Bucker Bu 131 “Jungmann” by MPM

1/48 scale
Kit No. ?
Cost: $12.00
Decals: One version – Luftwaffe trainer
Comments: Historically significant kit, but limited run crude injection molding

History

In the early 1930’s, Germany was in need of a light sport aircraft that could double as a military trainer. To avoid an obvious violation of the Treaty of Versailles, which prohibited Germany from rebuilding an air force, the German government began to invest in over-seas companies such as SAAB, a Swedish subsidiary of the Heinkel company, then managed by Carl Clemens Bücker. Once it was obvious this plan wasn´t working out, Germany started acting more openly and moved the manufacture of aircraft back to Germany. Bücker moved back to his native country and brought Anders Andersson, a Swedish engineer at SAAB, with him.

Rather than working again for Heinkel, and foreseeing what was about to take place in Germany, Bücker decided to start his own company, ‘Bücker Flugzeugbau GmbH’ . Within six months of the requirements for a new powered trainer being issued, Anders Andersson had the prototype Bü 131A ‘Jungmann’, registered D-3150 and powered by a 80HP Hirth HM-60R, ready for its test flight. A light aerobatic biplane, with two seats in tandem, its construction incorporated the most innovative techniques.

The Bucker 131 “Jungmann” (translation: Young man) was an important German trainer of the 1930’s, and was a contemporary of the Morane 230 in terms of its period of service as well the uses to which the design lent itself – aerobatics as well as pilot training. The prototype first flew on April 27, 1933 – just over 3 months after Adolf Hitler came to power – and the Bu 131 later figured prominently in Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe, having been the aircraft on which so many of its pilots received their initial training.

The Kit

MPM’s Bucker Bu 131 kit consists of 29 injection molded brown and white plastic parts, and a clear vacuform windscreen. Overall it is crudely molded with very little detail, but surprisingly the fuselage bears engraved panel lines – as do the wings, for the ailerons. The propeller bears no shaft and is simply glued onto the leading section of the engine cowling. The cockpit interior includes seats, rudder pedals and control columns for the pilot instructor and student, but there are only blank tabs for the instrument panels with neither decals nor raised, molded panel detail.

There is no copyright date on the kit, but based on its simplicity, it appears to be a relatively old MPM effort , albeit with very attractive box art. On the plus side, the crudeness of the kit leads one to expect ruggedness, and there should be little trouble attaching the upper wing – the typically difficult stage of model biplane construction. The decals are glossy and slightly yellowed, and appear to have been manufactured with a slight residue that may affect their final appearance.
While the instructions show two versions of decals — one for a Luftwaffe trainer bearing German crosses and swastikas, although the latter are broken up into two parts each, and one for a trainer of the Czech Air Force – only the German markings are provided in the kit. The heart of the instructions consist of a single, large exploded drawing, and thankfully include instructions on rigging the support wires.

I am glad to recommend this kit due to its historical significance and relative rarity, but it is rather simple and will only become what the modeler is able to make of it. Kudos to MPM for bringing forth this rare offering.

References

  • www.v-aviation.com
  • www.wikipedia.org
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