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High-Flying Diesel

A 1/72 conversion of the civil Ju 86 to the Ju 86 R

n by Peter Ibes

After several years off the production line, the Italeri Junkers Ju 86 1/72 kit is available again, in both military and civil guises. It is a real pity so few built models of this kit are seen at shows. Even rarer is the special high altitude variant, the Ju 86 R. The RS Models resin conversion set allows you to build a model of this high flying diesel.

In 1935 the Ju 86 was the first modern bomber of the German Luftwaffe. The aircraft was a two-engined, all metal monoplane with a retractable undercarriage. A special feature of the Ju 86 was that it used diesel engines to drive the three bladed propellers. These had the advantage of long range, but had only a limited power output, while not being very responsive. Especially this last characteristic made these engines less suitable for a combat aircraft.

Junkers Ju-86K

In order to counteract the lack of performance of the diesels, Junkers also developed a version of the Ju 86 with BMW 132 radials, the Ju 86 E. In spite of this improvement, the Ju 86 was soon outclassed as a bomber by the Heinkel He 111 and the Ju 88. By mid 1939 all diesel engined Junkers Ju 86 As and Ds were fased out by the Luftwaffe, while the radial engined Ju 86 Es en Gs were transferred to the bomber schools.

Although the Junkers Ju 86 had almost disappaered from the front lines by 1940, this didn't mean the career of the aircraft was over. In the years prior to World War II Junkers had done a lot of research in order to develop pressurised cabins and high altitude diesel engines. In the autumn of 1939 the company proposed a new high flying version of the Ju 86 to the Luftwaffe. The proposal was excepted and Junkers immediately began to convert two Ju 86 D aircraft.

The new aircraft, with designation Ju 86 P, had two supercharged Jumo 207 A-1 diesel engines and a new short pressurised cabin, with ample room for a pilot and co-pilot. The gun turrets on top and below the fuselage had been removed and faired over, while the wingspan was increased from 22,5 to 25,6 meter. With these modifications the Ju 86 P was able to reach an altitude of 12.500 meter.

Ju 86 P

The Luftwaffe ordered 40 aircraft of the type, in two sub variants. Thee Ju 86 P-1 was a bomber, while the Ju 86 P-2 was a reconnaissance aeroplane with oblique cameras in the fuselage. The aircraft were used from the summer of 1940 over Great Britain and from 1941 on over Egypt (after the invasion of Crete by the Germans). Although patrolling fighters discovered the high flying Ju 86 P on several occasions, it was not 24 August 1942 that one was shot down - and then only by a specially modified Spitfire Mk V from Aboukir in Egypt.

Early 1942 Junkers had realised that allied fighter would some day intercept the Ju 86 P and work on a new version was started. This resulted in the Ju 86 R, which flew for the first time in the summer of 1942. The aircraft's wing span was increased to 32 meters and it had new, more powerful Jumo 207 B-3 supercharged engines, driving four bladed propellers. These modifications enabled the Ju 86 R to reach an altitude of 14.000 meters, far out of reach of any allied aircraft of the time.

The two high-altitude versions: Ju 86 P and Ju 86 R

Ju 86 R

Some Ju 86 Rs were supplied to the 1./Versuchsverband Ob.d.L.(1), to carry out some very successful reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union and keep the General staff informed of Russian troop movements. Also 2(F)/Aufkl.Gr.123(2) received some Ju 86 R aircraft, for use over Egypt and Libya. Both units used the aircraft extensively until the summer of 1944, when the type was finally withdrawn from service.

Specifications Ju 86 R-1 Wing span: 32,00 m Length: 16,46 m Height 4,70 m Max. take-off weight 9.500 kg Maximum speed: 420 km/u Ceiling: 14.400 m Range: 1.600 km Armament: 1 x 7,9 mm MG 17 Engines: 2 Jumo 207 B-3 (880 pk) Crew: 2

Building the model 

There is no ready made injection moulded kit of the Ju 86 R, but fortunately RS Models from the Czech Republic produces a resin conversion set that can be used on any Ju 86 from Italeri or Revell (of Germany). I used the Italeri's civil Ju 86, because I had it on the shelf anyway.

The conversion started with gluing the side windows and entrance door into the fuselage. They were smoothed in using putty. After putting both fuselage halves together, the first problem appeared. The civil Ju 86 had a shorter fuselage and lacked the 'bump' on top of the vertical tail surface. To correct this, the tail was glued onto the fuselage and the extension and bump build up using plastic scrap and putty.

The upper and lower wing halves were glued together next. After setting, the outer wing panels were sawn off using a razor saw, to make room for the extended wings panels from the conversion set. The same happened to the front end of the fuselage, which was removed as indicated by the RS Models instructions. After cutting a small nudge in the leading edge of the wings, for the small resin air intakes just outboard of where the engines would be fitted, the shortened wings were added to the fuselage.

Next the resin parts were prepared. First all flash and pour stubs were removed from the parts. They were then cleaned up using wet wet-and-dry sanding paper (always use wet sanding paper when working with resin parts. The dust is harmful to your health when inhaled). After sanding all resin parts were soaked in cold soapy water, to remove all dust and the mould release agent.

The cleaned up resin parts can now be added to the shortened fuselage and wings. The replacement cockpit is assembled first. This is fairly detailed, with two seats, a folding seat, an instrument panel, a control column and some moulded on detail on the cockpit halves. After assembly the cockpit was painted RLM 02 grey, with the details highlighted using several colours. De finished cockpit was added to the fuselage using super glue. Some putty and sanding was required here to fair in the resin cockpit, but when this was done the vacuform cockpit glazing was added, as well as the small air intake on the fuselage side.

On order to model the Ju 86 R, the wings were extensively modified. First the new resin engines and propellers were assembled and added to the wings using superglue. Some putty was needed here, as there were some fit problems with the resin parts. Right next to the engines the air intakes were glued in the previously cut nudges. Some putty is needed here as well. The new radiators could be glued below the wings, as indicated by the RS instructions. Next the new resin outer wing panels were glued onto the shortened wings. Again some putty is needed to fair them in, but when ready, the flaps and ailerons were glued onto the wings. The RS Models conversion set included the lengthened ailerons needed for the outer wings.

After adding the pitot tube to the nose and the antennae to the fuselage, the rest of the model was finished following the Italeri instructions.

Painting As the Ju 86 R was intended for high altitudes, the camouflage differed from the standard Luftwaffe splinter scheme. RS Models gives two different painting options for the Ju 86 R. One of 2(F)/Aufkl.Gr.123 was painted overall RLM 02 Grau, with a white fuselage band (4U+RK, R red with white edge), the other had a RLM 65 Leicht Blau under side and was RLM 76 Leicht Grau on top. This aircraft of 1./Versuchsverband Ob.d.L. had a yellow fuselage band, lower engines and wing tips and was coded T5+RM (black). In 'Aufklärer' a picture can be found of T5+PM of the same unit, in what seems to be a spotted camouflage scheme.

I choose to depict T5+RM, because of it's bright yellow markings, but I replaced the RLM 76 for RLM 02 light grey. Looking at the hue of the fuselage (picture in 'Warplanes of the Luftwaffe'), this made more sense.

The RS Models conversion does not include decals. The crosses therefore were taken from decal sheets no. 72.709 (He 111) and 72.139 (Ju 88) of Super Scale. The fuselage codes were made on clear decal sheet, using a PC and a laser printer.

  • Aufklärer, Luftwaffe Reconnaissance Aircraft & Units 1935 - 1945, David Wadman, John Bradley and Barry Ketley, Hikoki Publications, Aldershot, Hants, United Kingdom, 1997 · 
  • Junkers Ju 86, Joachim Dressel and Manfried Griehl, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA, U.S.A., 1998 ·
  • Warplanes of the Luftwaffe, David Donald, Aerospace Publishing, London, United Kingdom, 1994 ·
  • www.unsere-luftwaffe.de 



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