Amodel 1/72 An-8 'Camp'
|PRICE:||$57.45 from www.scale-model-kits.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
In December 1951 OKB-153 initiated the design of a twin-engined assault transport aircraft, designated DT-5/8 (Desahntno-Trahnsportnyy [samolyot] - assault transport aircraft), to be powered by two Kuznetsov TV-2 turboprop engines, and fitted with a large rear cargo door to allow vehicles to be driven straight into the hold. On 11 December 1953 the Soviet Council of Ministers issued directive No.2922-1251 to the Antonov OKB, requiring them to build a twin-turboprop transport aircraft derived from the DT-5/8. Bearing the in-house designation of Izdeliye P the resulting aircraft followed state of the art practice with a high wing carrying two propeller engines sat atop a rectangular section fuselage, tricycle undercarriage, with main gear units housed in pods either side of the fuselage, an upswept rear fuselage providing clearance of the tail unit for loading and unloading. After State acceptance trials production was not recommended due to poor spinning characteristics, directional stability and control issues, nosewheel shimmy, poor controllability when landing in crosswinds above 6 m/s (12 kt) and, last but not least, phugoid oscillations in all-three axes which were difficult to control and made piloting the prototype very tiring. As well as the aero-dynamic faults the TV-2 engines proved difficult to start with unstable gas dynamics at altitudes above 6,000 m (19,700 ft).
The Antonov OKB set about rectifying the faults with increased area vertical and horizontal tail surfaces, anti spin strakes on the upper rear fuselage sides, deleting the wing LE slats, local structural reinforcements and replacing the TV-2 engines with Ivchenko AI-20D turboprop engines, which had the added benefit of reducing the empty weight by 3 tonnes (6,600 lb). The new design required the use of new production techniques, like: stamping and forging of large high strength parts, extrusion of long sections, chemical milling of large skin panels and other new techniques.
Given the service designation An-8, the new transport was built in the GAZ-34 factory in Tashkent, from 1957 to 1961, as a larger-capacity replacement for the earlier Lisunov Li-2 (DC-3), with a large unpressurized hold, a manned tail gun position, chin radome for navigation/mapping radar and a glazed nose for the navigator.
The first production aircraft was rolled out in December 1958 incorporating de-rated AI-20D engines, (the initial production AI-20D was found to be incapable of delivering the specified power), modified undercarriage control system, fuel vents , pressurization and de-icing system, as well as thicker gauge skin in the propeller plane of rotation and increased rudder range of movement.
Serving in the Soviet Air Force until the 1970s on front-line military duties, many were later transferred to Aeroflot for use as freighters and a few aircraft have been observed flying in Africa, particularly Liberia and Angola, despite Antonov having withdrawn the airworthiness certificate and support for the type in 2004, ending legal use of the aircraft.
Amodel has been known to produce some kits of interesting types and we can now add the rather large AN-8 to that listing. There are quite a few sprues, some of them duplicated as this is a rather complex type.
The fuselage comes in a front and rear section with the attachment point at the pressure bulkhead. In fact, this part is a bit large to allow for a good fit between fore and aft sections. It also means that one cannot truly glue the front and rear fuselage pieces together prior to assembly. This is as much due to the inability to properly fit the cockpit and cargo interior detail if so done.
The nose section has a full cockpit as well as a navigator, flight engineer and radio operator's position. Instrument panel and console markings are provided as decals. Despite all this stuff, there is room to fit weight, as I'm sure it will need it. There is also a complete tail gunner's position, though I'm betting it wasn't always occupied on missions.
As I mentioned above, there is a goodly amount of detail in the cabin area with framework detailing on the inside of the fuselage halves as well as a full floor which attaches to a separate under fuselage section. Both upper and lower ramps are provided with the builder having the choice of posing these open or closed. Some cutting on the doors will be required for the open position.
An interesting addition to this kit are very nicely formed rubber/vinyl tires and green wheels. As many of you know, green seems to be a staple color for Soviet/Russian wheels and these are already done for you. While I'm sure some would have wanted plastic wheels, I'm sure some enterprising aftermarket company is working on those right now.
Instructions are well done with color information referenced to the Humbrol line of paints. There is one markings option as shown on the box art. This is the plane at the Monino Museum and coded Blue 10. The decals are well printed and typical of Amodel decals, are matte. The sheet includes the black nose anti-glare panel so that will save some painting.
While not quite as big as a C-130, it is very close. Those wanting the Aeroflot or another civil version of this will be pleased to know there are two other boxings that will provide that, though I'm sure the plastic is the same. Overall, the quality of the detailing is very good and the kit seemed to be quite free of molding faults. As much due to the complexity of the kit as anything, it will be a kit that requires patient building, but if you like big transports and something outside the norm, then this is one for you.
Thanks to www.scale-model-kits.comfor the preview kit. Get yours at the link and at a considerable discount.
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