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JeroenPeters

ICM Bücker Bu 131D

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1/32 Bücker Bü 131D

ICM
Catalogue No32002
Available from 
Hannants for € 34,13

 

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Introduction

It often happens that I receive a kit for review and think: ‘Mehhh… not my cup of tea…’. This happened when I received the new ICM Bücker Jungmann kit. Not a subject that I could see myself build. And then I start to do some research for the review and discover that there is a whole tribe of pilot enthusiasts that fly and maintain this particular plane. They have fly-ins all over the world where they show off their skills and planes. Planes that are painted in the coolest schemes. Ranging from original wartime liveries to post war Swiss training colours to candy apple red air racer. I’ve noticed that there is a large fan base for the Jungmann in the United States. In the sixties and seventies the Czech, Spanish and Swiss airforces started to sell their Jungmanns training planes and many were sold to private buyers in the United States. Today there are about 200 Jugmanns left, which is pretty much for a plane that saw the light of day in 1932! Many have been fitted with a more modern engine: the Lycoming O-320/360 with 180 HP (which is 80 HP more than the original Hirth engine). Today’s pilots flying the Jungmanns praise it for its agility, acrobatic skills and ease of maintenance. All of a sudden I get ideas get enthusiastic. Check this video if you need some motivation to get yourself one of these kits:

https://vimeo.com/266517423

Also take a look at this link with photo’s from the ‘Bücker treffen’ (Bücker meet) in Germany to get some inspiration for cool schemes:

 http://www.bueckertreffen.de/index.php/wilhelm/

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The scheme I’m drawn to? One in dutch livery ofcourse! Exactly one Bücker Bu 131 was purchased in 1937 by the dutch airforce. Later, in 1939, the dutch east india airforce purchased 6 planes.

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The Bücker was the first plane to come off the drawing tables of the Bücker Flugzeugbau GmbH. A plane very similar to the Tiger Moth, Stampe SV4 and Polikarpov Po-2. A plane that slipped under the ‘radar’ of countries like Britain and France that didn’t allow Germany to rebuild their airforce. That’s why many Luftwaffe pilots were trained before the war in civilian sport flying clubs, and this plane was perfect for the job. Light, cheap, aerobatic and easy to maintain. About 3.000 of these planes were built and some even saw frontline action. This would have been at the eastern front, where they were used in night time missions, harassing the Soviet front with little bombs.

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The Kit

Like with the I-16 kits, this kit is cleverly engineered and fully designed in 3D. Only three sprues (well actually two and one transparent) make up the entire model without skipping detail. The engine is there, a detailed cockpit and anything else you need. The boxing is (like the I-16 kits) strong. With a box top that slids off and reveals another top folding box inside. The fit of these two boxes is so tight, you want to be careful not to tear the top sliding box. The first thing that strikes is how small this plane is. Especially when comparing it to for instance a Fokker D.VII. The second thing that strikes is that the whole kit is made up from only two main sprues. The third is that there is NO flash at all and the detail is really crisp. I would rate this above Trumpeter and Revell. The plastic is strong, easy to work with and slightly flexible. I have seen some of these models already built over the internet and it’s a lot of fun to see people go crazy with their schemes. 

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Sprue A

This sprue holds that main components. Fuselage parts, wings, ailerons, rudders, cowling and gear legs. The surface detail could have been a little better in the sense that some is lacking. I’m talking about rivet rows on the engine cover and some fasteners on the fuselage. The wings were in reality smooth as a baby’s ass, so these are fine as they come in the kit. If you look at reference photo’s which are easy to find all over the net, you’ll see where you can add some detail. Like the hinges on the radiator cover. Easily made with thin plastic rod, with added small cuts every 1,5mm.

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Engine cover. Could use a little more surface detail:

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Check the hand holds in the upper wing:

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Fuselage detail:

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Strut attachments:

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Gear legs:

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Aileron:

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Sprue B

Here we have the engine, cockpit, prop, wheels, top wing, struts and radiator cover. The eyes are immediately pulled to the small Hirth engine. What a little gem. You will need to add quite some detail to properly show this though. I’m thinking: inside of engine cover, wiring and additional engine detail. But on a kit otherwise so straightforward it will be worth the extra mile. The cockpit framing is exquisite. The instrument panel is (like the I-16) a transparent part. This is definitely not something I like. I mean.. why?? Grey styrene, instrument decals and some Micro Clear for the glass. Anyway, this will work just as well if you paint the instrument panel first. Another thing I don’t get is (like with the I-16) the omission of seatbelts. Ofcourse you can make them yourself with some spare buckles and masking tape (or lead). You may even have some spares while you’re at it. But still a weird omission. Especially on a plane with 2 open cockpits. If you do choose to build this plane in a modern livery, like seen in my linky above, make sure to do some alterations on the cockpit. A modern harness, modern radio and probably compass. 

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Lovely prop with nice detailed bolts:

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Check out that crisp Hirth engine:

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Cockpit floor frame with foot boards:

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Wheels with brake details:

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More cockpit framing. No cleanup necessary at all!:

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Transparent Sprue

Here we have the two instrument panels. And the two wind screens. To be honest I would recommend filling the hole on the top fuselage where these slot in and not using these parts since, well, scale thickness. I would however use them as a template to cut my own from thin transparent sheet.

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Decals

No idea who prints these for ICM, but these are just lovely. Sharp, detailed and they register really well. 

Decals for four schemes are provided. Two from the Eastern front and two from Germany. 

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Scheme1: Bücker Bü131D
DR Military Wehrmacht Luftwaffe (German Air Force 1935-1945)
2./JG 54 KG+GB
March 1942

Scheme 2: Bücker Bü131D
DR Military Wehrmacht Luftwaffe (German Air Force 1935-1945)
2./JG 54 KG+GB
July 1942

Scheme 3: Bücker Bü131D
DR Military Wehrmacht Luftwaffe (German Air Force 1935-1945)
III./NJG 1 SA+ZV
1943

Scheme 4: Bücker Bü131D
DR Military Wehrmacht Luftwaffe (German Air Force 1935-1945)
unknown TA+AH
Bad Aibling | 1944

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The instruction manual (as this kit is designed in 3d) is pretty clear and well drawn.

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Overal:

A surprise to see this subject tackled in 32ndscale. A kit that I wanted to build since I saw it flown by Harrison Ford and Sean Connery in Indiana Jones. ICM is quickly climbing the ranks of quality model supplier and we welcome every release. This one is no other. Really well executed with attention to detail. Only critique is the omission of seatbelts and some surface details here and there.  

 

Highly recommended.

 

Our sincere thanks to ICM for providing this kit for review. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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