1/72 Antares Models Junkers EF 132

Gallery Article by Mark Stevens on Mar 30 2011

 

I have been a fan of Luft 46 project aircraft for a number of years. The genre has not been ''flavour of the month'' for a while now so when a kit of this size and quality was announced by Marcelo Russo of Antares models I could not wait to get my hands on it. It's a full resin kit with white metal undercarriage and vac formed canopy plus a spare. The nose is a separate piece, as is the tail, with a slide in cockpit tub which made detailing and painting easy. I always fit pilot and crew figures to my planes. These are a mix of PJ Productions and Preiser figures. I fitted the canopy and framed it out with paper strips held on with Kleer. 

The centre section of the fuselage required careful alignment and I made sure the main undercarriage well was sitting square. I fitted the nose wheels and the rear pair of main wheels with epoxy, letting them set as the model rested on blocks on a flat surface. I made sure the wingtips were at the same height. Then the second pair of main wheels went in and were allowed to drop to ground level as were the outriggers which followed later. All wheels have a 'flat' on the bottom to suggest weight. 

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I had to raise the starboard wing about 1.5mm to get them to line up along the top of the fuselage. I used screws to hold them in place while the joints were flooded with superglue. Before fitting the nose I added a lump of lead to prevent tailsitting. The kit has basic control surface panel lines so several hours were spent adding more. To prevent bubbles Marcelo casts the flying surfaces with a trailing edge about 0.6 thick. These were sanded down to a realistic feather edge. I also added turned brass and aluminium jet exhausts and cones made on my lathe. The 6 x 5,510lb thrust Jumo 109-012's have a distinctive cone shape. 

I used some of Robert Schatton's superb turned brass gun barrels to detail up the Rheinmetall-Borsig FDL-131/Z turrets which sit above and below the cockpit. These turrets are remotely controlled and sighted by a crew member through a PVE11 periscope. The kit replicates these and they make a strong feature. 

Note the periscope is offset. I modelled the 2 fixed 20mm cannon mounted below the nose by drilling and inserting small bore brass tube.

The decals are from a 1/48th sheet for Junkers 88s by Aims. This (fictitious) aircaft served with KG3. According to Dieter Herwig and Heinz Rode's book ''Luftwaffe Secret Projects; Strategic Bombers 1935-45 the Junkers EF132 was the last project by this famous company. The 1 to1 scale wooden mock up was captured by the Soviets in 1945. The powerplants buried in the wingroots gave excellent aerodynamic results with wind tunnel models. The 35 degree swept wings being shoulder mounted gave a large 39' 4'' bomb bay with a max load of 11.020lbs. The cabin was fully pressurized for a crew of 5.

Mark Stevens

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Photos and text by Mark Stevens