Pavla 1/72 Borovkov-Frolov I-207/3

KIT #: ?
PRICE: $
DECALS: Yes
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES:

HISTORY

In 1937 two members of the Polikarpov Design Bureau, designers Aleksei Borovkov and Lliya Florov submitted in detail project of an experimental aircraft. The intention was to combine manoeuvrability and high controllability of biplanes with high speed of aeroplanes.  The project involved a small dimension aircraft with a pair of cantilever wings powered by the M-85, a 14-cylinder radial engine. The single seat aircraft made its maiden flight on June 1st 1937 where it proved its high performance attaining a maximum air speed of 416 Km/hour at 5,000 metre of altitude and having a rate of climb of 18 metres per second. Three other prototypes were ordered, two having a different engine than that on the original and one having a retractable undercarriage. The latter reached airspeed of 486 Km per hour. In 1940 one more aircraft was built with a cockpit canopy and powered by an M-63P engine inside a more aerodynamic cowling, a big propeller hub spinner and a three bladed propeller. Later in the year one of the earlier 3 prototypes was tested as a dive-bomber with two FAB-250 bombs slung under the lowed wing. This proved successful but never produced in quantity in view of insufficient operational range. In the same year the same prototype was tested with a Merkulov’s DM ramjet engine. There were other attempts to develop a small size more bizarre fighter during WWII such as the so-called ‘folding fighter’ (istrebitel’skladnoi) the IS-I, which was being tested in the Soviet Union at the time of Wehrmacht onslaught. Fighter monoplanes were also evolving simultaneously at a fast pace in the Soviet Union, which meant that the day of the biplane fighter was closing to an end.

THE KIT

Probably one of the least popular aircraft subjects for plastic kit modelers is found in the wide range of Pavla models. This is the Borovkov-Florov F207/3. A very clear well illustrated instructions come with the model. A simple kit to put together and should not take more than a couple of hours at the most of construction time for complete assembly. This is a short run kit, which lacks guiding dowels and of thick injected plastic. Model consists of 22 gray plastic parts plus two cumbersome bomb items. There are also resin detail parts for the cockpit and engine cowling. Cockpit detail is sufficient but then it is so small a space that the existing and any additional detail could be hidden once the fuselage is closed. The modeller is provided with cockpit floor, a seat, control stick, instrument panel with engraved gauges. These are all reasonably accurately represented. Red star decals and a single digit tail number from a choice of five are the only decals that come with the kit.

CONSTRUCTION

 The delicate engine cowling had the front radial rectangular ports trimmed from any excess flush forming nine equally spaced openings. An inside frame fits in a way to coincide with these ports which can be fitted so that the ports can be partially opened. The radial engine itself was not part of the kit but then little can be spotted from any open ports space that could merit any detail visible. Next was completing the fuselage and cockpit assembly. This was an easy task but a difficulty arises when it comes to assemble the undercarriage legs. I have tackled this stage by extending the wheel oleo at the rear and adding the supporting leg bracket so that in the end I finish close enough to the front view and end view drawings provided which shows the assembly very clearly. This was brought right at the second attempt and was a matter of adjusting the length of the leg extension. The strut bracket attached to the wheel was made from stretch sprue of 0.6mm diameter. These oleo leg and bracket are fitted inside the wheel well at an angle. Aligning the upper wing on the struts will require first fixing the fuselage struts at an angle indicated and then lower the wing over them once they are set hard. Any play to obtain the horizontal level of the wing will be easy to fix. The fuselage struts show cross bracing wire on the cover box art but in the instructions this is shown as a single additional cross strut fitted at an angle. I went for the second option. A pair of resin bombs of somewhat cumbersome and primitive design adds character to the model. One will wonder how the biplane will take to the air with these carried under the wings, but apparently it did. I found that the tail wheel had to be slightly extended to prevent the tail end of the bombs from scraping the floor; alternatively one may need to shorten the aft part of the bomb. I replaced the starboard upper wing aerial with one made of metal having same length and diameter. The middle of propeller hub spinner had a starter grip device, this I replaced with a short end of a small hollow tube. Vac form windshield was cut with a sharp razor blade and fixed with a small amount of Klear.

COLORS & MARKINGS

Kit was finished in the Russian color scheme of dark green upper and blue grey undersides using Modelmaster brand. Propeller was silver. Interior was medium grey with leather brown around the edge of the open cockpit. Black instrument panel, buff seat belts and light brown head cushion.


CONCLUSIONS

Except for minor annoyances with a couple of pinholes on the resin cowling I really enjoyed this project. The resin parts are otherwise cleanly cast and well engraved. The finished model fully captures the stubby fuselage with small wingspans, which are the main salient features of the I-207. This is another must for those keen on Russian early aircraft designs and one wonders what it was like to fly I this type of Russian aircraft design.

Carmel J. Attard

December 2012

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