by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
These days, we’re so used to the close tie-ins between kit producers and aftermarket accessories manufacturers, it’s almost the norm for near-simultaneous releases - but Eduard actually had their upgrades for Airfix’s new-tool Ju 87B on sale a good month before the kit itself was ready to ship.
With my pre-ordered Airfix kit only just shipping as I write this, it’s ironic that Eduard’s instructions offered me the first glimpse of what to expect in the kit.
There are three current sets – with the main one also available in a cut-down form as part of the Zoom range.
Item #49800 - Ju 87B-1Price: 22.95 Euros
Fret 1 - 72 parts - some pre-coloured (also available as Zoom FE800)
Fret 2 - 97 brass parts
Eduard pretty much leads the market with its pre-coloured photo-etched products and, as usual, the quality is excellent here with pins sharp detail that far exceeds the ability of most of us blessed with even the sharpest eyesight to reproduce.
The set combines both cockpit and exterior details, and construction jumps around in a slightly haphazard fashion, beginning by adding handles and a front face to the rack of MG17 ammunition canisters, before turning to the main instrument panel. This is is built up as a sandwich, with the perforated panel laid over the instrument faces. A drop of varnish in each bezel will complete the basic panel, leaving it ready for the addition of the tiny knobs and handles provided.
Next up come replacement rudder pedals and other small interior details, before skipping outside for meshes for the radiators. Then it’s back to the cockpit for a lot of extra detail on the sidewalls and the radios.
The canopy sections are treated to interior grab handles and opening levers, while the rotating machine gun mount in the rear section receives a new frame that must be carefully dished to shape. The gunner’s MG17 benefits from new sights, plus once again a handle and fascia for the ammunition drum.
From then on, it’s all exterior details, with new parts for the main bomb and its swing-crutch, and a frame for the aiming window in the belly of the fuselage.
The optional open gun bays in the wings are dressed up with new fascias for the ammunition canisters, and there are nicely detailed new hatches with retaining straps to sit on top of the wings next to the open bays.
Finally, there are actuators for rudder and trim tabs on the tail control surfaces.
Item #49801 – Ju 87-B1 Seat Belts (Steel)Price: 7.45 Euros
The obvious omission in the main upgrade is a set of seatbelts. These are sold separately, thanks to the main set covering both the interior and exterior. I have to say, I prefer to see a clear division between interior and exterior detail sets, with an interior set providing seat harnesses, although I guess a further reasoning is that customers may prefer to have a choice between pre-painted and fabric belts.
Eduard’s etched belts are very nicely done, with 18 parts that include mounting brackets, plus the sling-belt between the pilot and gunner. There’s been a change in how they pre-colour the belts recently, with the addition of shading to give more “life” and a slightly used look. The result really is very good, and the belts should look excellent once installed.
Item #EX536 – Painting MasksPrice: 8.25 Euros
The Ju 87’s “greenhouse” canopy is a prime contender for a set of die-cut masks to make painting much less of a chore. Eduard provide 50 masks for the canopy and wheels cut from kabuki tape. This is the best medium in my opinion, offering flexibility to allow it to conform to awkward curves better than most alternatives, and leaving no residue after it’s removed. While the set isn’t essential, it’ll be a huge time-saver (and sanity protector!).
ConclusionEduard’s detail sets look well thought out and should give a real boost to the Airfix kit. Although some of the parts are quite small, the etched sets don’t look overly complicated for newcomers to using metal upgrades.