by: Kevin Brant [ ]
Developed by a veteran of World War, Carl Bucker, Bucker-Flugzeugbau GmbH first aircraft was the Bücker Bü 131 “Jungmann”. While being the first aircraft from the company, it was the last bi-plane built in Germany. The plane was built from steel tubing covered with fabric and metal and mounted a 80hp Hirth HM60R engine. The Bü 131A was first delivered to Deutscher Luftportverband and was picked to be the primary training aircraft for the Luftwaffe.
A new kit from ICM in 1/32 scale now provides modelers with the initial production Bü 131A
3 Plastic Sprues
1 Clear Plastic Sprue
1 Sheet of Decals
1 Instruction and painting sheet
Packed in a sturdy card board box, the ICM Bücker Bü 131A upon opening looks to be a decent kit. Molded on three sprues in light gray, two large and one small, the moldings look to be crisp and clean, with some very small amounts of flash(excess seam) on the smaller detail parts. The details parts looks to be well done, including the delicate steel tubing frame for the cockpit. There is nicely done recessed panel lines where needed and the ribbing under the cloth looks good. The control surfaces are separate for those who like to position them.
For the cockpit, being open, most detail looks to be there, as there was not much in the original either. The big notice is the lack of seatbelts, also there is a lack of any finer details like the wiring from the throttles, etc. A kit this scale with an open cockpit deserves a little photo etched detailing. A bit of a mystery is the instrument panels in molded in clear plastic with the instruction to paint black and a decal for each is included.
There is also an engine included, if you wish to keep the engine panels open. While it does look good on its own, it is missing some finer details like wiring and hoses. Again some photo-etched parts here would have been nice.
Looking at the instructions, they do look rather straight forward and should be easy to follow for assembly. Construction is spread out over 50 steps, some very simple, with just a single part. There are paint callouts throughout referencing Revell and Tamiya colors. At the end they have even included a rigging diagram, but did not include any material to complete the rigging. It should be noted that the rigging for the Bü 131 is not as intense as some of the earlier bi-planes, hence may not be that difficult to complete.
Markings are included for two aircraft, one from 1936, displaying the 1936 Olympic Rings for the event that was held in Berlin that year, as well as generic marking for an aircraft in 1939. It should be noted that there is no Swastika decal provided for the 1936 marking scheme, so that will have to be sourced elsewhere.
As for the decals, they do look to be very well printed. My only issue is that the cockpit instrument decal is one piece for each panels, and the front panel has a raised center section that may make the decal difficult to align and seat. I would suggest if you have a whole bunch to separate them or at least cut the decal apart.
This does look to be a very decent kit from ICM, delivering a pre-war aircraft and trainer for the Luftwaffe. While the moldings look good with crisp details, the kit could have used some photo-etched details for both the cockpit and engine. The kit does look like it will build into a very nice looking model with some care and extra bit. I would recommend this kit.