Print Scale 72293:  Tupolev SB




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Scott Van Aken



The Tupolev SB series of bombers were the world's best when it first entered service in the mid 1930s. It was fast enough to outrun current biplane fighters and it also carried a fair bomb load. Its combat debut was in Spain where it initially did quite well, but faced with later monoplane fighters, its speed advantage was not as good a defense. Later use in the war against Finland and against Japan showed that the plane had reached obsolescence. By the time of the German invasion in mid-1942, it was completely outclassed.

There have been several kits in 1/72 of the SB, the first one I built was a Frog effort and it has been released by Special Hobby and ICM during the intervening years. It was the purchase of the ICM kit that led me to look for this particular sheet.

One is provided with 12 markings options covering a variety of aircraft, including those with turrets and the later SB 2M-103 as well as the earlier 2M-100. The camouflage options range from overall grey to those with a green upper and blue underside. Some lasted long enough to have black added to the green upper surface. Some are overall unpainted metal. I've shown eight of the options above as they are representative of the entire sheet.

The decals themselves are quite nicely done and presented on a medium blue backing sheet. A variety of insignia sizes are spread throughout the sheet and you simply use the ones recommended in the instructions. From my experience with earlier sheets, the decals are quite thin and also not as opaque as one would wish. Based on what I see of the white markings, that may well be still an issue, but one doesn't know for sure until they are used. It is a nice sheet and provides some nice options that are different than what is offered in the kit decals.

August 2020

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