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Il-2m Shturmovik

 

Eduard, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Eduard Kit No. 8165 - Il-2m Shturmovik
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 115 parts in grey plastic; 9 parts in clear; colour photo-etched fret; masking sheet; markings for four aircraft (plus a bonus aircraft marking).
Price: USD$49.95 available online from Eduard's website.
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Based on the excellent Accurate Miniatures Il-2m3 kit but in a combination never before offered; very high level of detail supplied on plastic and photo-etched parts; bombs and rockets supplied; includes colour photo-etched parts for harness and instrument panel; masks for wheels and canopies; very high quality plastic; narrow sprue attachments; excellent instructions and packaging.
Disadvantages: Some tricky construction aspects.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Brett Green


Eduard's 1/48 scale Il-2M Shturmovik will be available online from Squadron.com

Background

 

The Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik was a heavily armed and armoured Soviet ground attack aircraft.

The original production version had a crew of one, but a rear gunnerís position was added following appalling losses in the first months after Operation Barbarossa. This hybrid version, using the same wings as the single-seater, suffered from pitch stability problems due to the changed centre of gravity, especially during take-off and landing. Nevertheless, the type entered front line service in October 1942, and the original wing design did not change until late 1943. This variant is identified as the Il-2m

The Il-2m3 was the definitive version of the Shturmovik. It could be distinguished from earlier versions by the 15 degree sweep of the wings. This wing reconfiguration compensated for the shift in the centre of gravity. The Il-2m3 type entered service late in 1943.

It is interesting to compare the Shturmovik with German aircraft designs in the latter part of World War Two. At a time when the Luftwaffe was introducing such groundbreaking technical features as radar, ejection seats, jet engines and remote guided weapons; the Shturmovik was crude by comparison. In fact, by any standards the Shturmovik was an unsophisticated aircraft. Creature comforts were non -existent - the rear gunner was not even supplied with a seat. He (or she) simply rested against a strap!

Nevertheless the Shturmovik was a tough, maneuverable aircraft that was extremely well suited to its ground attack role. It could be equipped with a variety of weapons including rockets, bombs and anti-tank guns capable of killing even the fearsome Tiger tank.

Comparison of strategies also reveals fundamental differences. German fighter pilots saw themselves as "knights of the sky". Air to air combat was often considered to be the only honourable endeavor. German fighters continued to down Soviet aircraft in staggering numbers right to the last year of the war, but Luftwaffe ground attack units were used in a relatively uncoordinated manner.

Stalin, on the other hand, considered that the Shturmovik was as fundamentally important to the Red Army as bread. He personally intervened to ensure that nothing prevented the mass-production of this essential aircraft. The priorities of the opposing sides may be summarised by examining the production figures of specialised Soviet and German ground attack aircraft to 1945. For example, the Henschel Hs 129 (the standard German tank-busting aircraft from 1942) totalled 869 aircraft; while a total of over 36,000 Shturmoviks were produced!

In the end, the Soviet strategies of standardisation and mass-production overwhelmed Germanyís high technology weapons.

 

FirstLook

 

When they were released in the 1990s, Accurate Miniatures' 1/48 scale aircraft kits set new standards in quality and detail that are rarely matched even today. Their family of Shturmovik models was one of several bold subject choices, tackling important aircraft that had not been adequately depicted in plastic. In common with their other offerings of the time, Accurate Miniatures' Shturmoviks boasted excellent attention detail, crisp mouldings and outstanding surface features.

What more could anyone ask for in a Shturmovik?

How about colour photo-etch parts, canopy and wheel masks, plus five colourful new marking options?

Furthermore, Eduard's version of the Shturmovik has not been previously released by Accurate Miniatures. Prior to the definitive two-seater, the Il-2M3 with the revised swept wing, the original version was simply supplemented with a crude second crew position using the same wing as the single seater. This variant, known as the Il-2M, is the version offered by Eduard. This is the first version of the famous Il-2 offered by Accurate Miniatures.

Eduard from the Czech Republic, a first-class kit manufacturer in its own right, has also added their own detail parts, masks and decals to deliver a highly detailed replica of the Shturmovik.

This latest Eduard kit is being offered in their standard "long-run" series (orange box), and contains the plastic from Accurate Miniatures, comprising 115 parts in grey coloured plastic and 9 parts in clear; combined with a large new colour photo-etched fret; masking sheet; and a decal sheet with markings for five aircraft..

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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The kit is state of the art in terms of quality of injection moulded parts, detail and markings.

Eduard's packaging is very modeller-friendly. Sprues are packed, singly or in pairs, in resealable bags with each pair of sprues interlocked to prevent scuffing.

The styrene sprues contain the familiar plastic parts from Accurate Miniatures' 1/48 scale Il-2M3 except the wing, which has been sourced from the Il-2 single seater.

Surface detail is excellent. Panel lines are consistent and finely engraved. Subtly raised fasteners, hinges and hatches are also present in appropriate locations.

 

 

Moulding quality has not suffered in the last decade, with beautifully crisp plastic parts.

Control surfaces are all moulded in neutral positions.

The main undercarriage offers the choice of weighted (bulged and flattened) or unweighted tyres.

A nice set of rockets complete with rails and ignition wires, plus bombs, are supplied.

Clear parts include all the parts required for the early two-seater, plus the late-version canopy although it is not used for this kit.

 

 

The colour photo-etched fret adds gorgeous, intricate detail to the excellent plastic parts. This fret provides the harness, instrument panel and side consoles in full colour, plus supplementary metal detail parts for the cockpit and aircraft exterior. The instrument panel should look fantastic when assembled. I like Eduard's interpretation of Soviet interior blue-grey too.

 

 

Another nice touch is the inclusion of canopy and wheel masks in Eduard's new, thin flexible yellow masking material.

Instructions are supplied in an A-5 size 12 page loose leaf booklet. This is accompanied by six pages of full-colour marking guides, each with a four-view illustration.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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Markings are provided for five colourful aircraft. Four are finished in the early-war VVS scheme of Green and Black over Light Blue, with one in whitewashed upper surfaces and a final example in a fascinating hybrid scheme of Black, Green and Brown upper surfaces over Light Blue. Decals look to be very thin, in perfect register and of high quality.

 

 

Construction Tips

 

Just about the only wrinkle in this otherwise perfectly polished package is the assembly of the kit itself. Based on my own experiences when building the standard Il-2m3 kit back in 1998, I can advise that some care will required when assembling the cockpit, the big cowl intake and the wings.

It should be noted the original construction sequence been revised in Eduard's instructions, reducing complications in the key area of the lower centre wing to fuselage fit. The use of photo-etched parts for the instrument panel and the gunner's backrest strap have also eliminated two further problem areas.

The addition of the Eduard colour photo-etched parts will not add to the kit's complexity, other than requiring a few raised details to be ground down or sliced off.

Here are some notes from my 1998 build of the Accurate Miniatures Il-2m3 that might help with the balance of construction:

Lower Centre Wing

Assembling the lower centre wing section requires great care.

The wing braces (parts 25 and 26) set the dihedral, so make sure they are in exactly the correct position. I "tacked" both braces in the correct position on the lower wing with super glue, then reinforced the bond by flowing liquid poly cement for the full length of the join lines.

When this is dry, the radiator and cockpit components are added to the lower wing.


Cowling

Assembly of the cowling (on the bottom of page 3 in the instructions) is tricky. Take your time and test fit often!

I strongly suggest the following sequence:

  1. Assemble the left and right halves (parts 7 and 8) and set aside to dry.

  2. Glue the air splitter assembly (parts 11, 12 and 181) to the cowling top (part 10) making sure that the top of part 10 meets the edges of part 12 for its entire length.

  3. When both these sub-assemblies are thoroughly dry, feed the cowl top assembly through the cavity at the front of the engine cowl halves. Dry fit as many times as required to work out what fits where. It may take a couple of runs - it is not completely obvious.

  4. When satisfied, apply glue to the underside of the cowl top assembly after feeding the top assembly through the cowling halves (ie dry fit then apply glue when the part is in-place). Tape this up and set aside to dry thoroughly.

I also recommend not adding the horizontal tailplanes until after the wing assembly has been glued in place. In this kit it is far easier to adjust the tailplanes than adjusting the wing dihedral!



The Coming Together

When attaching the lower centre wing to the fuselage, I carefully dry-fitted the lower centre wing section to ensure alignment at the leading edge of the lower fuselage join. Take care when feeding the elevator push-rod through the small holes in the cockpit interior. The cockpit will be a snug fit - mine almost "snapped" in place - assisting the placement of the lower centre wing section.

Remove, glue and refit this assembly when you are sure the alignment is correct.

Next to the outer wing assemblies. I had to slice off the locating pins on the leading edge of the upper wing to correctly locate the wing root to the fuselage (this might not be required on this different wing, but check the alignment before committing to glue).

Once this was done, the fit of this somewhat complex assembly was excellent.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Accurate Miniatures' 1/48 scale Shturmoviks are still a great family of kits. The addition of this early two-seater version would be very pleasing in its own right, but the bonus of Eduard's colour photo-etch parts, masks and new decals takes it to an even higher level.

Granted, the basic kit will not fall together, but if you take care with the areas noted above, Eduard's Il-2m kit will deliver a highly detailed and impressive replica of one of the most significant aircraft in history

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Eduard for the sample


Review Text Copyright © 2007 by Brett Green
Page Created 23 January, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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