Junkers ju 88a

Economics is probably the main reason why the Ju 88A-1 has never been released as an injection moulded kit. When Italeri brought out its 1:72 Ju 88A-4, it knew from the start that such a tooling could also produce a Ju 88A-17 and C-6 at minimal extra cost. All well and good, but that does not help the modeller who wants to model earlier Ju 88 variants from such historically critical moments as the Battle of Britain. It has to be said, however, that the impetus for the modeller to resort to his or her own ingenuity has existed for quite some time. Both Falcon’s Ju 88A-1 clear parts and


This view of the completed Ju 88A-1 shows just how far model has come from the basic Italeri Ju 88A-4 kit. Note the opened crew access hatch at the rear of the underfuselage gondola. (All photographs John Mclllmurray)

AeroMaster’s Ju 88 Collection Pt. I (72-099) have been available for a while now, as have various reference materials. It is also a relatively easy conversion project – with the only real hassle being the backdating of the А-4-style engine faces to those of the A-l standard, which have a quite different layout.
Wanting to make a Ju 88A-1 myself, and having both the Falcon parts and a number of decal options, I set about designing another AIMS conversion set, primarily for myself and secondly for those modellers not wishing to do their own conversions to the kit parts.
With the re-release of the old AMT Ju 88C-4/C-6 kit as an S-l/T-1 or S-3/T-3 by AMtech (albeit with some different parts), you may be tempted to want to use these kits as a basis for your A-l conversion project. Certainly the latter kits are easier to get hold of than the
Italeri A-4 kit at the moment, but you must remember that the essential Falcon parts are based on the Italeri kit and do not fit at all well on the AMT or AMtech offerings. Neither do the AMtech kits supply a bomber gondola or starboard lower nose window.

Getting Started

Armed with an Italeri Ju 88A-4 kit, my own and other aftermarket products, plus a number of helpful references, it was time to go to work. First to go were the rudder and the top of the vertical stabiliser, the rear of the canopy, the wingtips, the engine mounts and the hot 

air outlet fairings and, of course, those horrible underwing external control surface actuators.

Above: Italeri’s Ju 88A-4 kit can still be found with a little effort, but is not current. It is worth looking for, since it is the ideal basis for this conversion.

Left: The contents of the AIMS set, including new engine nacelles, shown in detail, along with the Falcon clear parts.

Below: Modifications are required to the fin and rudder of the kit, as well as the rear part of the cockpit area. The fin tip is removed and replaced, while a new rudder, including hinge, is also installed. The parts to be replaced are highlighted in the darker shade.

Next for the chop was the raised panel detail in favour of recessed panel lines, marked out with an Olfa P cutter. The scale plans in Junkers Ju 88 Volume 1, by Waldemar Trojca, were most helpful in this regard, showing many of the Italeri panel details to be located incorrectly. A good example of this must be the bomb bay, which is far to narrow.


I wanted to work on the wings first for some reason and made a number of modifications to them to bring them more in line with the Trojca drawings. I actually regret reducing the area between the engines and fuselage, since this measure gave me very little reward for stacks of extra work fabricating internal spars and using more filler than usual.

Above and left: John went to great efforts not only to blend in the Ju 88A-1 wingtips, but also to separate the ailerons and flaps, and reduce the distance between the engines and the fuselage. With hindsight he probably would not have attempted the latter, since the finished result does not justify the work involved.

I have already mentioned the deletion of the large external control surface actuators, but after these came off I decided to remove the landing flaps and ailerons completely, in order to tidy them up and reposition them. I also removed the small stubs used to attach the kit’s dive brakes at this stage. They were getting in the way of my scribing and the outboard ones had to go anyway, to make it easier to bed down the undenting crosses. Using scale plans can be a mixed blessing; you feel you have achieved something when you make a correction – like moving the landing light further outboard and re-scribing the detail more accurately – but afterwards you think to yourself, ‘what was the point in all that work when I have failed to represent the wheel wells correctly? They are both too shallow and too narrow!’ I just could not be bothered doing any more I guess. Incidentally, the wheel wells in the Italeri Ju 188s are far better – I wish the company had used them again in the newer kits.
With the help of some pinning, the AIMS wingtips were superglued to the Italeri wings. When dry they were blended in with various grades of wet and dry, plus a small amount of filler. The aileron ends were modified accordingly. Ignore the plastic card trim I have added to the starboard aileron, I do not know why the Trojca plans show it like this, since in photographs it seems to be more like how you can see it in the photos of the finished model.

Nose, cockpit and canopy junkers ju 88a-4

I had given considerable thought to finishing my project as a machine used by KG 40. Xtradecal sheet X035-72 for the Junkers Ju 88A, С and G is an excellent sheet (although it has markings for a Ju 88D on it, not a Ju 88C) and includes some lovely unit badges. Among these is a colourful Staffel badge for KG 40. However, the more I looked at it, comparing photographs with the kit’s nose, the more I saw how the distance between the windscreen and the nose glazing should be longer. Again, in the end, since I did not use the KG 40 badge, which needs the extra space, I really wonder if it was worth remedying? Remedy it I did, however, by cementing a roughly 1 mm wide spacer to the nose halves to bring forward the clear lower nose kit part (I am sure I cut this clear nose piece into two pieces for a very good reason – I just cannot remember what that reason was).
Before work commenced on the cockpit detail, about 5 mm was cut back from the original forward edge of the fuselage entry/egress aperture. The rear of the kit’s canopy aperture was also cut back, as suggested by Falcon and the AIMS instructions, in order for the Falcon canopy to fit (which includes this area as part of the canopy moulding to give you the fairing detail either side of the gun position. The canopy comes with detail to the front as well, which you may want to use by removing this kit area also).
With the corrections finished, it was now time to get stuck into the cockpit detail using a mixture of scratch-built parts and surfaces, Eduard brass etch items and those lovely resin radio sets by Aires.
I did not want to go mad with the canopy, but the pilot’s curtains are very obvious and I think they need representing. There should be some curtains for the radio operator/gunner as well, but I forgot about them! The curtain I did add was made from rolled up surgical glove material; it is a good enough colour to avoid needing painting and has the wonderful advantage of bonding to itself, or anything else, with just the tiniest hint of superglue. The kit’s machine guns were also dealt with at this time, with the addition of Eduard magazines and scratch built cocking handles, from sprue, and early style ‘spent cartridge’ cases, from Blue Tac coated with PVA wood glue.


This page: Four images showing the results of some very careful work in the cockpit area. A mix of etched brass, resin, scratch-built items and very careful finishing was used to produce this superb cockpit. The upper two pictures show the starboard fuselage half in various stages of completion, while the lower two give views to port.


It was now time to start putting the whole thing together. From an AIMS point of view the concern here is to attach the replacement canopy, nose and upper vertical stabiliser part. The latter is dealt with in the same way as the wingtips. The main difficulty came from the fit of the nose glazing which, due to my having brought the area forward no longer fitted true.

Right and far right: Before attaching the undernose gondola it is a good idea to paint the area of fuselage to be covered. Note the extra detail John added to the interior of the gondola hatch.

Left: The finished cockpit pictured in place, with the fuselage halves closed around it. Those sections of fuselage cut away around the cockpit are obvious in this view. Note that the resin engines have also been added.

Here the Falcon vacform canopy has been modified by the addition of Latex ‘pilot’s curtains’. The machine-guns held in the clothes pegs have been furnished with etched brass and scratch-built items.

 Milliput filler was added and smoothed, and once dry gradually built up with further layers. The replacement rudder was ‘dry fitted’ at this stage, but became permanently attached prior to priming. As for the kit’s own detail, at this point it is a good idea to add the box-shaped fuel dump pipes inside the fuel dump fairing immediately fore of the rudder hinge. It is also worth mentioning what a relief it is not to have to worry about how to represent the absent direction finder detail on the Italeri kit, since I am pretty sure that most, if not all Ju 88A-ls did not have the clear disc seen on Ju 88A-4s and represented so well by AMtech.

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Before adding the clear Italeri gondola part, it is best to paint the area of the nose floor it is to occupy. A small sight was also added. What I failed to add, however, is a small bulkhead behind the sight, and so at certain angles and in certain lights I can see daylight when looking though the bombsight window. As for the Falcon rear hatch/gun position supplied with the AIMS set, a little repainting needs doing to change the framing layout and it will not hurt to put a little detail inside.


Above: A strip of masking tape helps the AIMS rudder stay in place while the superglue hardens. The replacement resin fin tip has also been added at this stage.

radio controlled model aircraft

Perhaps the most identifiable aspect of the whole aircraft, the engines require modellers to add their own exhausts and cowl plates that arch over the first exhaust in each bank. I used tin for mine, blended in with Milliput. They are quite different from those seen on Ju 88A-4 machines and look more like the fairings seen on Bf 109s. The Italeri exhausts were modified slightly to include an extra exhaust port and raised box section on two of the kit parts, with two extra exhaust ports followed by a blanked off area being added to the other two. One of each style was then put on each of the engines, followed by the cowl straps at the rear. The fit of the engine to the rear nacelle only required minimal filler.


With True Details weighted wheels, Eduard brass etch torque links and a bit of brake piping, any Ju 88 undercarriage will look rather nice. However, the sit of the Italeri Ju 88 is far too high and to reduce this I dissected the oleo leg in two at the boot. The boot was then reduced to half its height, before holes were drilled in its two ends to accept a small brass rod for extra strength when the leg was reassembled.

With the addition of the scratch-built aileron actuators, this concluded the main build and thus the model was ready for painting.


I am fortunate to own a warm integral garage where I can use Halfords Primer, most of the fumes being sucked out of the door by an old cooker hood. Once the Primer was dry, I set about applying the three primary Luftwaffe colours of this period, RLM 70 Black Green and RLM 71 Dark Green, over RLM 65 Blue Grey.
This stage is perhaps one of the most subjective stages and it all depends on what look you are after. There is nothing wrong with the ‘display look’ if that is what you like – after all it is you that has to look at the finished model every day. As for me, I prefer the ‘in the field look’, but try to be a little moderate. I have been very impressed with the pre-shading technique that you would probably have seen mostly in articles about 1:48 scale projects. I have not had much success with this in 1:72, but I had just purchased a Badger 150 twin-action airbrush and was keen to have another bash at that coveted technique. I decided on a three-stage application of each colour, with the main colours being in Polyscale acrylic and the lowlights in enamel. First on was the RLM 65, which was followed by a Humbrol mid-grey colour, applied as neatly as possible along the panel lines. 

Although primarily included to show the details and location of the fuel dump pipes at the extreme rear fuselage, this shot also shows the deflected rudder and elevator surfaces.

Left: There is considerable scope for adding detail to the kit undercarriage legs. Etched torque links, complete with lightening holes, and a brake pipe from wire look the part.

Left: John added revised exhausts to his resin engine cowlings. Note that the spinner has been drilled to accept new propeller blades.

Below: A minimum of filler was needed to blend the resin engine cowlings into Italeri’s nacelles.

The lower surfaces were then given a lighter dusting of RLM 65. (Some people go for a four-stage application and introduce highlights as well as lowlights.) After masking, on went the RLM 71, which had an enamel darker green applied neatly to the recessed panel detail, followed by a light dusting of the primary colour. After the tedious masking of the splinter pattern, the same process was repeated for the RLM 70. When all the masking (apart from that on the clear parts) was off, the model looked great, but for some strange reason it did not stay that way. The final step was to coat the whole model in acrylic Polyscale gloss varnish. In the process of doing this, I noticed that my model’s painted surface was rather rough: either I had not buffed in the Halfords Primer, or I had got some Primer dust on the model while spraying some other parts. Whatever the case, the only solution I could think of was to use micro mesh wet and dry to polish my model without taking the paint off. 

Thankfully, I ended up with a nice enough surface on which to apply another coat of gloss before decaling. But where had my upper lowlights gone? They had either never been dark enough in the first place, or I had indeed polished them off, leaving slightly highlighted panel lines instead. I am at a loss as to how this happened, with even the darker paint in the recessed panel lines disappearing, but I actually like the look it gave me on the finished model.
Next on the ‘to do list’ was the painting of various smaller detail items, such as the exhausts. These were painted black and then dry brushed with Citadel Tin Bitz paint for what I think is a rather satisfactory finish.

Decals junkers italeri

In the end, I opted for the Ju 88A-1 on the AeroMaster sheet, since a clear photograph of this machine can be found in the Squadron/Signal In Action volume on the Ju 88. Surprisingly, AeroMaster fails to provide the underwing individual aircraft letters, in this case ‘L’. I was thankful that the photograph also confirmed the absence of the additional cross markings on the dive brakes, since I was starting to feel rather lazy by this stage. A few stencils came from other sources – namely the old Tally-Ho Ju 88 decal sheets.


With the decals well bedded down, the model was given a coat of acrylic Polyscale flat finish. Onto this was brushed black pastel exhaust staining, followed by a trace of reddish-brown (as seen in colour photos) using the airbrush. Once dry, another coat of flat sealed the pastel in.

Right: Micro Set and Sol must be used in quantity, but with great care, in order to successfully employ John’s technique of using decal strip for canopy framing.

Below right: The finished result is well worth the effort though. The ‘pilot’s curtains’ add greatly to the cockpit area.

images of airplane

The canopy and nose masking was then removed and work began on applying decal strips of the appropriate colours to the Falcon frame detail. It is a rather slow technique but one I am rather happy with. You must remember to use enough Micro Set and Micro Sol decal solution to ‘melt’ them on. Too much, however, will run onto the matt finish and stain it.
Finally, all those smaller detail items like the rack antennas (offset to starboard), machine-gun barrels, pitot tubes (which were replaced with steel guitar string), the radio mast, propeller blades, the gondola hatch, the entry ladder and the undercarriage doors were added. The bombs came from the spares box, since those in all the Italeri Ju 88/188 kits have the annular collar that makes them look like armour-piercing bombs used for anti-ship work. Braces were added to the fins of the bombs that I decided to use, and onto
the model they went, to complete a project that I have been wanting to do for a long, long time.


It is a little difficult writing a conclusion about your own products, so I will just say that the fit of the AIMS’ parts on the kit and their appearance, are just like your average ‘cottage industry’ resin parts. As for the subject – go on, you know you really want to add a Battle of Britain-era Ju 88 to your collection.

Junkers J и 88 In Action Part 1 –Squadron Signal

Junkers J и 88 Volume / – Waldemar Trojca

Classic Fighters and Bombers of World War II- Aerodata International

Ju 88 Kampfgeschwader on the Western Front- John Weal, Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 17

Luftwaffe Colours – Hikoki

Detail views and an overall rear shot serve to illustrate the excellence of John’s model making. The availability of his AIMS set allows other modellers to attempt a similar project.

This page: Overall shots of the Ju 88A-1, as modelled by John Mclllmurray from Italeri’s 1:72 Ju 88A-4 kit. The Ju 88A-1 was the first of 17 Ju 88A subvariants and the type flew its first operational sortie in the hands of I./KG 30 on 26 September 1939. John finished his model, using AeroMaster decals, as an aircraft of 7./KG 51 that was active during the Battle of Britain.


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Having discarded the Italeri bombs as unsuitable, John found replacement items in his spares box. Not being entirely happy with the replacement items, he improved them by the addition of braces. The underwing dive brakes are also worthy of note here, as is the individual letter ‘L’, which is missing from the AeroMaster sheet.


1. Canberra PR. Mk 9 XH135 returned to Marham with 30 Iraq mission markings and 16 marks for sorties out of Africa.

2. This is the Tornado Combat Air Wing badge – the combined marking of the Tornado squadrons deployed to the Gulf theatre.

3. Tornado GR. Mk 4 ZA542/DM, carried the name Dallas Dhu and DANGER MOUSE nose art, as well as a record of weapons released. All were carried on the port side.

4. Tornado GR. Mk 4 ZA592/BJ acquired this shark mouth, as well as mission markings on its port side.

5-7. ZA607/AB, another Tornado GR. Mk 4, became Delightful Debs, with mission markings on its port side. MAKE ALL SURE artwork was also carried on the port side, with WE ARE ONE artwork on a starboard side maintenance panel.

8. Tornado GR. Mk 4 ZD714/AJW Johnny Walker, gained mission markings on its port forward fuselage.

9. Tornado GR. Mk 4 ZD850/AJT wore this colourful Op TELIC 2003 nose art on its port side, with a message to the effect that The glory is in the giving.

10. ZG707/B, a Tornado GR. Mk 4A, displayed B. A.B’S nose art on the port side, as well as a large weapons tally.

11-12. Another Tornado GR. Mk 4A, ZG726/K featured Kylie nose art to starboard, with mission markings carried to port.

13. ZG794/F a Tornado GR. Mk 4, displayed the name Glenfarclas to port, as well as mission markings.

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