Firefox 1/72 Beriev Be-4
|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.
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.
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