Zvezda 1/144 IL-2 Stormovik
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Ilyushin Il-2 was a ground attack aircraft (Shturmovik) in the Second World War, produced by the Soviet Union in very large numbers. In combination with its successor, the Ilyushin Il-10, a total of 42,330 were built, making it the single most produced military aircraft design in all of aviation history, as well as one of the most produced piloted aircraft in history along with the Cessna 172 and the Polikarpov Po-2. It is regarded as the best ground attack aircraft of World War 2. It was a prominent aircraft for tank killing with its accuracy in dive bombing and its 37mm guns penetrating their thin back armor.
To Il-2 pilots, the aircraft was simply the diminutive "Ilyusha". To the soldiers on the ground, it was the "Hunchback," the "Flying Tank" or the "Flying Infantryman". Its postwar NATO reporting name was "Bark". 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 an angrily-worded cable to the factory manager, stating "They are as essential to the Red Army as air and bread."
Let me start this off with a bit of a preface. Zvezda is heavily into war games. Not only do they produce kits aimed at that market, but they also provide the software, so to speak in terms of rules and modules. This kit and several of the newer small scale Zvezda kits are all part of the Art of Tactics 'Barbarossa 1941' wargame.
In this case, we have a 1/144 IL-2 that is basically a snap kit, consisting of a dozen parts and a stand. The general outline of the aircraft is fairly good, so that those who want it as a display model can put the additional effort into the build and come up with a fairly nice representation.
There is, of course, no interior and the 'canopy' is really just a large block of properly molded clear plastic with the windows engraved in place. The kit can be built with the wheels up or down and there are separate assemblies for that purpose.
The kit instructions are quite basic but adequate for the intended purpose. There is no painting guide and to be honest, I've yet to see a combat IL-2 with insignia on the upper wing so take the markings guide with a grain of salt. The decal sheet is fairly well printed though the white outline to the stars is off register. A selection of tail numbers is the only unique marking for the model. A 'real' kit would have some nice patriotic slogans to add interest. The kit also comes with a game card which undoubtedly has some sort of move stats printed on both sides.
At under $5, it may well appeal to those on a very tight budget who also don't have a ton of shelf space. War gamers will love it as several places selling these have already sold out so the demand is there.
Thanks to www.greatmodels.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local retailer.
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