Junkers Ju 390
by Mike Knowles
Junkers Ju 390
scale Junkers Ju 290 is available online from Squadron.com
The Junkers 390 was a 1944 stretched version of the Ju 290 transport
and maritime recon aircraft. By the comparatively simple expedient of
adding duplicate wing center sections -- complete with engine and
landing gear -- a six-engined behemoth emerged. With a total wingspan of
165' and a length of 112', it was easily larger than the B-29 Super
Envisioned again as a heavy lift transport/bomber, and even rumored
to be the enigmatic Amerika Bomber, the Ju 390 was the ultimate
Luftwaffe attempt to produce an effective long range aircraft. However,
the reality of the war caught up with the Luftwaffe planners in 1944,
and all bomber projects were cancelled with only two Ju 390 prototypes
Rumors -- and Internet chat continue today -- that a test flight from
France came within sight of New York City! Improbable though it may be,
the thought of these craft hauling German A-bombs to the USA is mind
Construction and Conversion
With the recent release of the Revell Germany kit of the Ju 290 (as
previously reviewed on this site), the opportunity to finally build the
Ju 390 is presented to the modelling community. The only previous
release I know of was the old vacuform kit by Sutcliffe circa 1973 which
I had only recently picked up at a local hobby shop. This conversion is
as close to an out-of-the box model as a conversion can be, including
Two Revell Germany Ju 290 kits were required for the project. The
fuselage was cut with a razor saw along panel lines immediately in front
of the wing leading edge, as well as behind the trailing edge. Plugs
were cut from the second kit at the same places and inserted in the
first kit. Sounds easy, huh? Well it could have been easy, but Revell's
kit has fuselage right and left halves, cabin roof, cabin floor, and
wing center section which must all be aligned properly.
The wing was much easier as I was able to remove the inboard engines
at panel lines again and reattach them to the full size wing of the
first kit. (NOTE: Although the wing is supported by four sturdy landing
gear struts and eight beautifully done tires, the wing is now so long
that there is obvious "spring" when you pick up the model -- I strongly
recommend wing spars be inserted in your model should you attempt this
The now stretched model was filled and sanded especially behind the wing
near the cargo loading ramp. Herein lies my only real disappointment
with the kit -- the ramp is completely wrong! Pictures I have seen on
the internet clearly show steps up the center section for people to
board with ramps on either side for vehicles, as well as ramp extensions
on the ground and up in the belly of the beast. There is an overly thick
ramp in the kit that is greatly simplified and just doesn't do the job.
After market resin replacement would be appreciated! In the meantime, I
just built mine with the ramp closed.
The paint 73/74/61scheme is from Sutcliffe, and done in Model Master
paints, with mottling on the fuselage sides.
Weathering was by the "sludge method" as described in Fine Scale
Modeler Magazine, plus pastels for the engine exhaust. The markings are
hypothetical for a maritime recon aircraft of 1945. I used the kit
decals throughout, and (despite their flat finish) worked very well with
minimal Micro Set.
I spent about 45 hours on the model, including research. Revell Germany
has done a fabulous job on the Ju 290, and I recommend it to any modeler.
I invite you to try your hand at this 390 conversion.
You won't be disappointed!
A d d i t i o n a
l I m a g e s
Click the thumbnails
below to view larger images:
Model, Text and Photographs Copyright ©
2004 by Mike Knowles
Page Created 18 August, 2004
Last Updated 18 August, 2004
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