Kit: No. 103
Manufacturer: Toko (Ukraine), imported by Military Model Distributors, 1115 Crowley Dr., Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, phone 972-245-3504
Comments: Injection molded, 170 pieces (6 vinyl), decals.
The rugged Antonov An-72 "Coaler" jet transport has a reputation for reliability and excellent rough-field performance. This innovative STOL design, in turn, spawned the An-72P patrol version. Packing cannons, bombs, and rockets, it can fulfill a range of maritime and border surveillance roles while retaining troop-carrying capabilities.
Toko is a new name on the modeling scene, and its An-72 series of kits is a fine beginning. Molded in soft gray and silver styrene with raised scribing, this gadget-filled effort includes complete cargo and cockpit interiors, various externally mounted weapons, and numerous positionable access panels and control surfaces. It even comes with a nose-wheel towing bar! The six tires are vinyl.
The eight-page instructions include history (in four languages including English), parts maps, 42 assembly steps with continuous-tone computer drawings, and three-view markings drawings. Unfortunately, the washed-out printing makes precise parts positioning difficult to determine in some steps. Camouflage details reference Humbrol paints by product number.
While the instructions and box top depict one Ukrainian military example, the beautifully printed, six-color decals offer at least two additional Ukrainian and Soviet civil versions, for which markings information is not supplied. Presumably, these are for other releases of the same basic subject.
Assembly and fit range from excellent to poor. The complex interior assemblies, for instance, mate with surprising speed and ease. Only the scarcity of locating devices snarls construction - especially when aligning the complicated, multi-piece cargo bay.
By contrast, every major component demanded filling, filing, and fitting. The engine-to-wing fit was poor. Toko's plastic is soft, easy to work, and responded quickly to Testor liquid cement. However, super-glue accelerator softened it, slowing filling.
Instead of going with the recommended Humbrol colors, I painted my Coaler with Polly Scale and Floquil paints: FS 30219 tan, FS 34079 dark green, roof brown, and RLM 78 light blue.
Toko's beautifully opaque (but thick) decals required prodding and setting solution to settle over the raised detail.
Despite the fit battles, the finished model looks good. It measures just a scale foot short in length according to the dimensions in Bill Gunston's The Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875-1995.
Toko's An-72P has the look and feel of older, gadget-packed kits, and so requires extra planning, patience, and care to construct. Proof is the 45 hours -- including many shortcuts -- required to complete my "Coaler." It is not a kit for beginners.
- David L. Veres