Amodel 1/72 IAR-81C
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The IAR 80 was a Romanian World War II low-wing, monoplane, all-metal construction fighter aircraft. When it first flew in 1938 it was competitive with most contemporary designs like the German Bf 109E, the British Hawker Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire. However, production problems and lack of available armament delayed entry of the IAR 80 into service until 1941. Although there were plans to replace it fairly quickly it was forced to remain in front-line use until 1944, by which point it was entirely outdated.
There were many different variants of the IAR-80 and a fighter bomber version, the IAR-81 was also produced in quantity. All of these aircraft varied in detail and armament from each other, making nearly confusing as different versions of the Bf-109!
The final stage in the IAR.80's wartime history was the 81C. This version changed the guns once again, this time to the Mauser MG 151/20 which was replacing the MG FF/M in German service and had just been released for Romanian use. The order for the 81C was placed in May 1942, predating the second order of the 81As.
The first order for 100 airframes was delivered, like all of the prior updates to the 81 series, with the centerline bomb rack removed to be used as fighters. An additional order for thirty-five was placed in February 1943, and then another fifteen in January 1944. These planes were primarily to replace losses in earlier models, while production of the Bf 109G ramped up.
Amodel has come out with three different versions of the IAR-80/81 with this kit being the last production variant, the IAR-81C. It seems that Amodel has done their research and the sprues offer several bits that will not be used on this version, including a bomb and alternate main gear wells and doors. The upper and lower wings are on smaller, separate sprues and I'd have to think that this is to take care of the different types of armament used by these planes.
Detaling is very nicely done and there is some on the inside of the cockpit walls. There is a well appointed interior, though with the somewhat thick and small canopy section, not much will be seen. To handle the different versions, the nose section forward of the windscreen is also different. I'd not be surprised if Amodel has plans to do the experimental Jumo engined version.
Thanks to its low pressure molding, the kit displays some flash on a few parts and the sprue attachment points intrude onto the surface of most parts, making preparation a must. Treat this like a short run kit in that one must test fit each part prior to applying cement. I can pretty well guarantee that doing so will make for a much smoother build.
Typically, the instructions are well drawn with 8 distinct construction steps. There are places where one needs to stretch some sprue to complete the build, but those used to these sorts of kits won't find that to be a problem. Color information is provided with Humbrol and generic references. Markings are for the box art plane of Baciu Dumitru in pretty well standard markings. Like many Amodel kits, the images is not totally representative of the actual kit as this one doesn't have the large cannon nor the collector exhaust system. Decals are well printed and come with addendum insignia that are larger than the originals on the sheet. The builder is provided with the yellow rudder stripe with the red and blue one needing to be painted. Personally, I'd paint all three.
To my knowledge, this is the first 1/72 scale injected kit of this aircraft and it is a bit of a wonder that it has taken so long as it was an important aircraft in the Romanian air force. A quick build it won't be, but the end result will be a very nice model.
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