Firefox 1/72 Beriev Be-4

KIT #: 02
PRICE: $Don't remember
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run kit


In 1939, Beriev was ordered to develop a successor to the KOR-1 design, which would overcome the numerous problems encountered in operational experience with that design. The new aircraft, with the in-house designation KOR-2, first flew on 21 October 1940 at the Beriev factory in Taganrog.

The Be-4 was an elegant, parasol-winged monoplane with a slight inverse-gull wing. The large radial engine was mounted in a nacelle above the fuselage.

Testing continued through January 1941, when series production was ordered under the designation Be-4, at a factory near Moscow. However, due to the start of World War II, only two aircraft were completed. The factory was dismantled, and evacuated to Omsk, then to Krasnoyarsk, where production resumed in May 1943 to the end of 1945. A total of 47 aircraft were eventually completed.

The Be-4 was placed into operational service with the Russian Black Sea Fleet from 1942, where it was used for coastal reconnaissance, anti submarine and transport duties. It was also used on the cruisers Maxim Gorki and Kirov.

This is a fairly standard short run kit from the early 1990s (or perhaps even earlier). All the parts are thoroughly coated in mold release medium. The two white sprues are very thick with large attachment points. There is a goodly amount of flash and the clear parts are quite thick. Mine also had a starred windscreen from being clipped from a sprue, making it fairly useless. The overall detailing is quite crude with soft and inconsistent engraved panel lines. There are sunken areas on the wing pieces.

The cockpit has a floor, rear bulkhead and instrument panel. You have to make the seat bottoms as only the backs are included in the kit. Due to the thick and distorted transparencies, you could simply cobble something together and paint it all black as you won't see much. There is also a floor and instrument panel for the observers compartment at the rear. A flat machine gun shape is included, but not shown in the instructions.

Wing is a two piece center section and two piece outer wing sections. These parts have the lion's share of sink areas. Outrigger floats are two parts with straight mounting struts. Like the wing struts, there are no holes or placement guides so you are left with the markings guide to figure out just where these items might go. The engine assembly is a generic radial a circular cowling with intake atop it and a prop. There are no exhaust. You do not get the engine cover shown on the box art. The engine is short shot and though shrink wrapped, my kit is missing the prop. Tailplanes are upper and lower halves. There are no positive locators anywhere.

Instructions are a single folded sheet and while basic are adequate to build the kit. There is a diagram to show you the dimensions for a seat bottom block. The only color information supplied is for the aircraft in 'green' upper surfaces with 'light blue-grey' undersides. The decal sheet is printed by Techmod so will probably work fine, even after nearly 30 years. 


The ONLY thing going for this kit is that it is a subject that is interesting. RPM has also produced a Be-4 in 1/72 though I don't know if it is the same or not (hopefully not). In 1/48 Mars models was supposed to release one last year. This kit is fairly crudely done, will require scratch building skills, and in my case, will require scrounging a prop from somewhere. It also really needs an engine cover as shown on the box art as the engine nacelle opening is little more than a plastic tube and lacks a proper forward edge. Not recommended unless you simply must have this aircraft in 1/72 scale.


April 2019

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