Accurate Miniatures 1/48 IL-2m3

IT #: 3407
PRICE: €40 in 2005
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Spiros Pendedekas


The Ilyushin Il-2 Stormovik was a ground-attack aircraft produced by the Soviet Union in large numbers during the Second World War. It was never given an official name, with “Stormovik” (or “Sturmovik”, or “Shturmovik”) being the generic Russian word for “Ground Attack Aircraft”.
Known as the "Hunchback", the "Flying Tank" or the "Flying Infantryman" to the soldiers and, simply, the "Ilyusha" to its pilots, it played a crucial role on the Eastern Front, but with very heavy losses. When factories fell behind on deliveries, Joseph Stalin told the factory managers that the Il-2s were "as essential to the Red Army as air and bread."

During the war, 36,183 units of the Il-2 were produced. Combined with its Il-10 successor, the grand total clocked at 42,330, making it the single most produced military aircraft design in aviation history, as well as one of the most produced piloted aircraft in general.

When Accurate Miniatures presented their new tool Il-2m3 in 1997, the modeling world was more or less thrilled, as at last a state of the art quarter scale model kit of this iconic aircraft became available. A single seater and a ski version followed, then, upon AM’s demise, the kits were reboxed (with occasionally new parts), by Eduard, Italeri, Academy and Revell. My copy was the original Il-2m3 first issue, found still wrapped in 2005 at an Athens hobby shop and offered at a more or less sensible price.

It comes superbly packaged in a regularly sized but of generous height top opening box, featuring a nice boxart of an Il-2 performing a strafing attack. Upon  unwrapping the high quality box, I was greeted with around 110 light gray styrene parts arranged in 7 sprues. Molding is very nice and crisp with finely recessed panel lines and no apparent flash.

External surfaces feature good detail and seemingly correct shapes. The fuselage halves do not include the front cowling section, which must be assembled and attached separately, something that, combined with the separate underwing central section, will  increase the complexity of construction, together with the possibility of gaps emerging.

Cockpit and rear gunner’s offices are sufficiently detailed. The instrument panel features molded-on details with a decal containing the instrument faces to be affixed onto. Seat belts are also provided as decals. Landing gear is realistically represented with the bays nicely boxed and the main wheels provided both as “weighted” or “unweighted”. The exhausts and prop look great, as well.

Transparencies are equally well molded and crystal clear. Instructions come per the “standard” Accurate Miniatures style, in the form of an attractive 12-page booklet that contains a brief history of the specific subtype, with the construction spread in 9 clear steps. Each step, apart from its pictorial representation, features a very expanded text that explains very clearly and concisely what to do, with full color callouts provided. These instructions will definitely need their time to be read and understood, but they are clear, detailed and, per the AM tradition, must be systematically followed, in order to avoid construction pitfalls.

Only one camo scheme is provided, of a well documented plane belonging to the 566 ShAP (Battle Regiment), as it stood on the Leningrad Front during summer 1944. Decals are thin and perfectly printed by Microscale, looking usable despite being almost 25 years old as of the writing of this preview.

Instructions want you to first assemble the cockpit and gunner’s office, including attachment of various “stuff” onto the sidewalls, then, together with the rear wheel, trap everything between the fuselage halves. The next two steps deal with front cowling assembly, stabilizers assembly and installation, a few interior parts attachment and finally assembly and attachment of the lower central wing half.

Installation of cowling and wing halves is next (with the optionally attached gun pods), following by the landing gear, the moving surfaces actuating rods and the installation of either bombs or rockets. Assembly and attachment of the prop and exhausts is the final step, ending a build of a seemingly certain degree of complexity.

An area needing particular attention will be assembly of the main wing and attachment to the fuselage. Tom Cleaver in his great 
build, advises to attach the upper wing halves to the fuselage, then assemble the fuselage, glue the lower center wing in place, then lower outer wings. This way everything will fit nicely.

Tamiya and lately the Zvezda offerings, this is still (as of 2022) a very good kit of the famous Stormovik. Detail is great all around, transparencies are nice and this is also true for the decals (though more than one option should be offered). Typically for AM, engineering of the kit is not totally uncomplex (an area where Tamiya, traditionally, excels), meaning that some extra  attention will be needed during construction, with the comprehensive AM instructions being of great help.  

That said, the kit builds well, as can be witnessed from the great results found in the MM archives. The specific (dual seater) kit has been reboxed by Eduard in 2006 (with the usual  extra goodies) and Italeri in 2007 featuring nice decal options, with the single seater versions reboxed by Academy and Revell so far. Per the Italeri tradition, chances are to see the dual seater reboxed again in the near future.

Happy modeling!

Spiros Pendedekas

June 2022

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