Tuesday, 9 May 2017

NG Decals "Signal Stukas" -sharkmouth Ju 87 B-1 from II./St.G 77 in May 1939 for the new-tool Airfix Ju 87 B-1 in 1:48th

When building the new 72nd scale Airfix Ju 87 B-1 recently I recall thinking that there were not many schemes available for this variant. The same applies to their new-tool B-1 in 48th scale. Evidently Raphael Groteclaes thought the same - but he decided to do something about it for the benefit of Luftwaffe modellers everywhere!

 Under the label NG Decals he has producing a new sheet specifically for the new Airfix Ju 87 B-1 in 1:48th scale featuring the machines of II./St.G 77. II./St.G. 77 was formed on 01 May 1939 in Breslau-Schöngarten from II./St.G.165. Clemens Graf von Shönborn-Wiesentheid was appointed Geschwaderkommodore. The German propaganda magazine Signal published a photo report on the unit's Sturzkampfflugzeuge dive bombers - the Stuka would soon become synonymous with 'Blitzkrieg' in Europe. While often assumed to have been taken during the campaign against Poland, they are in fact pre-war images, but as far as I am aware these machines have never before featured on a decal sheet.

Below; II/St.G.77 Stuka line-up, May 1939 - the majority of the units aircraft had white spinner tips (4.Staffel) and white painted identification numbers on the engine cowling. The shark-mouth machine nearest the camera - 'white 10' on the wheel spat - features an eye painted on the engine cowling, green spinner tip and a rather uniform colour scheme with no evidence of a splinter pattern. 'White 9' has some sort of pattern on the fuselage sides aft of the cockpit, looking more like an over-painted pre-war three tone such as found on earlier Ju 87 A and Ju 87 B-0 prototypes than the well-known RLM 70/70 scheme. However, a closer look at the picture seems to indicate that it has been re-coloured. Factory registration number (Stammkennzeichen) starts with VK+ ??, last letter could be K, P or R. Standard straight demarcation line on 'white 9' on lower engine cover. There are two versions of  'white 10' featuring the sharkmouth on the new NG Decals St.G 77 sheet - one for the factory code VK+ER. and the second enables the modeller to apply the unit code 'S2'  (in this instance S2+AC) The individual aircraft letter "A" is painted green in this second option. 'White 10' was flown by Major Alfons Orthofer who was awarded the RK on 23 November 1941.

 The new NG Decals sheet is printed by Cartograph in Italy and features a full set of stencils, four different sizes of Balkenkreuze - not to mention swastikas which do not appear in the Airfix kit - and, most importantly, decals for the never-previously identified Stammkennzeichen codes on those 'famous' propaganda colour pictures (the Kette of Ju-87 and the diving Stuka dropping bombs). As mentioned there are two options for the sharkmouth 'white 10'. Fitting the sharkmouth will probably be quite tricky as they cover the exhaust ejector stubs - not having seen the kit yet I would imagine that the best way to proceed would be to paint and decal the engine cowl/forward fuselage prior to attaching to the main body of the aircraft so that the exhausts can be inserted from the rear once the decals are dry. Do let me know if this is not the best way to proceed! (falkeeins at aol.com) Six aircraft are featured on the sheet, each of which are fully described from available references and feature Raphael's astute commentary and observations. Side view artworks come on an A3 sheet while text is provided on an A4 sheet. Entitled 'Signal Stukas' Raphael's new decal sheet is available from Ebay.com, Ebay.de or Ebay.fr or directly from the producer at NGModels@orange.fr