Kit No. 4203
Decals: One version – Lufthansa
Comments: Corrugated wing and fuselage surfaces; separately molded control surfaces for wings
The Junkers G 38 was a large four-engined airliner and transport flown by Lufthansa for most of the 1930’s. It took its maiden flight on November 6, 1929. Upon its debut, at 75 feet long with a wingspan of 144 feet, it was the largest land-based aircraft in the world, and was comparable in size to today’s jumbo jets. It had a crew of seven and could carry between 30 and 34 passengers, depending on the version. Due to its massive, very thick wings, its engines could be serviced in flight by on-board mechanics.
Passenger accommodation was luxurious by modern standards and was meant to rival that found on the competing Zeppelin service offered by DELAG. The plane was unique in that some passengers were seated in the wings, which were 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in) thick at the root. There were also two seats in the nose. The leading edge of each wing was fitted with sloping windscreens, providing these passengers the forward-facing view usually available only to pilots. There were three 11-seater cabins, plus smoking cabins and wash rooms.
A total of two G38’s were built. On July 1,1931, Lufthansa initiated regularly scheduled service between Berlin and London on flights carrying up to 13 passengers. The London-Berlin service was halted in October 1931 to retrofit the aircraft and expand the passenger cabin of the D-2000. The retrofit built a second deck into the G38’s fuselage, providing increased cargo capacity and seating for up to 30 passengers. Work was completed during the summer of 1932. Additionally the D-2000’s engine were again upgraded to four L88s, giving a combined power total of 2352 kW (3154 hp). Also at this time the D-2000’s registration number was changed to D-AZUR.
Meanwhile, a second G.38 – factory number 3302 and c/n D-2500, later changed to D-APIS – was built with a double deck fuselage and capacity for 34 passengers. Six passengers were carried in two compartments in the leading edge of each wing and the remaining 22, on two levels, in the fuselage. Lufthansa began scheduled service with D-APIS with a route including Berlin, Hanover, Amsterdam and London. Due to its massive size (for the time), luxury, and unique design, the G 38, like one rather famous zeppellin, provided Nazi Germany with a propaganda vehicle. Accordingly, the aircraft modeled by this kit was named the General Feldmarschall von Hindenburg.
In 1934 D-2000/D-AZUR had its engines upgraded, this time with Jumo 4 engines, giving a total power rating of 3000 kW (4023 hp). Both planes were in service simultaneously until 1936, when D-AZUR crashed in Dessau during a post-maintenance test flight. Lufthansa had to write off this aircraft due to the extensive damage, but test pilot Wilhelm Zimmermann survived the crash. There were no other casualties. The second G.38 – marked D-2500 and later D-APIS – flew successfully within the Lufthansa fleet for nearly a decade. With the outbreak of World War II D-APIS was pressed into military service as a transport craft by the Luftwaffe. It was destroyed on the ground during an RAF air raid on Athens on 17 May 1941.
Length: 23.21 meters, or 75.69 feet
Wingspan: 44 meters, or 144 feet
Height: 7.2 meters, or 23.6 feet
Weight, empty: 14, 290kg or 32,893 lbs.
Weight, loaded: 24,000kg or 52,900 lbs.
Maximum Take-off weight: 21, 240kg or 46,826 lbs.
Powerplant: Four diesel mixed petrol inline six-cylinder engines, operating on a two-stroke cycle with twelve pistons, in an opposed piston configuration with two crankshafts, one at the bottom of the cylinder block and the other at the top, geared together.
Maximum speed: 225 km/hour or 140 mph
Cruising speed: 175 km/hour or 109 mph
Range: 3,460 km or 2,150 miles (1880 nautical miles)
Service ceiling: 3,690 meters or 12,100 feet
Revell-Germany’s Junkers G 38 is molded in a dull silver-grey and consists of 79 injection molded parts, 23 of them clear plastic for the windscreen, various passenger windows, and landing and other lights. At 1/144 scale, it will build out to just over 16 centimeters long (about 6.5 inches), with a wingspan of about 30 centimeters (a foot long). Most of the fuselage and wing surfaces have a faithfully recreated, distinctive corrugated surface — a Junkers trademark — which is certain to require decal solvent to get the markings to lay down into the many grooves on the wing surface in particular. The control surfaces for the wings are similarly corrugated.
A unique feature of the G38 was its many windows, including those in the leading edge of the wing root allowing up to six passengers in auxiliary cabins a rare head-on view that only pilots would have on any other passenger aircraft (although the noise must have been tremendous, since the auxiliary cabins were just a few feet away from the inboard engines, even though separated by a bulkhead). The kit includes this feature with appropriate seating and curved windows. Also notable are the windows located atop the engine nacelles. The instructions are well-illustrated and easy to follow, with Revell’s standard paint flags. Four four-bladed propellers are provided, which will have to be handled with care, for the look quite delicate in this scale.
Markings are provided for the second of the two G 38’s, call letters D-APIS, which provided Lufthansa with Berlin-to-London service from 1933 until the outbreak of World War II, and was thereafter pressed into military service. Although D-APIS bore the Luftwaffe green-dark green splinter camouflage later in life while serving as a military transport (the subject of yet another Revell-Germany kit), this kit’s markings are for its civilian service during the 1930’s. Historical Note: Although a white background for the German swastika is provided among the decals, the swastika itself is not provided and will have to be obtained from aftermarket sources, if the modeler wishes an historically accurate kit — for the G 38 commenced regular passenger service just as the Nazis were coming to power in Germany.
An historic kit of a Golden Age Lufthansa behemoth, notable for both its size and luxury in its heyday. Highly recommended.