Revell of Germany 1/72nd Junkers Ju 290 A-5 "Seeadler"
Review by Steve Jantscher
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The Revell Junkers Ju 290 A-5 model aircraft represents proof (as if it is needed) that the major aircraft of World War II are fully and sufficiently represented in 1/72nd scale by the major modeling companies. I suppose the move to Luftwaffe '46 dream machines in the recent past also evidences the same, but the Revell of Germany Ju 290 "Seeadler" is the subject of this review. With only 11 actual A-5 types being built, the aircraft history is a very personal and well documented, if not well known, one. The round-about way this aircraft was developed from a commercial design, which in itself was a result of a failed military design, is interesting, and one should check out the story in Green's Warplanes of the Third Reich if interested. The fact that in late 1943, the Luftwaffe had a heavy aircraft with a twenty hour endurance, meant that the far reaches of the mid-Atlantic were finally to fall under the gaze of an increasingly hounded maritime support wing of the Luftwaffe (the 'A-5 actually entered service "in early spring of 1944"). The Condor was reaching the end of its operational life against the increasingly effective Allied convoy escorts, while the U-boats were retreating to the few mid-Atlantic sanctuaries safe from Allied shore based air support. Armed with the much improved Ju 290 A-5, the maritime support forces added the "long eyes" of the FuG 200 "Hohentwiel" search radar to the aircraft. Assigned to Fernaufklärungs-Gruppe 5, based in France, the unit operated until August '44, before being recalled to Germany, and refitted for various transport roles. The last operational Ju 290 was an A-6 that was flown by the Spanish Air Force until the " mid-fifties".
Given the limited military history of the type, I must conjecture that the reason that the Ju 290 was chosen by RoG as a major new-tool kit was because of the exceptional capabilities and engineering represented by the type. Plus, I think it looks cool! I know at least a couple of builders of 1/72nd scale Luftwaffe kits who were enamored with this release, so perhaps this does answer a pent-up demand. Coming on the heals of the He 177 A-5, and the Bv 222, this aircraft represents the same high standards Revell of Germany has evidenced in their recent releases. Beautiful, crisply cut recessed panel lines, on the now standard light grey slightly brittle polished plastic. This aircraft also suffers, if that is the correct word, from some slight "over engineering" which (as always) is due to the future possibility of producing other '290 variants with their different nose and turret layouts. This is a large aircraft, resulting in a big kit, with a wingspan of nearly 23 inches. My dry-fitting shows that with care, the five piece wing can be made to make a good fuselage fit. I don't know however, whether I would make the wing first, and then add the fuselage; or make the fuselage, then add the upper wing panes to each upper wing root (to insure a nice seam) and then fit the three lower wing parts.
About the only flaw in this presentation by RoG is in the packing. All this plastic, representing some delicate parts (the FuG 200 radar is very nicely represented with petit detail) are all bagged together. The decals, while being in perfect register, are the "flat finish type", which always gives me cause for concern. By the way, some of the photos show what appears to be mis-alignments between the wing upper and lower pieces. this is only due to sloppy taping, and the fact that the parts worked themselves loose during the photo shoot.
In conclusion, the overall impression of the kit will rate a 9, or 9.5 out of a 10 scale for detail and presentation. My only niggles would rise over the extra parts and resulting seam lines that were designed to allow possible future variants (an 'A-7 with the bubble nose would look real neat) and the flat decals.
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