kit has gotten some good press regarding its accuracy and how nicely
it fits. This is always nice to hear before starting on a project
like this. I was impressed to see that the first order of business
in the kit instructions were to open the various holes and remove
some tabs in order to model this variant. I can tell you from
experience that I've missed/forgotten things like this when the
instructions have you do this later in the build. Since this is a
torpedo plane, you are to remove the hinge tabs from the bomb bay
and you are also to remove the tabs that allow the engine cowlings
to be open. This is a bit odd as the engines are quite detailed.
Interestingly, the first build steps are to construct the lower rear
defensive gun. The others are dealt with later in the build. Then
one begins assembling the cockpit bits. There are a lot of controls
of various sizes and shapes that fit into a left side console,
though the instructions neglect to show this part being installed. A
full radio suite is provided for the rear gunner. Both the pilot and
bombardier have their own seats, though the one for the bomb/torpedo
aimer looks very uncomfortable for long flights. The instructions
provide alignment diagrams throughout for things like the tail
section and for the interior bits.
There are two different cockpit canopies, one open in the rear and
one closed. Same goes for the upper aft transparency with the open
version specified for the Chinese Air Force. You can also have the
rear cover open or closed as you choose. Interestingly, the lower
gun position has its own doors which are to be posed open. All this
will make masking a bit difficult when it comes time to paint so you
will have to either pre-paint sections or leave off some parts
installation until painting is done.
Fuselage inserts include a stand piece, a section just aft of the
cockpit and the closed bomb bay doors. Engines are quite detailed
and include not only an accessory section but also the various
formers into which the engine is mounted. It is too bad this will be
hidden behind the cowlings, but you need to at least assemble all
these pieces in order to get the cowling to fit and to provide a
mount for the prop and engine fan. These and the nicely done landing
gear will all fit into a multi-section wheel bay/nacelle piece later
on. You can model the cowl flaps open or closed.
Engine cowling is in several pieces and includes an upper carb
intake that has a small door on it that can be posed open or closed.
Closed is on the ground so air goes through a sand filter. The props
have separate blades. Each of the two torpedoes is a small kit in
and of itself.
The kit provides separate elevators, ailerons and flaps though the
rudders are molded solid with the fins.
final of many construction steps is the installation of torpedo
mounts, torpedoes, props and other small bits.
Instructions are well done and beside the omission mentioned
previously, seems to cover it all. There are color call-outs
throughout the building process in several paint companies as well
as generic names. The majority of planes are in the dark green over
light blue scheme as shown on the box art. The two soviet options
are in a variegated schemes with one in an olive drab and dark grey
upper and the other in an ocean grey and light blue upper. Though
not shown in the instructions, you can also do the box art plane as
the white 2 is included on the sheet. Then there are Chinese,
Bulgarian, Polish and North Korean planes. All the markings options
are post war. The decal sheet is large and looks to be well printed.
A weekend build this one will not be. There is a lot of detail
packed into the box and getting it all together will be a rather
time consuming endeavor, but then that is what makes it
modeling. If you want quick, get a snap kit or die cast. The end
result will be a very nice model of a little-modeled immediate
post war Soviet aircraft.