited edition  release of the Ju 88C-4 variant  in the 1/48 scale by Special Hobby.
Actually this kit is based on the ICM’s Ju 88A-5 which was first released back in 2015 and we also saw It later on as a reboxing also by Hasegawa. This new-tooled kit by ICM is supplemented by new styrene moulded  and resin pieces  by Special Hobby to convert the A-5 into a solid nose Ju 88C-4 variant .
(Let’s not forget that also most of the actual C-4’s were come out of converting A-5 airframes.)
The kit comes in a considerably large box decorated with an artwork of an Ju 88c-4 night fighter at dusk, opening fire and  a smoking Wellington on the background .

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Inside the box we have ICM’s kit with seven sprues in light grey plastic and another one in clear plastic packed  in a clear plastic sleeve .
All these are  supplemented by the Special Hobby’s parts which include a single sprue in grey plastic, another one in clear plastic for the canopy, 24 resin parts and a decal sheet printed by Cartograph. 
A cardboard with the company’s logo is sitting the one side of the inner box with the new clear parts and the decal sheet secured on it. 
At the bottom of the package we have an A-4 colour printed instructions manual.

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The original ICM kit is a modern tooled kit  without any flash. The surface details are also great ,with finely engraved panel lines and hatches but without any rivet lines.

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Clear parts are also well molded without any visible flaws.

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Now speaking of engineering we have some nice solutions here , with full length fuselage, separate vertical fin.( open possibilities for later variants?)  
Wing root fairings are moulded to the fuselage and are tabbed, meaning that the upper wing panels can easily sit on these and provide a positive location point and dihedral.

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Also on  the same piece ,engine nacelles locate into the undersides via tabs. All control surfaces on this model can be posed, with the rear of the nacelles being separate for this purpose. You may need to fiddle things with fitting this one. Two detailed Jumo211 engines are included in this kit, with the provision to display one/either of them. 
These do look very good, with each unit containing around 15 parts per engine, including the firewall and associated plumbing. One scheme that has standard day splinter camo, will use the plastic kit parts for exhausts. For the other two night schemes, a set of resin exhaust flame dampers are included. 
The engines must be installed within the nacelle before the whole assembly isattached to the wing. 
Cowl radiator flaps are presented as open only, so to pose these in the more aesthetically pleasing closed position, you will need to cut and reposition the fins. Propellers are supplied as single piece units, and the spinner comprises of the typical back-plate and front section .
In the cockpit area things are also looking great even out of the box with nicely molded seats, side consoles, instrument panel, fuselage side walls details, ammunition drums and radio compartment. Of course  there are also aftermarket enchantments as we speak, for that area that can upgrade the look even further.


THE CONVERSION SET

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Now let’s take a look at the conversion set by Special Hobby. First of all we have a single nicely molded sprue in grey plastic ,carrying all the necessary parts for the solid metal nose of the C variant ,the guns ,and the different gondola on the lower front of the fuselage .

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Then we have 24 pieces in grey resin with crisp detail which  include early type ‘weighted’ wheels, tail wheel, detailed  landing gear doors, exhaust flame pampers (for the night fighter choices), control panel, various ammunition drums, spent shell ejector panel, various cockpit detail pieces .All these beside the conversion will give an extra boost to the appearance of the model.

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Finally there is a clear plastic sprue, with crystal clear parts carrying the canopy in two parts. This canopy actually can also be used in the A-2  and A-4 variants that carried the single mounted MG-15 , 7.92mm defence gun.(check your references if so).

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ACCURACY

In terms of accuracy the model looks really great out of the box. Shape and dimensions against Kagero drawing looks almost spot on and the overall details are eyes capturing.  But for those modelers who want to take the extra mile in their built we will pinpoint some areas were thing could have been better. That said we will start from the cockpit, were we have the crew seats, attached directly on the cockpit floor, when they should have been elevated. Also the cockpit floor is extended far of to the right “closing” so part of the gondola entry hatch.

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Moving to the engines area, the radiator faces are simplified without the engine ventilation cut offs.

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The exhaust fairing is bulbous and more appropriate for the A-4 variant, as well as the hot air ducts just opposite the engine nacelles on the upper part of the landing gear bays.
Also in this area, the engine nacelles are molded as one piece with the gear bay, but without any gap. The gear bay should  look like going  inward to the nacelles (check photo below)

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Vertical fin panel lines need some rescrubbing.

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As well as the inspection hatch to get to all the plumbing going from the engine control panel to the fuel tanks and engines, just behind the entrance hatch which in the kit is presented as a single curved line?

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Finally filling is needed to the panel lines on the right hand side of the fuselage in the cockpit area were the  control cable panels located on the pilots side being replicated on the right side also?.
Closing this section these are the most obvious issues which are mentioned for the shake of the modeler who seeks more accuracy and by any means these don’t ruin the overall image of the model out of the box, which as described is a wonderful model kit of the Ju 88.


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The decal sheet of the kit which is also part of the Special Hobby conversion set , is of top quality and  printed  by Cartograph , offering three marking options.

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Ju88C-4, R4 MK W.Nr. 0359, 2/NJG2 Gilze-Rijen May 1941


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Ju88C-4, R4 MT 9/NJG2 Gilze-Rijen, Summer 1942


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Ju88C-4, R4 DL 3/NJG2 Catania, Sicily, May 1942


- Instruction Sheet -
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Now I know the first question coming into your mind..Is this a kit worth buying?.I say, it sure is .Here we have a modern tooled and  detailed kit of the Ju 88 complemented with resin parts different canopy variants and  high quality decal sheet in a very affordable price. Even an average modeler can built it and have a great looking kit of the heavy  night fighter variant of the Ju 88. !.Special Hobby using ICM’s kit and her own conversion parts is offering a limited run kit that is a must have for the Luftwaffe modeler. 
Highly recommended.
We thank Special Hobby for providing us this review sample


Link for Special Hobby 1/48 Junkers Ju 88C-4 “Night Fighter”


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