The Ju-87 was designed in the 1930s as a precision dive-bomber. Its design allowed for steep dive angles that essentially allowed the pilot to place a bomb on whatever was under the nose of his aircraft. The swing-arm bomb release mechanism would swing the bomb clear of the aircraft (if the bomb was simply released from under the fuselage without the swing-arm, the bomb would fall through the turning propeller!).
One of the innovations in the design of the Stuka was an automatic dive recovery system that would continue to pull the nose up from the steep dive should the pilot black out from the high G-forces. Someone else came up with the bright idea to stick whistles on the landing gear fairings to create what would become the frightening sound that made the Stuka ‘famous’.
While an essential part of the early Blitzkrieg, the Ju 87 proved vulnerable to air attack during the Battle of Britain and was relegated to operations where the Luftwaffe had better air superiority – the Russian Front. One noteworthy version of the Stuka was the Ju 87G-2 which sported a pair of 37mm Flak guns in pods under the wings. From a comfortable dive angle, the firepower of these guns could easily punch through the armor of Soviet tanks at their weakest point – from the top. One pilot who became the leading tank ace with the Stuka was Hans-Ulrich Rudel, the most decorated Luftwaffe pilot of the war. He claimed 519 Soviet tanks destroyed!
Academy has re-released its Ju 87G kit with retooled wings to reflect the extended wingtips on some of the tank-plinking Stukas, including the personal mount of Rudel. Molded in Academy’s usual light gray styrene, the kit is presented on five parts trees and one additional tree containing the clear cockpit transparencies.
According to the instructions, there is one tiny part not used in this version, so the only spares you’ll have after building this bird is the set of canopies you don’t use. Two are provided, a one-piece affair reflecting the front and rear canopies closed, the other a four-part set for open canopies.
Since this version of the Stuka was a dedicated tank plinker, the bomb(s) and centerline swing arm are not present in this kit. Instead, we have the 37mm Flak gunpods that are mounted just outboard of the main gear.
The kit retains the rear gunner station to provide the aircraft with some measure of self-protection. I don’t know if the opportunity ever arose, but a nosy fighter would not do well against those 37mm guns.
Markings are provided for one aircraft, a Ju 87G-2 of the commander of SG 2, Major Hans-Ulrich Rudel as it appeared in the summer of 1944 over the Russian Front.
The Academy Kanonen Vogel (Canon Bird) is not the only Ju 87G-2 on the street (this was also done by at least Fujimi and Italeri). The shorter-winged Ju 87G-1 has also been released by a number of companies over the years. In any case, at the price, this kit is an excellent buy and will be an easy build. Recommended!