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Tupolev Tu-143 Reys

Clear Prop, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Description and Item No.:

Clear Prop Kit No. CP72004 - Tupolev Tu-143 Reys

Contents and Media:

52 parts in grey styrene (2 for a stand), 2 in clear, 5 in PE, and one decal sheet with markings for 3 airframes.


£14.40 EU Price (£12.00 Export Price) plus shipping available online from Hannants



Review Type:

First Look


Conventional engineering and a low parts count suggest a quick build.




This is a rather neat kit which should make a nice, but small, model.  Highly recommended to Cold War and Russian aviation fans.  

Reviewed by Jim Bates




When I first saw the Clear Prop Tu-143 Reys, I assumed it was “just another” Cold War missile; I was very wrong. The Tupolev designed type is an unmanned aerial vehicle powered by a jet engine, the Klimov TR3-117. Launched by RATO (Rocket Assisted Take Off) from a truck, the Tu-143 is a short-range reconnaissance UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) with low-level capabilities. 



Early versions of the Reys took photos of the target then landed by parachute delivering the camera pod and it’s film cargo. In later versions a datalink was added permitting the transmittal of images  in real time. The type was used extensively in the 1982 Lebanon War and over Afghanistan.  Over 900 TU-143s were built and they are still in service today.  In 2014, a crash landed (or shot down) Ukrainian Air Force TU-143 was discovered by pro-Russian separatists and there is a short video of the UAV on YouTube which illustrates many details of the type. 








Unlike a few of the other Clear Prop kits I have reviewed, this one is boxed in a side opening box with a rather indifferent (or impressionist) painting on the lid. 



The contents of the box consist of two sprues of grey plastic, one clear sprue, an instruction sheet with colour painting diagrams and line drawing assembly instructions, a small fret of photo-etch, a masking sheet, a brass pitot tube, and a decal sheet. 



As with all of the Clear Prop kits I have inspected, the moldings are impressive.  The mostly flash free parts have impressively fine recessed panel lines and some nice rivet detail.  You have the choice to assemble the TU-143 on its ground handling trailer, on its landing gear, or inflight with the RATO attached.  For the last option a nice little stand is provided.  (I grew up on Matchbox and Airfix kits, so I smile every time I see a modern kit with a stand included.)



With no cockpit to fiddle with, assembly of the tiny model starts with the fuselage wherein a nose gear well, a three part intake, and exhaust are added.  The top nose piece, which includes the canards, is modeled in grey, but you have a choice of two different clear bottom parts depending on the camera setup. 



The cameras are included and are tiny.  Then the two part delta wing is attached along with miscellaneous fairings and antennas, along with the brass pitot tube. 



At this point, you need to decide if you want your TU-143 on a cart, on its landing skids, or in flight.  If you wish to put it on its skids, additional detail is provided on the photo-etch fret.  If not, you get to build the eight part trailer or the five part RATO. 

The final step requires the modeler to engrave a keyhole-like shape on the nose-cone using a template provided on the photo etch fret.



Decals are provided to build TU-143s from the Russian, Ukrainian Czechoslovak, or Romain Air Force.  All four are in light grey with red cheat lines and panels.  Each option has tiny stars or roundels to apply and my choice would be the Ukrainian Air Force example as it also has a Squadron badge on the tail.  The decal sheet looks well printed and includes quite a few tiny stencils. 



On first blush you wonder how all the decals will fit on the tiny model!  The instruction sheet looks reasonably clear, but I wish the colour painting diagrams were a tad larger.  However, it is quite nice that they include four view draws of each option.  Only Humbrol colour call outs are provided.





This is a rather neat kit which should make a nice, but small, model.  Highly recommended to Cold War and Russian aviation fans.  

Review kit provided by my retirement fund.

For more on this review visit Modelpaintsolutions.com.

Text and Images Copyright 2020 by Jim Bates
Page Created 10 July, 2020
Last updated 10 August, 2020

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