Revell’s Arado 196 armed-reconnaissance floatplane (or seaplane, as you wish) is a fine kit of an unusual subject, for water-based aircraft are not exactly cramming the model stores. No matter, Revell has really gone to town with this one and given us a BIG 1:32 scale kit. Even a two-seater like the Arado comes out a good size at this scale - the wingspan is 393 mm (15.5 in), and 192 components make for a very complete build.
Detailed kit and options
Among the features are neatly-scribed recessed panel lines, excellent detail to the front cockpit and similarly careful treatment to the rear gunner’s station, with its machine gun mount and ammo magazine.
Revell offers various options, such as assembling the wings in flight or folded positions, optional propeller types, decals for two versions and much more besides. The ailerons and air brakes are separate components.
As for the real thing, it first flew in May 1937, followed by service entry with the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) in November the following year. It was a good handler and popular with its crews - and as the standard armed-recon aircraft, was used across all German naval theatres during World War II. There seems to be no agreement on actual numbers built: we’ve seen figures ranging from 435 to 541, so take your pick. Whatever, it was a tidy-handling, successful package that took catapult launches and craned-up sea recoveries in its stride. Nominally a two-seater, there was room for extra bods to cram themselves in when occasion demanded, such as impromptu air-sea rescues and delivery of personnel.
The Revell kit makes a good comparison with the smaller Airfix 1:72 and Tamiya 1:48 offerings - old or new, they each show off well the fine lines of the Arado design. Let’s hope that with this kit, Revell follows the excellent example of Italeri in offering a complementary kit of well-sculpted personnel, and maybe some equipment as well - howzabout a launch-ready catapult, Revell?
See the Revell Arado 196 kit here.
And other Arado kits here.
The pictures show:
1-4 Revell Arado 196, assembled and painted.
5 Kriegsmarine engineers servicing an Arado 196 on the water.
6 Arado 196 ready for catapult launch from the battlecruiser Gneisenau.