Red Wings 1/72 Tu-16 Badger
KIT #: ?
PRICE: 49 Euros
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Injection moulded with brass etch detail parts and Soviet AF decals.


The aircraft that became the Tu-16 was actually based on the fuselage and systems of the Tu-4 ‘Bull’, an unlicensed copy of the wartime B-29-married to a newly-designed swept wing, rugged undercarriage and twin jet engines of revolutionary new design. The Type 88 prototype made its maiden flight on 27th April 1952, and despite being overweight and unable to attain either speed or the range originally specified in the requirement, the aircraft was ordered into production as the Tu-16.

The Tu-16 was Tupolev’s most important post war production programme. The OKB workshops and factories at Kazan, Kuibyshev and Voronezh built a total of 1,515 Tu-16s and more were later built in China. The Tu-16 was retired prematurely, as part of the massive force reductions, which followed the end of the Cold War. There was no room for the kind of specialized reconnaissance, early warning, and electronic counter measure, which the Tu-16 had become. The type remains in use in China, in its license built Xian H-6 form and indeed remained in production in China into the 1990s.


The Tu-16 was rather less dramatic and futuristic than the B-47 but its more conservative design in the end proved more durable. The Tu-16 entered service in 1954 and 54 aircraft flew over Moscow’s Red square on Aviation Day, 955 leading to some panic among NATO onlookers. The basic Tu-16 was improved throughout its career and adopted to succession of variants. The Tu-16s of various types were exported to Egypt, Indonesia and Iraq.


The Red Arrow scale model of the Tu-16KS Badger B is a AV-MF missile carrier with provision for under wing KS-1 Komet (AS-1 Kennel) stand off air-to-surface missiles, Kobart-N Guidance transmitter installed, glazed nose retained.; The Tu-16K-10 Badger C was an AV-MF missile carrier. There were other varieties of Tu-16 both A and K versions refitted with Rubin radar under nose and with provision for KSR-11 or KSR-2 cruise missile.


The Badger A could carry a bomb load of up to 19,800 Lb. Naval version carried air-to-surface stand-off missiles. For defense the Tu-16 had forward and rear ventral barbettes each containing two 23mm NR-23 guns and two similar weapons in tail position.



Injection moulded in cream coloured plastic to limited run standard with extensive flash and very crude joints. It was released before the Trumpeter kit and at the time  was very welcomed back in 1988. The moulds appear to have been hand made with non-uniform thick cross sections across all the fuselage parts, which was made out of 6 pieces to give a full fuselage length.


Parts had poor fit and the build was more of a challenge than fun to build. There was lack of refinement even on the surface finish of main parts. Joining the parts to make the fuselage gave the most non-symmetrical cross sections of the different sections. Joint at the flying surfaces was also poor and this resulted in a pronounced and excessive gap in trailing edge. The problematic situation was made good with considerable sanding of the inner parts on a flat surface. The positive thing is that the thick plastic was very robust, soft and no sign of brittleness.

The wing joint slot is an arduous task, as it requires a drammel to open or else a considerable time for shaping with files. The rear and forward fuselage parts are separate halves from the central section. The joint is very crude and requires considerable care to align correctly to satisfy the final appearance and conformance to the 1/72 scale plan view drawing issued.  The rather huge tail unit signaled to me that I should play safe and get the model balance on its wheels, so I added sufficient weight to the nose section.


A large quantity of brass etch parts comes with the kit. This appears to be very accurate and a considerable time must have been devoted to produce them to such fine detail. The instructions are a headache in spite of the pictorial hand sketches intended to assist one to locate the tiny metal etch items. It is of poor printing and you will be lucky if you manage 50% as the numerical references with respect to the parts as these could hardly be read on the instructions.


When it comes to the transparencies these are again thick and crude and one may replace them with a new set of molded ones from acetate or one will loose the scope of detailing the cockpit interior with brass etch parts issued. Still it can be described as modest. The thick kit flat canopy and nose Perspex could serve perfectly as a vac-form master for those willing to take that step. The wheels are of rough finish and if best are replaced but I have managed to refined them with a flat file and plenty of wet and dry. Be very sure that the undercarriage legs are aligned and exactly like you want them when it comes to fix them. In order to produce a good firm joint of the main undercarriage legs inside the wing wheel well I used super glue, avoiding excess and in fact used capillary action to get the glue into the seam and in doing so ensuring a firm and fast dry.


With the kit in a basic one huge piece and the interior cockpit detail painted in black, blue green and light gray the clear parts were fixed in place and carefully masked with yellow Tamiya masking tape that I got from ‘K-Hobbies’ of Fgura in Malta.



I first gave the model an overall undercoat of Humbrol enamel matt light gray. This revealed several tiny imperfections at different localities, which were attended to using soft Revell Plasto and subsequently smoothened using wet and dry.


The decals provide for three different Russian AF bombers, all in metal upper fuselage with white lower. There is a pretty green curled crocodile on one of the schemes for a Tu-16 that served in Afghanistan with mission marks too. Paint scheme on the box cover appears to portray the aircraft accurately. This will be of considerable assistance to those with limited access to suitable material on the type.


The Tu-16K was however completed in Egyptian AF camouflage finish. There were varieties of this camouflage scheme. I made reference to photos of the type that appeared in a past issue of ‘Aircraft Illustrated’ and other detail that I accumulated over time. I have used Humbrol enamel paints, mixing the appropriate shades to conform as close as possible to the following FS colors:


Underside blue grey FS 25526

Sand                          FS 20400

Dark olive–gray        FS 34050

Grey-green                FS36251


There were also variations in shades of the camouflage colors as the Tu-16 were subjected to both intense hot weather at the desert bases in Egypt and also continual exposure to erosion operating low over the Eastern Mediterranean sea. Egyptian Air Force decals were acquired from an old ESCI decal sheet that had the correct size of roundels of red white and black at center. These had time on them and I made sure that they stick by using a coat of Klear. The Arabic numbers were hand painted. The aircraft was in the end given a coat of semi matt Micro varnish.


The Red Wings kit of the Tu-16 was built as a Tu-16 K-26 and this required a new nose antenna, which was made from plastic card. The Kingfish ASM missiles were removed from the under wing pylons as it was not sure if the Egyptian AF had them in service.



This was the only kit available at the time. It is not a kit intended for one who is new to the hobby in view of the size and quality of the product as explained above. It took me around 46 hours to build, typical for a big model of certain complexity in its issue. I was eager to add a Badger to my model collection and the Trumpeter kit was 2 years away before it emerged in shops. I was impressed by the size of the model, and the extra detail in form of brass etch components made me more than willing to start on the kit right away and in the end finding that some 50% of the tiny items could not be located anywhere on the kit. The rest mostly went hidden into the cockpit and some on the gun barbettes. Nevertheless this kit should appeal for those with a special interest in Warsaw pact aircraft during the cold war era.



The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft by Paul Eden and Soph Moeng.

Carmel J. Attard

November 2009

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 Review Index Page