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Junkers Ju 390

by Mike Knowles

Junkers Ju 390

Revell's 1/72 scale Junkers Ju 290 is available online from Squadron.com


B a c k g r o u n d


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 Fortress.

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 completed.



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 boggling.



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 decals.

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 project!)

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.


Painting and Markings


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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