Roden 1/72 AN-12BK

KIT #: 5002
PRICE: @$40.00 when new
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Spiros Pendedekas
NOTES: Xtradecal 48151


The Antonov An-12 “Cub” is a four-engine turboprop transport aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. It is the military version of the Antonov An-10 and has many variants. For more than three decades the An-12 was the standard medium-range cargo and paratroop transport aircraft of the Soviet Air Forces. It might be regarded as the Soviet equivalent of the C-130. A total of 1,248 were eventually built.


For a detailed look at the kit contents, as well as a nice history of the specific type, please check Scott’s thorough preview in the archives.

This kit made quite an impact upon its initial (and so far only) triple release back in 2003. Inasmuch as I could restrain myself from getting the transport and civil versions, I succumbed without a fight to the mean ECM version, with the dramatic boxart of a -PPS banking to the right (and slightly downwards) towards the sea, “escorted” by a Starfighter. My excitement continued, as I saw the vast amounts of (“close tolerance” - CAD designed?) engraved styrene in the box, with the fuselage halves provided in two parts, indicating the (then?) Roden’s molding machine limitation. I was less excited to notice the slightly pebbly plastic surface areas, but, (since the detailing is engraved) that’s one of the reasons 1000 grit sandpaper exists, so no harm done, right?  


If, like yours truly, like doing subassemblies, then this kit is definitely for you! I went on putting together as many subassemblies as I could, starting with the 14-piece cockpit. Its basic color (as per instructions) was Hu121 Pale Stone, seats were dark gray (with brown leather cushions), instrument panel, consoles, steering columns and bombsight were black. I then assembled the 9-piece fuselage rear part, the 2-piece main wings and tail planes. Then were the four engines (each a 9-piece affair), followed by the four 6-piece propellers, the ten 2-piece wheels and the two pairs of 4-piece front and rear ECM pods. Subassembly heaven!

Convinced that nothing could be visible through those tiny cabin windows, I glued the two fuselage halves together, trapping only the assembled cockpit and its rear bulkhead between them, followed by attachment of the already assembled tail at the back. Fit was good. I did not install the tiny circular cabin windows, as they looked a tad cloudy and deformed, planning to replicate them with Humbrol Clearfix at end stages.

The assembled engines were then attached at the wings, with the resulting gaps (not that many, actually) filled and sanded. Then the wings and tail planes were attached, followed by the front under fuselage bulge (a radar, I think), where, just in case, I stuffed as much lead weight as I could. Having a complete basic structure, and before adding the smaller and at cases delicate external add-ons of the -PPS variant, I performed an initial coarse sanding, then filling and finally fine sanding. As stated before, kit surfaces are on the pebbly side, so a thorough fine sanding is needed, in order to achieve a smooth result.

Deeming the result “smooth”, I proceeded and added all the above mentioned “add-ons”. Those included nine 2-piece cooling inlets (presumably to cool the ECM equipment), two big underbelly ECM platforms, two top aerodynamic fillets, and about thirty (!) mini antennas, spread all over the fuselage area! Most of them are butt fitted, with the nice and clear instructions being very helpful as to what goes where. Thank goodness almost all would be painted fuselage color.

To my joy, apart from wheel rims in light green, instructions called fuselage color for all landing gear components, including wheel wells and door innards! Calling the per instructions suggested “one shade” coloring totally acceptable (and utterly comforting!), I happily assembled and attached into place all landing gear struts and doors. After aligning everything, I let this beautiful giant rest on itself, for the glue to cure, frequently checking alignment. I then stuffed wet tissue to blank the cockpit and headed to the paint shop!


With my Revell Vario (which actually is a version of Thayer & Chandler Vega 2000) at medium settings, I bravely gave the whole machine a good overall coating of Hu128 Compass Gray, which, as usual, behaved excellently, with the characteristic gorgeous Soviet mean gray looks emerging. The props had their hubs and blade front faces painted the same color too (with the hub tip black). The blade rear faces were painted blue aluminum resp, with yellow tips.

Engine exhausts were painted Testors Burned Metal. Front radar bulge and all ECM dielectric panels were hand painted Hu196 Light Gray (which actually is sort of “off white”). Wings and fin leading edges were painted aluminum, and the wing tips red. The wheels were painted a handy light green shade with black tires. The front anti glare panel was also painted black (though you have the option of using a decal provided). I then gave the model a protective and decal preparative coat of Future.

I used the kit decals, in order to depict the “Red 14” machine, as it stood in Levashovo airfield in 2001. Though the decals seemed cautiously thin and sensitive, they were opaque and behaved nicely. A bit of side stenciling is provided, adding interest at places to the monotonous gray. A coat of Future sealed the decals.


I attached the four props and the two pairs of front/rear ECM pods. After painting the oleos silver (with my Pilot fine pen), I attached the 10 wheels and, upon aligning and ensuring all of them touched the ground, I left again the giant rest on them for the glue to cure, frequently checking for any misalignments.

I did not apply too much weathering, just some engine staining, grease/oil leaking and general dirtying, performed with dark dry pastels and some black wash. Then, a final coat of almost matt coating (70/30 matt/gloss) was applied at the entire aircraft, for its final finish.

The canopy and bombardier’s transparencies were carefully hand painted and attached. Fit was good (could be better at the top canopy joint area), with the mini gaps faired with white glue. I used white glue (which dries “almost” transparent) to make the side windows, (I should have used the amazing Humbrol Clearfix, which dries crystal clear, but I had forgotten my bottle open, with the Clearfix solidified, and I was impatient to finish the build…). Using net pics for exact positioning, two pieces of silver stretched sprue were run from the fin to the two front antenna masts.

I then called this mean looking giant of the skies done!


Till 2003, modelers had been praying for a mainstream 1/72 An-12, with their only option being the very difficult 1996 Sanger multimedia vac kit, equally difficult to find. Then Roden came to the rescue, offering not one, but three different versions of  this iconic plane, practically covering all variants, the ECM version being surprisingly one of them. They are really good kits, definitely of the “modern”, mainstream type, with correct general shape, nice details and good fit (provided that parts are carefully cleaned, as of the close tolerance CAD kit design).

Due to the many parts (especially true for the ECM version with the bazillion fuselage external “add-ons”), they are complex kits, but not complicated, only requiring patience and time. Decals are great, too, as are the instructions, with the only “complaint” being the styrene pebbly surface, easily remedied by light sanding (and strongly advised to do so, as to not take risks of final finish looks).

Apart from the detailed rear ramp innards, no cargo/passenger internal details are provided. If you decide to go “all shut”, nothing is visible inside, so all is good. However, should you decide to open the rear ramp, quite a bit of work would be ahead of you, with some nice PE aftermarket in existence, promising to help you busy up that large interior.

I haven’t seen that many An-12s built (let alone with open cargo compartments). Looks like the kit did not sell like madness, becoming a shelf sitter, easily found even today (as of 2021) at the same very nice prices offered almost 20 years ago. This is contradicting the eagerness that this kit was expected from the modeling world and the not extreme difficulty that it can be put together. Consequently, that these kits have not been reissued since their 2003 initial release, comes not as a surprise.

If you are an intermediate modeler, provided that you take your time, you can efficiently tackle this kit. Should you decide to build it (and you are wholeheartedly advised to do so!), please keep in mind that the finished model is as big as a C-130, so some space has to be allocated for it. Even right out of the box, you will definitely come up with a most impressive model, a jewel to proudly exhibit in your showcase.

Happy modeling!

Spiros Pendedekas

29 November 2021

Copyright All rights reserved. No reproduction in part or in whole without express permission.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page

Back to the Previews Index Page