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James H

1:32 Arado Ar 234B-2N

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1:32 Arado Ar 234B-2N
Fly Model
Catalogue # 32008
Available from Fly Model for 1640.00CZK (approx £47)

 

 

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The Arado Ar 234 was the world's first, purpose designed and built jet bomber. Its high ceiling capability also saw it operate mainly as a photo reconnaissance aircraft. Lack of room within the fuselage saw bomb pylons being fitted to the underside of the engine nacelles. The dual Jumo 004 engines and operational ceiling saw the type operate almost with impunity over the UK in the latter stages of the war. It has the distinction of being the last Luftwaffe type to have flown over Britain during the war. Whilst the Ar 234 only entered service in the latter part of 1944, its design requirement was implemented in 1940; around the time that the Battle of Britain had ceased. Unlike many aircraft of the time, the Ar 234 was quite smooth and streamlined in overall appearance, and had its wing mounted to the shoulder of the fuselage, with a Jumo 004 under each wing. The pilot sat in an extensively glazed cockpit which formed the nose of the aircraft.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O_jcI4fQVw

 

Problems in the design and manufacture of the jet engines saw the project stall until 1943, and by now, the tide of the war was turning against the Germans. Making its first powered flight in mid-1943, the performance of the Arado was exemplary, despite falling short of the RLM's requirement for overall speed. The original design saw the Ar 234 take off on a detachable trolley, and return to earth on a landing skid. Changes in the design saw the Ar 234 being fitted with an undercarriage which fully retracted into its fuselage. Numerous other design changes were tested, such as the use of four BMW 003 engines in both separate and duel nacelle layouts, and also the two-man night-fighter, which saw the rear fuselage being taken over with a radio operator's cockpit. Cannon was also fitted to a pod which was slung underneath the fuselage. That specific type is the subject of this review. By the war's end, 210 Ar 234 had been built, of all types, and despite numerous technical issues with the machine, the type was liked by its pilots, and proved manoeuvrable enough to even perform aerobatics! A key drawback of the type was the long take off distances, which led to accidents. To counter this, RATO (Rocket Assisted Take Off) units were suspended under each wing. When jettisoned, these fell back to earth on a parachute which was fitted to their nose.

 

There are indeed a number of aircraft which large scale modellers have waited patiently to see in regular kit format, and the Ar 234 is one such subject. Up until now, the 1:48 arena has been well served by the likes of Dragon and Hasegawa, and the only 1:32 kit is the amazing MDC resin kit, mastered by Radu Brinzan. If whole resin kits frighten you, or you just don't like the medium, then Fly Model's latest releases will positively delight you. Yes, you heard that correctly...releases! There are in fact TWO Fly Model Ar 234 kits now on the market, and today we take a look at the two-seat night-fighter.

The first thing that might surprise you is how small the boxes are for these multimedia releases. Fly Model produce short-run, low pressure injection moulded kits which incorporate resin and photo etch parts. I'm no stranger to their releases, and I have built their Bachem Ba 348V 'Natter', which featured on the cover of Military Illustrated Modeller. Fly's packaging and artwork is very attractive, even if the box itself isn't a super-glossy production as we see from the likes of Hasegawa etc.

 

Inside the box, there are FOUR tan/fawn coloured styrene sprues which have been packaged into a single re-sealable sleeve, including three bags of resin parts too, and an individually sleeved clear sprue. Packing all of those sprues into the same wallet has resulted in a few scuff marks which will need to be polished out. Plastic in short-run kits does tend to be a little softer, and of course, this has suffered a minor issue. Also included is a small sleeve with injection moulded night-fighter antennae arrays, a comprehensive sheet of decals, a photo etch fret, some wire and cord, a glossy colour profile sheet, and an A5 instruction booklet. The sprues themselves don't have ID letters, with the part numbers starting with the fuselage sprue, and ending with the antennae. For the sake of this review, we'll still call them 'A' and 'B' etc. There has been some discussion online about the source of the drawings for this kit, and possible accuracy issues. For me personally, I don't know enough about the Arado to comment on some details. Having seen the built up model on the Fly stall at Telford, all I can say is that it looked amazing, and every bit like the Ar 234 that I know. I'll leave any accuracy possibilities for another man on another day.

 

 

SPRUE A

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For the first time, we seen the unmistakable lines of the Ar 234. Whilst the fuselage is conventionally split into halves, the forward nose section is a single, separate piece. This will allow the cockpit to be built and installed before the nose is married to the fuselage. I give Fly real credit for just refined the surface detail is on this. Panel lines are extremely subtle. You feel that they will only just hold a wash. They are also evenly scribed, with perhaps the slightest loss of detail around the underside seam. This is no issue as I'd only have to replace the detail once I've sanded back the joints. As is correct, the forward main gear door is moulded closed, with only the strut door of course being an open area. A little flash will need to be removed, but nothing major. External surface detail is quite sparse, which is probably correct for the type, but there are a number of neatly engraved access ports, and some fastener detail. The rudder is also separately moulded, and the wing slots into a quite thin slot on the fuselage shoulder. As with the rest of this kit, there are no locating pins between parts. This is very common for short-run kits.

 

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The RATO units are included here, moulded as halves, and with some pretty neat filler port and strap detail. These parts are for the actual RATO unit, and not the accompanying parachute. The latter is included as resin parts.

 

Other parts on this sprue include the two-part nose-wheel, main gear doors, and also the bomb pylon mounting units which fit to the underside of the engine nacelles. I do think the wheel looks rather simplistic, and will need a little work to bring it to scratch. The inside of the gear doors are also devoid of any real detail, and could use a little work.

 

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SPRUE B

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Both of the wing undersides are moulded here, with integral ailerons and landing flaps. I would quite like to have at least the landing flaps as separate parts, but again, this is usually the approach with short-run kits, and it's only a minor criticism. Surface detail really is excellent, with numerous, fine panel lines and access ports. Also scribed are the external lines which indicate where the Jumo 004 nacelles will be fitted, minimising guesswork.

 

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As this aircraft is not a bomber, its pylons are occupied with fuel drop tanks. This was necessary due to fuselage fuel capacity being removed due to the fitting of the second crew position. The tanks are moulded as halves, and look every bit as good as those you'll see in conventional, contemporary kits. Detail includes hard mounting points and fillers. The main wheels are also far prettier than the nose wheel, with excellent internal and external hub detail which looks very convincing. Fine raised lines radiate from the centre of the tyre, outwards. Again, this looks very good. Wheels, however, aren't weighted, so you'll need to solve that issue yourselves.

 

Other parts on this sprue include the recessed, belly weapons mount which is superbly detailed, engine nacelle breather inlets, and also the rudder and elevator counter-masses.

 

 

SPRUE C

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Engine nacelles are supplied in halves, and into these will go a resin intake, and a resin exhaust which will be supplemented by the variable position 'onion' that controls thrust. Fine panel lines and fasteners adorn the exterior of the nacelles, and internally, a small raised step helps to locate the internal resin parts.

 

A two piece rudder is included, which is the only real part of the exterior to exhibit any rivet lines.

 

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Until now, we haven't seen any cockpit parts, but that is because the main parts are produced in resin. However, there are still a number of injection moulded parts on this srpue. One of these is the instrument panel. My only qualm with this is that it has moulded instrument face detail. In actuality, that detail is very good, if not better than many contemporary kits, but decals are also supplied for the faces, and raised detail makes them a little tricky to successfully attach. I do think the panel itself is good enough not to use the decals, but should you wish to, you could easily scratch-build a new panel. Having a glazed nose, the rear of this panel is very visible, and Fly include a series of resin.

 

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For me, the cockpit is one of the really attractive areas of the Arado, and would be either a deal maker or breaker. Fortunately, Fly have done an amazing job of this key area, and the side consoles are testimony to that. Detail is excellent, and there is plenty of it too. This will also be enhanced further with photo-etch levers etc. These are very busy areas of the pit! Numerous other cockpit details can be found here, including the rudder pedal slide mount rods, highly detailed control stick, and other ancillary instrumentation panels. Two internal side wall parts are also included.

 

The undercarriage parts are to be found here. Main strut gear detail is quite simple, but certainly sharp, and the various struts and forks are certainly more than passable. Other parts include the fuel tank/bomb pylons, Funkgerat loop base, and nose gear doors. Again, I'd suggest a little extra detail work within the doors.

 

 

 

SPRUE D

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Here we have the upper wing panels, exhibiting the same refined levels of detail as the rest of the airframe. I can't help but thinking that MDC's flush rivet tool, used with a soft touch, could really transform this model from great looking, to spectacular!

 

Those Jumo 004 'onion' parts are found here, moulded as halves. These are simple looking by design.

 

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Stabilisers are moulded with integral elevators. This is a bit of a shame if you wished to pose them. I may do that for my own build. Detail is supplied by means of finely engraved panel lines.

 

 

SPRUE E

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This small sprue is packed separately for a reason; it's simply so very fragile. It contains the dipole antennae arrays for the front of the machine, and also the small fuselage mounted loop. Forget the flashy appearance expected of parts like this with short-run. These are actually very good indeed, and could only be surpassed by using metal parts.

 

 

SPRUE F

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Again, clear parts are another area where short-run manufacturers can, and often do, fall flat with. I have always found the clear parts in Fly kits to be very good, and these are no exception. This clear sprue contains ELEVEN parts. The forward canopy comprises two of these. Framing is very good, and so is clarity. I always recommend dipping canopies in Klear to help enhance clarity, and level any imperfections. With this canopy, that could be doubly important because the black framing with the bolts is supplied as a series of decal strips, in the same manner as the MDC kit. You may want to paint the frames and then attach the decals, but that would be pointless. You can simply apply them directly to the Klear'ed part.

 

Ok, I do have another criticism here. With such a detailed cockpit, it would have made sense to mould the entrance hatch as a separate part, allowing it to be posed in an open position. Fly haven't done this, and instead, its moulded closed. I will drill this out and make a new door so that I can pose it open, allowing for a cockpit view.

 

Three out of the four schemes here call for rear crew position to be installed. If you do this, you will need to cut away a section from the upper fuselage, and fit a clear panel in place. You will also need to open up two circular apertures in the side, and glaze them too. Those parts are here, as are those for wingtip lights, and Funkgerat dipole window etc.

 

Plastic Summary
I don't really have any complaints about the styrene in this kit. There is a little flash and a few seams to remove, but there are no visible sink marks or other production defects. There is a lack of locating pin presence, but as I have said, this is very typical of kits of this type.

 

RESIN

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There are THREE bags of resin parts here, providing the real detail in this kit. All resin parts are produced by Artillery and are mostly cast in light grey resin, with a few parts in cream. Artillery do some great work, and these parts are no exception. Casting is flawless, and mastering is very detailed. Let's take a closer look, bag per bag.

 

The first zip-lock wallet contains no less than eleven chunks of resin. I say chunks because there are some quite hefty parts here. One of the largest parts forms the rear cockpit bulkhead with its associated detail (wiring looms, tanks, and junction boxes), including an integral nose wheel bay which internally forms the section to which the pilot's seat fits. The wheel bay is chock full of pipework too, and I'm sure will present more than just a little difficulty in access for painting. A large casting block exists to the rear, but this should be kept in place due to it housing the wheel bay. You may need to shave a little from the top so that it doesn't protrude beyond the top of the bulkhead.

 

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Port and starboard main gear bays are excellent. The box structures feature the various frames and constructional elements, as well as the row of access plates, numerous wiring looms and gear actuator jacks. Test fitting these within the fuselage shows that there's nothing to worry about. The location of them is pretty obvious. A little thin CA to initially fit, followed by a bead of epoxy, should do the trick nicely.

 

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A single casting block contains the bomb sight and pilot seat. Fantastic detail throughout, as you can see from my photo.

 

The other parts in this bag are the front and rear Jumo engine faces, with superbly sharp fan faces, and also the parachute packs for the RATO pods. These have been made to look like folded fabric, and really are very good. You'll need to employ some craft shading and highlights to compliment the detail. A casting block will need to be removed from the rear.

 

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The second resin bag contains a further six parts, spread over five casting blocks. Two of these comprise the rear radio compartment. In this area, the crew member sat facing rearwards, and the bulkhead for this section incorporates the side consoles, seat framework, avionics and padded headrest. The rearmost bulkhead needs to have its casting block removed because the centre of this is open. Again, this contains avionics/radios, and wiring looms. Another casting block contains a seat which is identical to that of the pilot.

 

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Three out of the four schemes presented in this kit, utilise the massive Magirusbombe gun pod, housing a pair of MG121/20 cannon. The pod is cast as a single piece, with separate barrels.

 

Lastly, the third resin bag contains six casting blocks which contain around another FIFTY parts. These include the numerous instrument bodies for the rear of the IP, oleo scissors, various cockpit parts (battery, map case, fuse board and oxygen regulator etc.), undercarriage parts etc.

 

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PHOTO ETCH

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This etch fret is different to that of the single-seater, as it contains two sets of seatbelts. Whilst I admit that these will be very useable, I think I'll opt for the more photo-realistic HGW set which has just been released for this purpose. The fret also contains the forward edging for the cockpit consoles, console levers, rudder pedals etc. Other parts include control surface actuators and the dipole array for the fuselage spine. The PE is superbly made, with small tags holding all parts in place.

 

ERRATA

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A small bag contains two pieces of cord of different diameters, and also a short length of rigid wire. I'm sure the cord is partly for the cockpit, with a length being used for the drag chute cable. I'm unsure what the wire is for at this time.

 

DECALS

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A single decal sheet is included, which contains both national markings, codes and serials and also a full suite of stencils and dashed walkway lines. As I have mentioned, the canopy framing lines are supplied as strips which you'll need to cut to length. Cockpit instrument decals are also supplied, but I will use the superior Airscale decals on my build. I hate it when swastikas are supplied in 2 parts, but they are here too. Worse, they aren't equal halves, which adds some awkwardness to getting them into the correct position.

 

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Decals are thinly printed and contain minimal carrier film. The colours are solid and authentic, and registration is perfect. You could wish for no more.

A glossy A4 sheet depicts the schemes, and these are:

  • Arado Ar 234B-2/N, W.Nr.140146, SM+FF, Oblt. Bonow and Ofw. Marchetti, Kommando Bonow, Oranienburg, 1945
  • Arado Ar 234B-2/N, W.Nr.140145, SM+FE, Hptm. Bisping and Phtm. Vogel, Kommando Bonow, Oranienburg, 1945
  • Arado Ar 234B-2/N, W.Nr.140344, T9+EH, Oblt. Erich K. Sommer, Campoformido Air Base (Udine), Italy, April 1945
  • Arado Ar 234B-2, W.Nr.140173, F1+MT, 9./KG76, Hptm. Josef Regler, March 1945

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INSTRUCTIONS
This is a 20-page A5 manual, printed in black and white, with shaded line drawings for stage illustration. All looks very easy to follow, and very comprehensive. You will need to study things closely to decipher what is plastic, etch or resin. Colour information is basic, so please check your references. I still think the manual is pretty clear about construction, and you should find no problem with it.

 

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Conclusion
Well, we have been waiting for an injection moulded Ar 234, but has it been worth the wait? ABSOLUTELY! Without a doubt, this is a great kit which drips with detail in all the right places, yet retaining the conservative appearance of the exterior. Detail fans will absolutely adore the cockpit and radio compartment, which are a seriously good multimedia effort. I can't vouch, as I have said, for any accuracy issues in cross section etc. I have no problem whatsoever with regard to what this kit offers, and how it is portrayed. It looks like a seriously fun build, and you'll be able to catch my build in a few months, in Military Illustrated Modeller.

 

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Very highly recommended

 

My sincere thanks to Fly Model for the review sample, and accompanying can of Czech beer! To purchase directly, click THIS link.

James H

 

 

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Great review, Jim!  I'm going to get around to the MDC kit I purchased from you one of these days!

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Great review Jim. Interestingly it was £70 at Telford, but only £47 on their site?

 

That's what's called a special show price

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Great review Jim. Interestingly it was £70 at Telford, but only £47 on their site?

 

Plus VAT 21%.... For me it`s show 73,50 euros...

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Great review Jim.

 

Sigh!  I just spent money as I have a feeling this could be Out Of Stock soon.

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Anyone know how to get ahold of Artillery?  I'd like a couple of those resin gun pods for a Ju 88 build that I would like to do....eventually.

 

Nicholas

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Plus VAT 21%.... For me it`s show 73,50 euros...

Didnt realise tax to be added. Anyway just ordered and came in at £60.13 so still cheaper than the show. Fingers crossed I dont get hit for import duty!

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Didnt realise tax to be added. Anyway just ordered and came in at £60.13 so still cheaper than the show. Fingers crossed I dont get hit for import duty!

 

The Check Republic is part of EU, so no import duty. :D 

 

Cheers

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Just ordered mine from Fly. As I live in Australia there is no VAT and free shipping to boot! Just shy of AUD $90 to my door. Another reason to love living at the bottom of the world!

 

Drooling may now start!

 

Regards,

 

Kent

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Jim,

Great review. As stated I have one on order. I was looking at the main wheels and wondering if a set of Roy Sutherland's Me 262 wheels would be appropriate? They seem to be similar if not the same to me. Your thoughts gents?

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I've sent Roy a email asking if he would consider doing a resin set for this bird.... Let's hope so!!

Cheers

Alan

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