Hobby Boss 1/32 IL-2M Sturmovik
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Ilyushin Il-2 was a ground attack aircraft (Shturmovik) in the Second World War, produced by the Soviet Union in very large numbers. In combination with its successor, the Ilyushin Il-10, a total of 42,330 were built, making it the single most produced military aircraft design in all of aviation history, as well as one of the most produced piloted aircraft in history along with the Cessna 172 and the Polikarpov Po-2. It is regarded as the best ground attack aircraft of World War 2. It was a prominent aircraft for tank killing with its accuracy in dive bombing and its 37mm guns penetrating their thin back armor.
To Il-2 pilots, the aircraft was simply the diminutive "Ilyusha". To the soldiers on the ground, it was the "Hunchback," the "Flying Tank" or the "Flying Infantryman". Its postwar NATO reporting name was "Bark". The Il-2 aircraft played a crucial role on the Eastern Front, and in Soviet opinion it was the most decisive aircraft in the history of modern land warfare. Joseph Stalin paid the Il-2 a great tribute in his own inimitable manner: when a particular production factory fell behind on its deliveries, Stalin sent an angrily-worded cable to the factory manager, stating "They are as essential to the Red Army as air and bread."
If you don't think that we are in the decade of 1/32 scale kits, then think again. It seems that every month, at least one or two new kits in this scale are being produced. One has to wonder how many of these actually get bought and built as they are generally not small and not inexpensive. However, they do keep coming and someone must be buying them as the scale seems very popular. I think this new Hobby Boss IL-2M fits into that category.
This third issue of the IL-2 is probably the one that many modelers have been waiting for. The two seat version with a dedicated rear gunner's position is what most people think about when they think of the IL-2. This means a substitution of sprues to replace the single seat fuselage, add on the longer canopy secton and include bits for the rear gunner's position. In the early part of the Great Patriotic War, it was the single seat IL-2 that bore the brunt of ground attack sorties. Of course, without a rear gun, they were brought down in somewhat large numbers and soon units were modifying their single seat versions with room for a guy in back with a gun. It was makeshift and probably uncomfortable and dangerous for the gunner, but it was effective.
Molded in Hobby Boss' usual grey plastic, it is a very clean mold with crisp details as we have come to expect from Hobby Boss and Trumpeter kits. You many not like the detailing, but it is extremely well done. The clear bits, photo etch and vinyl bits are separately housed in a box that fits into one side of the kit box. There is a full cockpit with all the bits and pieces you would expect. The instrument panel is clear so that you can put the decal on the back to show the instruments. Personally, I'd put the instrument panel decal on the front as I'm lazy and don't want to brush paint the panel face. Photo etch belts are included in the kit. The kit also includes a full AM-38 engine with Hobby Boss providing a clear forward cowling (apparently so you can leave this unpainted to show off the engine). Those wishing to bypass this feature will still need to build up enough of the block to mount the exhaust and the prop.
The kit also includes reinforced wing spars, optional position flaps, separate control surfaces and full wing armament in terms of cannon. The cannon bays are detailed with separate covers and magazines. The kit provides vinyl ammunition belts and some of the photo etch is designed for these bays. The kit comes with big underwing cannon in gondolas and I was impressed by the cast metal main landing gear that are also included. In addition, there are separate lower wing bomb bays that can be posed open with weapons. Or you can close them and use external racks for larger bombs. For under the wings there are rockets and their rails.
You have several weapons options to choose from in this kit that includes general purpose bombs (2 each FAB-50, FAB-100, DAB-100, BRAB-220 and FAB-250), 2 each PLBG-150 and 8 each RS-132 rockets. Sturmovicks were often heavily armed so you should have little trouble picking something appropriate. The kit instructions have a full load-out diagram as to what you can put where.
Instructions are typical of Hobby Boss with 14 well drawn construction steps in a booklet. Much preferable than the larger fold-out sheets. Color information is provided with Gunze references. Two markings options are supplied with a full color camouflage placement guide. Neither plan is credited to any person or unit. The box art plane has a three color upper camouflage scheme of green, black and brown while the other is just green and black on the upper surfaces. Decals are well done and should work well. At least, I've had little trouble with them in the past.
This is another excellent addition to the big scale planes category. This won't be a small model, but it also shouldn't be all that difficult to build. I'd love to see an IL-10 being done, but I'm betting on the wooden wing version of the IL-2M if there is another boxing.
My thanks to Squadron Products for the preview sample. Get yours at your favorite shop or ask them to order it for you.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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