Review: Videoaviation 1/32 GBU-38 Finished

At a Glance


Last summer, I penned a build review of Videoaviation's 1/32 GBU-38's and promised to post a follow up after giving the little bombs a proper finish. This is that follow up, albeit late, but better so than never.

 These were actually some of the first pieces of resin ordnance I had ever assembled and it shows. My novice level of experience coupled with the lack of any sort of proper alignment aids caused some problems in the final product as you can see.

The bombs do not include any sort of index pins or tabs to align the bomb body and KMU tail section. It was all done the best I could at the time with my meager eye balls. The lines give you an idea of how far off I was on this particular bomb.
These alignment issues are trivial and won't be terribly visible once mounted to an aircraft's pylon or associated bomb rack. The set provides options to mount either a DSU-33 proximity fuse or just a hardened nose plug to the front of the munitions. I built one of each.

I only weathered the paint jobs slightly and used no oils or washes to enhance the look. These are as base as it gets. You should know that the GBU-38's seem to run a bit large in scale, a detail that stands out particularly when you compare them side by side to other munitions from different manufacturers.

Here Videoaviation's GBU-38 is centered between Eduard's GBU-12 on the left and Academy's kitted version on the right. Each bomb is a 500 lb Mk82 bomb body but by comparison you can see the Videoaviation's has more girth and appears slightly longer (if you only account for the bomb body, of course, and not the seeker heads of the GBU-12's).
This is really only a problem if you choose to mount the munitions side by side with a weapon from another source such as Eduard. Integrated loads are common on most modern fighter aircraft and having a GBU-12 in close proximity to a GBU-38 is a scenario that plays out often on A-10 Warthogs.

An A-10 elephant walk. You can clearly see a GBU-12 positioned next to two GBU-38's.
I have never been one to precisely measure the dimensions of a model and I am not going to start now. Whether or not the size differences detract from the aircraft's overall appearance will be up to you, the builder.
Either way, the munitions looks right at home when attached to a Wing Weapons Pylon from Academy's 1/32 F-16CG/CJ kit.

A photo of the real thing.

Still, the shape is decent and considering most modelers pay no attention to the finer qualities of scale ordnance, no one will notice.

The instructions suggest applying the stencil to the bomb body such that the text runs parallel with it. While this is correct, I chose to orient the stencil perpendicular to the bomb body. This is also an acceptable placement and I tend to stray from the norm which is why I opted to do it.

A GBU-38 being loaded onto a A-10's pylon. Note the orientation of the stencil on the bomb body reflects my selected placement. However, it is on the opposite side of the bomb than mine.

The placement of the stencils are not as standard as modelers like to think. Here you have GBU-38's with the stencil laid parallel to the bomb body yet on the opposite side as the picture above this.
A weathered GBU-38 about to be loaded on an F-16.

I am certain that Videoaviation's GBU-38's build into a fair representation of the real thing. They are hampered a bit by fussy alignment and perhaps a little pudginess but they are by no means off putting. They are a much needed addition to a market that, until recently, has neglected to produce modern ordnance in large scale. I am a growing fan of Videoaviation's work as sort of the poor man's Eduard. What they lack in refined engineering they make up for in quantity - you don't see Eduard selling ordnance in packs of eight, that's for sure. After seeing how they look when finished, if someone asked me where to find a decent set of GBU-38's in 1/32 scale, I would definitely point them in this direction.


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