Azur/FRROM 1/72 Ikarus IK-2 "VVKJ"

KIT #: FR015
PRICE: $28.75
DECALS: Seven Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with resin, photo etch and vacuform parts



The prototype, designated the IK-L1, of the design was ordered from Ikarus A.D. in 1934, and was delivered for test in 1935. The aircraft was powered by a Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrs inline engine. The forward-firing armament consisted of a 20 mm HS-404 cannon mounted under the engine, and two 7.92 mm Darne machine guns, mounted under and to each side of the engine. The design was similar to the Polish PZL P.8, sharing its Pulawski wing (gull-wing) design, giving the pilot an excellent view. The wing on each side was braced with two struts; the fixed conventional landing gear was spatted and mounted off the wing struts. The fixed tailwheel was also spatted. The pilot was installed aft of the wing in an enclosed cockpit. The horizontal stabilizer on each side was braced from below with two rigid braces from the lower tailcone, and tied from above with two flying wires from the vertical stabilizer. The three-bladed propeller was manually adjustable in pitch.

Captain Leonid Bajdak, a biplane advocate, tested the IK-1 in flight. During a full range of tests on the third flight the aircraft failed to pull out of a power dive and crashed. Bajdak bailed out and survived but claimed the IK-1 was not suitable as a fighter. Investigation of the wreckage disclosed that the failure was due to negligence in sewing a seam on one of the fabric-covered wings, and therefore a decision was made to proceed with the second prototype, designated IK-2. The second prototype had metal-skinned wings and a shallower cooling radiator. The IK-2 was ready for test in June 1936. A new test pilot, Dobnikar, performed the preliminary flight tests, including a mock battle against a Hawker Fury, a biplane, flown by Captain Bajdak. The IK-2 outperformed the biplane in all respects, thereby confirming the hopes of the young designers.

Based upon results of preliminary testing, the Royal Yugoslav Air Force ordered a production batch of 12 IK-2 fighters, which were all delivered in 1937. When German forces invaded Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941, the only unit of the Yugoslav Air Force armed with the IK-2 was the 4th fighter regiment, composed of 33rd and 34th air force groups stationed at Bosanski Aleksandrovac airfield, in northwest Bosnia. The 4th fighter regiment was equipped with 18 Hawker Hurricanes and eight Ikarus IK-2 fighter aircraft.

Rovine airfield, situated north of Banja Luka, was the base of the Yugoslav 8th bomber regiment and its 24 Bristol Blenheim I bombers. During a German attack on the base on 7 April, five IK-2s together with five Hawker Hurricanes engaged German Messerschmitt 109 fighter aircraft. In the ensuing dogfight, the Yugoslav fighters managed to repel the 27 attacking German fighters, destroying two in the process at the cost of two Hurricanes and one IK-2. For the rest of the short conflict IK-2s were used for strafing advancing German columns and on several occasions they scrambled in pursuit of German reconnaissance aircraft, but to no effect. At the end of the brief campaign the four surviving IK-2s were overhauled at the Ikarus aircraft plant in Zemun before being transferred by the Germans to the newly formed Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia.


     Along with AZ Models and a few others, Azur/MPM has been producing some rather interesting central European aircraft under the Azur/FRROM label. This one is a pre-war Jugoslav fighter that one rarely finds in kit form in any scale. It is a typical new mold MPM brand kit with very nice external detailing and some ejector towers to remove on the large bits. Due to the lack of complexity of the design, there are no resin parts and photo etch has been kept to a minimum. This latter consists basically of an instrument panel, seat harness and some external struts for the tail plane and one pair for the main wing struts.

As mentioned, the kit is simplicity in itself with a cockpit that has the basics; seat, stick and instrument panel. The wing struts and landing gear may look daunting, but should not be an obstacle to most builders. The kit provides both injected and vacuformed canopies for the builder. There is minimal rigging required for the wing struts and for the horizontal stabilizer.

Instructions are well done with the usual Gunze paint references. A rigging guide is provided and the build steps include reference drawings to be sure all gets aligned properly. There are seven markings options. Five of them are overall aluminum aircraft with the 6th Fighter Regiment in late 1939. The other two are with the 4th Fighter Regiment in 1940 in the then standard camouflage. These last two options differ in insignia size and placement. The decal sheet is very nicely done and will probably require some care in applying thanks to their thinness. If the box art colors can be believed, the blues look to be too light.


I have had this kit for quite a while and it got to the stage where the glue on the box deteriorated and fell apart. It was then that I decided to at least preview it, but it took a few more years before I got around to actually building. it.

The kit is one of those deceptively easy looking versions that I fall prey to from time to time. As is usual, I found that building it required both skill and stamina as the fit was generally not the greatest. All the parts should be test fit several times and it is always a good idea to look ahead at what is to come to see how future bits might be affected by what is currently being done.

There are actually no subassemblies aside from building up the prop, so I started with the insides. First, all the interior bits were painted aluminum. Then the seat had the harness attached and this was glued to the rear bulkhead. Next, the radiator exhaust section was glued in place, followed by the front bulkhead and the floor, which had the control stick glued in place. I then installed the forward radiator piece ane cemented the fuselage halves together. I planned on sticking the instrument panel on after attaching the wing, but ran into issues. Anyway, none of the pieces that fit inside the fuselage halves actually fit well and there are no guides to help in placement.

Somehow I had lost the plastic instrument panel so decided to use the etched version. However, this ran into issues. Despite following the instructions regarding placement of the forward bulkhead, it turned out to be too far forward and the instrument panel would have disappeared. Eventually, I 'solved' the issue by building up several layers of plastic card onto which the panel was attached.

But first I figured I'd get the wings and tailplanes installed. I had to do some trimming on the tailplane slot to get it in there where it would be straight. Once that was done the wing was test fit along with the canopy. The opening for these was too short so I did some trimming on the opening, the wing and the canopy until all seemed to fit fairly well. I then glued on the wing, which let me know how many pieces of plastic to use for the instrument panel as it had to fit flush with the end of the wing. Once the canopy was in place (I used the plastic one), it was masked.

I then installed the lower tailplane struts which are p.e. Fit is 'eh'. The main landing gear was a real trick as there are a lot of struts that have to be glued together. As usual fit is not great but after the usual fiddling about, I got them done, though they are not identical on both sides. During this I bent several of the p.e. tail struts, so smart modelers will not install these until near the end.

The prop was next. All three of the blades needed to be trimmed down quite a bit to fit into the spinner backing plate. The holes in the plate for the prop alignment pegs needed to be enlarged considerably. I then used .008 inch wire to do the rigging. I totally suck at this leaving more glue spots than I care to have. This is undoubtedly the reason I shy away from things that require rigging. The holes for the tail wheel and the aileron balances were enlarged and these items glued in.

While a bit late in the build for this, I then headed for the paint shop. I wanted to do an early version of this aircraft with the full color rudder stripes. These shades had to be painted in place and the blue needed to be mixed to match the decals (or at least get close). Fortunately, these planes were overall silver so I used some of my remaining Old Silver for this as I did not want it to look metal, despite the fact that the forward fuselage was unpainted aluminum. After painting the airframe, I went back and did the metal parts with polished aluminum. I am not sure you can tell the difference in the photos. One thing the aluminum paint does show are all the blobs where I attached rigging ;(.

With the airframe painted, I started applying decals. Much to my disgust, I'd lost the kit's sheet, but was able to salvage things with Lift Here decals #737-LH which includes markings for several IK-2 aircraft, including an overall silver version. While I paid almost as much as the kit for these markings, it is just punishment for losing the originals! The Lift Here decals are admirably thin, but not to the point where tearing and folding over is an issue. I used the weak Microsol setting solution to help prevent silvering and applied them without a clear coat under them.

About all that was left to add was the prop, wheels and gun sight. I also stuck a section of wire in the wing for a pitot tube. Note that there is no axle stub for the main wheels so they were butt glued. Something missing from the model is any sort of gun openings, however, as I had managed to knock off most of the bracing items on the tailplane at least twice with the recurring glue blobs to prove it, I decided to leave things as they were. The masking was taken away from the canopy and I hurried to photograph the completed model before I knocked off anything else.

This is yet another example of a simple looking kit taking a long time to finish. I knew before going into it that it would not be an easy task and for me, it wasn't. As often is the case, the end result belies all the effort put into it and while I could do without the glue blobs under the wires, the kit has metamorphosed into a model and is now happily taking its place on my shelf with similar aircraft.

March 2016



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