|PRICE:||$17.95 from GreatModels|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New mold kit|
The Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik (Russian: Ил-2 Штурмовик) was a ground attack aircraft in the Second World War, produced by the Soviet Union in large numbers. In combination with its successor, the Ilyushin Il-10, a total of 36,163 were built, making it the single most produced military aircraft design in all of aviation history as well as the third most produced aircraft in history behind the Cessna 172 and the Polikarpov Po-2. It was a prominent aircraft for tank kills with its accuracy in diving bombing.
To Shturmovik pilots, the aircraft was simply the diminutive "Ilyusha". To the soldiers on the ground, it was the "Hunchback," the "Flying Tank" or, the greatest of compliments, the "Flying Infantryman." The Il-2 aircraft played a crucial role on the Eastern Front, and in Soviet opinion it was the most decisive aircraft in the history of modern land warfare. Joseph Stalin paid the Il-2 a great tribute in his own inimitable manner: when a particular production factory fell behind on its deliveries, Stalin sent the following cable to the factory manager: "They are as essential to the Red Army as air and bread."
Designed as a two seat aircraft, the rear gunner was deleted from the initial production batches to save weight. However, armored as the IL-2 may have been, not having a guy in back was a detriment and the loss rate to enemy fighters was quite high. Though they continued to be used until expended, some units started cutting areas in the back for a rear gunner and this feature was later added on to IL-2 production. Many aircraft survived the war and were passed on to Soviet client states.
To my knowledge, this is the first mainstream single seat IL-2 kit to be produced in 1/72 scale. Academy has done a fine job molding this one and if one runs one's finger over the plates on the horizontal stabilizer, one can feel how they overlap front to rear. No troublesome sink areas, ejector pin marks or other mold flaws are any where to be found. It is obvious that later variants are to be done as the fuselage and wing sprue are listed as 'IL-2 Single'.
I'll leave it to the boffins to debate the accuracy of the parts, but to me they look spot on. The kit has a nicely done interior complete with armor plating, interior detailing and a fuel tank for behind the pilot. There is a decal for the instruments if one so desires to use it. I found it interesting that one builds up the cockpit and wheel well detail on the upper side of the lower wing insert first, then sticks this into the completed fuselage section. Then one adds on the upper and lower wings. One has nicely done landing gear and wheel bay with options for 'flattened' wheels if one desires.
Personally, I'd like to have had an option as to whether to add the rocket rails or bomb racks, but that has been taken away by having the mounting holes already drilled into the lower wing. One has eight rocket rails for the RS-84 rockets and inside the wheel sponsons are racks for what seems to be 250 or 500 kg bombs. The cockpit clear bits come in sections with a separate canopy. The clear parts are quite well done and rather thin so perhaps one can pose the canopy open.
Instructions are well done with clear and uncluttered construction drawings. Thee are some detail drawings and even a few photos to help out. Color information is given with a variety of paint brands to help out. Markings options are extensive with no fewer than 11 being offered. One is a plane captured by the Germans and another by the Hungarians. The rest are all Soviet and are painted Dark Green and Black or Medium Green and Earth, or Medium Green over Light Blue. The decals are superbly printed by Cartograf so no need to fuss about crummy Academy decals. I've found that Cartograf markings are somewhat resistant to weak setting solutions so one may need to try something a bit stronger.
Frankly, I can't see how this one won't do well. It is a rather popular subject and it is superbly done. If your interest lies anywhere in the realm of this kit, you'll be pleased with it.
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You can find this and other great kits at GreatModels. Do yourself a favor and stop by to see what is new.
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