|KIT:||Zvezda 1/72 ANT-5 (I-4/I-4Z)|
|PRICE:||$7.98 (6.96 at Squadron)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||This has been around before.|
The I-4 was one of Tupelov's first successful fighter aircraft of the 1930's. Made mostly of corrugated metal following information gained from Junkers's aircraft of Germany, it was produced in fair numbers for the day (around 300). Tupelov was mostly known for his bomber aircraft, but the I-4 was a fine aircraft for its day. Liked well by those who flew it, it was able to carry out both fighter and light bomber duties. Unusual for any day, the sesquiplane I-4 was able to carry rocket launcher tubes above the wings. This would have been impossible in a fabric covered aircraft. The I-4 was also carried as a parasite fighter on the TB-1 Bomber. Two were carried on top of the wings of the large, four engined bomber, and must have been a sight to observers on the ground. The ANT-5 and I-4Z were variants on the same theme.
This kit is suspiciously like the Encore boxing that I built a few years back. In fact, the only difference is a color box top (slightly changed) and a different decal sheet. You get a basic cockpit with a decal to place on the instrument panel. A generic seat, stick and rudder pedals are also provided. Depending on the version you are going to build, you have a choice of rocker arm cover, prop and spinner, and lower wing. You can also add bombs or rockets if doing the I-4 or I-4Z version. There is also a different fin/rudder combination.
The general look of the parts is quite good, though you will find once construction gets underway that this kit is closer to short run than Tamiya. Sprue attachment points are either large or with little room to remove the part. When removing the small bits, a razor saw would be a good idea. Fortunately, this kit does not suffer from the mold mis-match that one finds from time to time. It appears that Zvezda is concerned with quality control and is not letting that sort of problem reach the consumer. Though these planes did have small windscreens, nothing is provided in the kit.
Instructions are fairly basic, but convey the idea well enough in several nicely drawn construction sequences. It is fortunate that this is not a complex kit. Color information is provided via Zvezda and Model Master paint colors. Basically, the ANT-5 (which is not the central aircraft on the box art) is in overall bare metal, while the I-4s are in dark green over light blue. Decals are provided for the I-4s as the ANT-5 was unmarked. As you can see, the decals are printed on near white paper, making seeing any white decals a problem. I've not been really thrilled with Zvezda decals as they have a tendency to silver and not work at all with setting solutions, a problem with an aircraft as heavily corrugated as this one. I'd dig through the spares box on this one. If you want a full color paint diagram, one for the I-4 is provided on the back of the box.
This really is not a difficult model, though it may seem so when building it. I've found out that few parts do not always equal an easy build. If you are at the stage where you think you are ready to tackle a short run kit, but want something that may not be quite that challenging, then this one would be a good practice kit. Besides, it makes into a nice model and it isn't expensive at all.
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