Special Hobby 1/48 Ar-96 (early version)

KIT #: SH 48067
PRICE: $35.10 from www.greatmodels.com
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with photo etch ,resin,  and vacuformed parts


The Ar-96 performed much of the same function in Germany as did the T-6 in the United States. It was designed as an advanced trainer to ease the move from training aircraft to the much faster fighter planes of the time. Probably the biggest difference is that often the Ar-96 would be pursued by enemy aircraft, a situation never faced by US trainee pilots in the T-6.

In addition to training units, these planes were used as unit hacks and fast courier duties. The aircraft was not only built in Germany, but also in Czechoslovakia where production continued for a period of time after the war. In total nearly 2,400 were built.


If you have built any of the more recent short run kits, then this one will be no different from them. Two sprues hold the finely engraved plastic parts. The sprue attachment points are admirably small and so clean-up will not be that difficult. Of course there are large sprue attachment points in the large parts like the wings and fuselage that will have to be removed, but it should be a relatively easy task. The overall condition of the pieces is good with little flash.

Typically, there is a bag of resin parts that includes your cockpit parts (and that means side wall pieces and seats with molded in harnesses), the wheel wells and the prop spinner. There is also a resin front engine section for the nose of the plane as this engine was an inline, air-cooled, inverted V-12. Some of the roll bar parts will have to be made from stretched sprue and the prop is a separate hub, spinner and blade affair that I really don't like in any kit. One of the options is without the star shaped spinner.  The radiator on the lower wing will need to be filled in from the backside and sanded off as it is not appropriate to the early variant. A photo etch fret that is not shown has the instrument panels and side consoles. Acetate instruments are printed to sandwich between the photo etch and plastic backings.

Instructions are the usual exploded views with small 'information' drawings showing placement of some of the smaller parts, a nice addition. Markings are for three aircraft. The box art plane is a Hungarian version with the red, white and green tail stripes and a nice camouflage pattern. The tail markings will need to be painted. In RLM 02 is a Luftwaffe version from 1939/1940 time frame. Finally, from the Slovak Air Force is an overall silver plane with yellow lower wing tips and fuselage band. The decals are superbly done by Aviaprint and include the usual segmented swastika.  


This, of course, is not the first AR-96 by Special Hobby as 1/48 kit #6 was also this plane, but the later version. I was hoping that the kit had been upgraded, but apparently not. Still, even though the engineering isn't the same as a truly modern SH/MPM kit, but it still builds into a nice model.

You can get this and other fine kits and accessories at GreatModels

May 2010

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page