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Italeri + Toad in 1/72 scale
Junkers Ju 388 V2

by Jan Forsgren


Junkers Ju 388 V2


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The Junkers Ju 388 was developed from the Ju 188 as an advanced night fighter intended to replace the Ju 88G in service with the Luftwaffe. It differed from the Ju 188 in several aspects, the two most prominent being a remotely controlled gun turret in the tail and a completely new front fuselage with pressurized crew compartment. The engines were intended to be either BMW 801G or Jumo 222, but late delivery problems lead to twin BMW 801TJ power plants being mounted on the prototypes.

The V-2 was built as a prototype of the intended Ju 388J-2 series. It carried SN-2 radar with the characteristic Hirschgeweih antennae. Offensive armament consisted of two MG 151 and  two MK108 cannon in a ventral gondola arrangement plus two more MG 151s mounted in Shräge Musik mid fuselage configuration. The V-2 was test-flown in the beginning of 1944, and it has been fairly well documented on a few preserved photographs.



It is believed that at least one of the Ju 388 prototypes was tested operationally by Kommando 388 early in 1945, but naturally it was too late for the 388 to reach series production. The only Ju 388s to achieve operational status were the "K" (bomber) and "L" (reconnaissance) models.





Toad Resin Conversion

In 1995 I bought the Toad Resin Ju 388 conversion set from Peter Long (resin and white metal) for the Italeri Ju 188. For five years the small red box lay beside my workbench collecting dust as I was not really pleased with the kit, until I finally decided to do something about it. The resin fuselage was 5 mm too long, warped and too round compared to my opinion of the Ju 88 family fuselage, and the white metal propellers were totally unusable. Actually, the best I can say of this conversion set is that it triggered my interest in the 388!



In the end all I used was the fin, tail turret and the canopy, the engines were also used, but only as a basis for the completed ones. A few white metal items were also used. I have some other Toad conversions that are much better, so they must have had a bad day!


The Italeri 1/72 scale Ju 188

This is an old kit with raised panel lines, but all in all a sound kit. The Ju 188 has the late style large fin and stabilizers and longer wing tips needed for the 388. The cockpit interior is sparse and the landing gear is not as good as that in the AMT Ju 88 kits, so several kit boxes were opened! I have a batch of old Ju 188 and Ju 88C Italeri kits, and some AMT Ju 88 G and C’s for projects like this.


Fuselage Construction

This left me with the pleasure of a considerable scratch-building effort! A new forward fuselage was built up from plastic card. The nose was built from layers of plastic card with brass tubes to insert the radar antennae poles into. The nose was completed with more plastic!

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Rear bulkhead and seats were taken from the AMT Ju 88G kit. A square hole in the floor for the crew access hatch was made. The interior was painted dark gray and dry brushed and the seats received belts from lead foil from a vintage claret bottle!

A recess was made around the edge of the fuselage where the canopy was to be glued, and the area in front of the windshield had to be built up with Milliput to fit the canopy. After polishing the canopy it was glued in place using Future and more Milliput was used up front.

The rear fuselage also required extensive reworking with enlarged cross-section for the tail turret. The lower part of the fuselage was built up around the wheel well with plastic card.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

For the Peilgerät antennae housed inside a Perspex window on the top of the fuselage I used an Eduard PE part inside a clear piece of plastic sanded flush and masked during painting.

The belly cannon pod was built from layers of plastic card sanded to shape after the old SMI drawings.

The kit had raised panel lines which were sanded down and as usual I tried to engrave thin panel lines.


Wings and Engines

The wing halves were scribed before assembly as it is much easier holding them steady that way. The wing halves were joined and the wheel wells glued to the underside.

Now it was time to join the wings with the fuselage, a very important stage in the construction! I was very careful with the dihedral and had the model in a jig while the glue set, but the next morning I was sure the wings were not at the right angle! I used my old Dremel tool and made a cut in the lower body where the belly pod would be, and carefully bent the wings upwards inserting small pieces of plastic card in the crack until I had achieved the right angle. The result was good and after some more glue and another overnight setting time I was happy!

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The Toad engines were very simple in the front end. Iit was sawed off and replaced with Italeri Ju188 parts and on the rear lower end I added exhaust shrouds from plastic card. The engines were mated with the wings, where some preparations had to be done, but it turned out very good.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Toad white metal scoops for the compressor were glued on the underside of the engine, and on the top white metal compressor exhausts were tried but did not look good enough and were replaced with scratch built plastic exhausts.

Propeller spinners were machined and received a piano wire shaft, and one propeller blade from the spares box was prepared and used as a master for resin casting.



Undercarriage legs and actuators came from the AMT Ju 88G, completed with Eduard oleo legs.

With the airframe almost complete I decided to pay some attention to the wings, and decided to arrange the flaps in the down position. They were removed with a razor saw and after some fitting work they looked good installed.



After some wet paper sanding the Toad fin was glued to the fuselage, and on the Italeri stabilizers I cut off the elevators and glued them in a slightly drooped position.



Painting and Markings


According to the AP Press book the Ju 388 was painted in the “old” bomber splinter scheme of RLM65/70/71 for the Ju 88, even the dedicated night fighter prototypes were painted like this.

The model was sanded with #1200 wet paper and washed in soap water before masking the canopy, and then the RLM65 was applied to the lower surfaces, except for the engines which on this specific airplane still were in the RLM02 primer.

All surfaces to be RLM65 were masked, and because the 388V-2 had a hard demarcation line between the light blue and the upper surface colors the masking was easy to do, then the RLM71 was sprayed. The RLM71 areas were masked and finally the RLM70 area was painted.


The Big Mistake

When all painting was done there was one area that was not as I had anticipated, the demarcation line on one side of the rear fuselage, so I repainted it. But apparently I used some old paint, because it did not dry!

The day for the exhibition was near so action was called upon! I placed the model under a 60 watt light bulb to dry. I left my hobby room to fetch something and of course I forgot the model completely, remembering it three hours later! I ran to my and saw a sight I do not want to see again. The lamp was at least 5 cm from the fuselage but the effect had been devastating and the fuselage sagged considerably! I tried to correct the fuselage by supporting the it and keeping it standing on its wheels. It did not turn out good, so after the fuselage had gone stiff again, the razor saw was used, and an hour of surgical work commenced.

A piece of the fuselage was replaced with new parts from my Ju 88 spares, and after Milliputting and rescribing painting was done once more, this time with new colors! The old, distorted piece can be seen in the photo!

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The Peilgerät antenna was also damaged and had to be redone, this was the third and final time!



I painted the areas needed and the final result was acceptable, but I can spot a few traces of this horrifying experience.

Superscale Balkenkreutze and Swastikas were used and the letters came from my spare decals box.



Finishing Touches


When the model was painted RLM70 I also painted a piece of clear decal film to be used for cockpit canopy framing. The decal was painted with matte Future and then cut in strips which were transferred to the canopy. The decal strips adhere quite well but care must be taken when washing the canopy from the decal solvents.

The antenna poles for the SN-2 were made from piano wire, not the perfect solution but a sturdy one! The antennas are from 0,12 mm piano wire, slightly longer than the thin brass tube in the center of the antenna. When preparing these small piano wire pieces I must admit that eventually almost every sharp piece ended up piercing my thumb! Aligning the poles and gluing the antennas was tedious but possible with some patience. The real antennas are not “telescopic” like mine but thicker in the middle, this is only one method of visualizing, maybe not the best?



There are more antennas, the right wing lower side have two FuG 101 radio altimeter antennas and both wings have FuG 217 tail warning whip antennas also on the under side. The lower fuselage have the FuG 16ZY (VHF radio) whip antenna, the FuG 25 IFF antenna and the FuG 10p trailing antenna for HF radio, all made from sprue stretched after heating (strue).

The remote tail gunner had periscopes on the fuselage behind the cockpit pointing up and down; Toad white metal parts were used.

All guns have brass tube barrels, note the Schräge Musik installation of MG 151-20 on the fuselage top.

From the Eduard Ju 88 PE set a crew access ladder was installed on the entry hatch.





Well, what can I say? I enjoyed the project - does model building get much better than this?

Special Hobby released their Ju388J-2 a few months before I finished my project, and of course I bought that model to compare. There are some differences, but I’m still very satisfied with my version of this could-be night fighter! AJ Press also released their two books of the Ju 188/388 about the same time which contains some useful information I could have benefited from, but isn’t this the beauty of modeling: whatever you do it can be made better on the next model!





The AJ Press books were too late but can be recommended, there are other books that are interesting but they don’t have so much to offer apart from the few known photos:

-          Griehl: Star of the Luftwaffe

-          Squadron Signal: Ju 88 in action part 2

-          Green: Warplanes of the third Reich

-          Schiffer Military: German night fighters in world war II



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

German Night Fighter Aces of World War 2
Aircraft of the Aces 20
Author: Jerry Scutts
Illustrator: John Weal
US Price: $19.95
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 June 5, 1998
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1855327147
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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2004 by Jan Forsgren
Page Created 08 November, 2004
Last Updated 08 November, 2004

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