Altaya AB65 German Junkers Ju 88A-4 Medium-Bomber (1:144 Scale)
"Guns before butter. Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat."
- Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, Head of the German Luftwaffe
The Junkers Ju 188 was a German Luftwaffe high-performance medium bomber built during World War II, the planned follow-on to the famed Ju 88 with better performance and payload. It was produced only in limited numbers, due both to the presence of improved versions of the Ju 88, as well as the deteriorating war condition and the resulting focus on fighter production.
The prototype Ju 88B V1, D-AUVS, flew for the first time with the 801A/B engines in early 1940. The fuselage was identical to the Ju 88 A-1, which presented a problem: with the extra power, 1,560 PS (1,150 kW, 1,540 hp), the design could now carry considerably more load than the small bomb bay could fit. An additional external shackle was then added to each wing well outside the engines, although using the rack would seriously hamper performance.
During the summer, a pre-production run of 10 Ju 88 B-0 based on the pre-production Ju 88 A-4 airframes were delivered. The A-4 used a longer wing of 20.08 m (65 ft 10 in) span from new rounded wingtips for better altitude performance, when compared to the initial Ju 88A-1's shorter 18.26 meter (59 ft 10.75 in) span, but attention to streamlining and new "pointed" wing tips, somewhat resembling those fitted to the British Spitfire Mks.VII and VIII for their own intended high-altitude flight requirements, kept drag to about what it was earlier. The airframe changes moved the center of gravity slightly, so the glazed "cockpit" area was made slightly longer to re-balance the aircraft, while also offering better visibility for other members of the crew.
Service tests were all successful, and the pilots generally lauded the new cockpit design. However, the RLM still remained unconvinced that the small improvement in performance over the existing A-5's and future A-4's was worth investing time in. Instead, the pre-production models were modified as long-range reconnaissance aircraft by removing the guns, bombsights and external bomb shackles, and fitting fuel tanks into the bomb bay.
Several of the airframes were retained by Junkers for further development. One of these was fitted with the slightly updated 801L engines and a small power-operated turret on the extreme top of the cockpit mounting a 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine gun.
Pictured here is a 1:144 scale replica of a German Junkers Ju 188E medium-bomber.
Wingspan: 5.5 inches
Length: 4 inches
Release Date: September 2013
Historical Account: "Ascendancy" - As a bomber, the Ju 88 was capable of pinpoint deliveries of heavy loads; however, despite all the modifications, dive bombing still proved too stressful for the airframe, and in 1943, tactics were changed so that bombs were delivered from a shallower 45 degree diving angle. Planes and bomb sights were accordingly modified, and dive brakes were removed. With a quite advanced Stuvi dive-bomb sight, accuracy remained very good for its time. There was also another sight used for level bombing missions. Maximum bomb load of the A-4 was 2800 kg, but in practice, standard bomb load was 1500 to 2000 kg. Various models of the Ju 88 were used in the day fighter, night fighter, tank destroyer, and photo reconnaissance roles. Despite the protracted development process, the aircraft became one of the Luftwaffe's most crucial assets.
The Japanese Navy ordered the specifications of an antisubmarine Patrol/escort fleet aircraft, based on a medium bomber. The Kyushu company took the idea from the Ju 88 to create the Japanese equivalent, the Kyushu Q1W Tokai ("East Sea") "Lorna" antisubmarine patrol/fleet escort aircraft.