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Arado Ar 68E & Ar 68F

by John C. Valo

 

Arado Ar 68E

 


Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Arado Ar 68E/F may be ordered online from Squadron.com

 

Introduction

 

Classic Airframes' newest 1/48th scale release is the Arado Ar 68 biplane.

The Luftwaffe's last biplane fighter, the Arado Ar 68, straddled the gap between fabric and metal, incorporating a mix of construction. The kit captures the lines and feel of the time when designers were starting to refine streamlined airframes, yet clung tenaciously to the fabric-covered biplane concept.

 

 

Classic Airframes' 1/48 Arado Ar 68E/F

 

The kit provides parts and markings for either the elegant Ar 68E version or the somewhat clunkier Ar 68F. The fuselage parts are molded whole for the E version. You will have to replace the nose with the parts provided to build the F version.

 



The kit is typical Classic Airframes with delicately scribed plastic parts, resin interior and details and a vacuformed windscreen. My kits exhibited quite a bit of very thin flash around the plastic parts, which made for a touch more cleanup time than usual. The resin parts were well detailed and fit well, with the usual dry-fitting and sanding necessary (nothing like the Blenheim wheel wells, though - happy to say!).

Obviously, the first order of business is to decide which version to build.

This release provides markings for four wartime aircraft, one each of 68E and 68F in 70/71/65 or overall Black. I elected to build one kit as 'Yellow 2', an Ar68E in splinter camouflage, the other as a nightfighter Ar68F in overall Black.

A convincing resin cockpit is provided which looks great once painted, washed and drybrushed. The cockpit opening is rather small anyway, so it looks plenty 'busy' when installed.

 



To build the F version, you must remove the nose of the fuselage halves. This is a straight vertical cut.

The replacement nose parts are best assembled as a unit first, then attached to the previously joined fuselage halves. Mercifully, the fit was quite good on my kit. After this point, the fuselage assembly is straightforward. The one-piece tailplane attaches right at the point of the rear fuselage.

 



The upper wing has a very subtle flat section in the very middle, with dihedral on the outer panels. The kit is designed to join the upper wing sections at the center of the flat part, so care must be taken to keep the joint straight to align the outer panels at the proper dihedral. The lower wings are butt joins with no dihedral, so this is helpful later on in the assembly.

Credit must be given CA for providing well-defined locating holes for the interplane, tailplane and cabane struts, but the 'pins' molded on the ends of the struts are too soft in definition to work really well. I replaced the pins on the interplane struts with short lengths of copper wire (a ten minute job) and sanded off the cabane strut pins entirely. I assembled both kits' upper wings by virtue of the old 'Mk.1 Eyeball', CyA glue and this third hand I seem to have grown lately. Even so, I would heartily recommend a simple jig due to the fact that this is not a 'lock-in-place' kit. The interplane struts seem to be correct, but pay close attention to alignment and especially the angle of incidence of the upper wing.

 



Alas, the cabane struts proved to be a bit of a challenge, not aligning with the locating holes. This was the only real frustration with the kit, and for any future builds, I think it best to simply replace the cabane struts with airfoil shaped plastic stock, measured to fit.

Care must also be taken when assembling the landing gear, as there are no molded indications of the strut locations on the fuselage. A small diagram is provided in the instructions showing the position of the struts relative to the wing. The optional wheel spats are a butt join to the struts, once again without any molded indicators, so use slow setting glue, and use care in aligning them symmetrically.

The kit provides flame damping exhaust extentions for the F nightfighter, but compared to the few photos I have of the installation, they seem too long. As well as shortening the parts, I cropped the rear of the collector section and added a small piece of plastic rod to represent the rearmost exhaust stub. The rest of the stubs were the resin kit parts, to which I glued the collectors.

Overall the effect is quite convincingly goofy looking.

 

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

Both kits were finished with PollyScale acrylics, and the Microscale-printed decals went on without a hitch. The Ar68 rigging is not too tricky, and was represented by 1-pound fishing leader material. The antenna on the 68E was made from smoke-colored invisible thread.

As usual with CA kits, this model is not for the beginner, nor for the impatient. I would definitely recommend experience assembling limited-run kits, because of the necessary cleanup and dry-fitting which can be rather off-putting for the average Tamigawa modeler. Experience in building biplanes is also advisable because the kit is not a 'lock-in-place' affair. That being said, a great looking model of this important airplane can be built from this kit.

Thanks to Jules Bringuier of Classic Airframes for the opportunity to get my hands on the kits before they hit the shelves, and also to Brett Green for the opportunity to share this on his fantastic website!

 

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Article Copyright 2002 by John C. Valo
Page Created 06 July 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007

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