Special Hobby 1/48 Avia B-33

KIT #: SH 48047
PRICE: $47.42 delivered
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with photo etch and resin parts


From the start of Eastern Front combat in World War II, the Soviet Air Force (VVS) used the successful ground attack aircraft Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik, powered by the Mikulin AM-38 inline engine. As the war progressed, the Soviets laid plans for that aircraft's successor. The main goal was to increase speed and maneuverability at low altitudes, mainly to evade small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery, which was the main threat for ground attack aircraft, and to remove some of the Il-2's faults. The most promising project was a modern, light and maneuverable close assault aircraft, the Sukhoi Su-6, developed by Pavel Sukhoi's bureau from 1942. At the same time, Sergei Ilyushin developed a heavier aircraft, the BSh M-71, (Il-8 M-71), derived from the Il-2 design, on which it was partly based, to be powered by the prototype Tumansky M-71 radial engine, which did not enter production.

In 1943, Ilyushin started work on a new aircraft, Il-1, which was to be a 1- or 2-seat heavily armoured fighter-interceptor, meant mainly for fighting enemy bombers and transports. The Il-1 was similar to the Il-2 design, but was more modern, compact, and powered with a new Mikulin engine: the AM-42. But the VVS gave up the idea of heavy armoured fighters, due to their low speed, which was not enough to intercept modern bombers. As a result, Ilyushin decided to turn the Il-1 into a two-seat ground attack plane, with the designation changed to Il-10 in early 1944 (odd numbers were reserved for fighters).

At that time, Ilyushin also finished a prototype of a heavier ground attack plane, the Il-8, using the same engine, and more closely derived from the Il-2. It carried a higher payload (1,000 kg/2,204 lb), but had lower performance than the Il-10. Both types first flew in April 1944, the Il-10 proving greatly superior to the Il-8, which had poor handling. The Il-10 successfully passed trials in early June 1944.

The third competitor was a new variant of the Sukhoi Su-6, also powered by the AM-42 engine. After comparative tests, the Il-10 was considered the winner and was chosen as the new ground attack plane, despite some opinions that the Su-6 was a better aircraft, notwithstanding inferior performance and payload, with better gun armament. Notably, the Su-6 prototype was tested with maximum payload, causing lowered performance, while the Il-10 was tested with normal payload. Some advantages of the Il-10 came from its technical similarity to the Il-2.

In 1951, the Czechoslovak firm Avia secured a license to make Il-10s, with the designation B-33. The first one flew on 26 December 1951. Initially, their engines were Soviet-built. From 1952 onwards the engines were also produced in Czechoslovakia as the M-42. Besides the combat variant, a Czechoslovak trainer variant also entered service under the designation CB-33. In total, 1,200 B-33s were built by 1956. These were generally provided to Warsaw Pact nations.


The kit fairly well fills a large box. Resin bits are in a bag and the p.e. fret is in with the decals. An acetate sheet is provided for the instruments. The surface detailing is very good and you'll find the usual ejector towers on some of the larger pieces. There are a few additional pieces not used that are undoubtedly for the IL-10 boxing.

Most of the subassemblies such as the interior bits and wheel wells are built up from several pieces. The cockpit is especially parts intensive and you will be using quite a bit of the photo etch and resin bits in here. These will be for instrument panels, belts, sidewall detail and for the rear gun, which is different from the plastic one included in the sprues.

Once the 'pits are built up, you install the rear gear well, a forward plated on which to attach the prop and the resin exhaust. These latter items are superbly cast and it is a shame they cannot be added after everything is painted. The canopy is quite well done and is a single piece so you won't be able to display the interior in all its glory, even though the plastic is fairly clear.

When you do the wings you'll need to build up the gear wells, bomb bays,  and add the radiators. You'll also need to drill out the gun ports on the lower wing. The underside of the wing gets a goodly amount of p.e. and resin parts, some of these fairly small. A pair of bombs will fit into the bays you've built up and another pair go before the bay on external racks which are butt joins though there are small circles on the lower wing showing where the racks attach. There are eight pieces for the prop and spinner as the little blanking plates behind each blade are separate instead of being molded onto the spinner backing plate.

There are four markings options, all of them in dark green over a medium-light blue. The lower surface color is shown as needing mixed, but I'm sure that someone does these shades ready to go. Two planes are Czech from 1956 with one having red outer upper wing panels. A Polish plane is offered with a white/red spinner and a red lightning bolt on the upper cowling. The fourth option is one from the Bulgarian AF in the 1950s. The decal sheet is very nicely printed and should prove to be quite thin.


The initial IL-10 boxing sold out fairly quickly and once I was unable to locate a copy, I quickly forgot about it. I saw this version advertised a month or so back while looking for something else so picked it up. Typical of these kits, this will not be a quick build and is such that one needs to be fairly proficient in the genre to successfully complete it. The results of your efforts will be a pretty large model of this important Soviet attack aircraft.



January 2019

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