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Academy 1/72 scale Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik

Kit: No. 12417
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Academy, from Model Rectifier Corp., 732-225-2100,
Price: $24
Comments: Injection-molded, 106 parts, decals
Pros: Clean molding; generally good fit
Cons: Confusing illustrations; gaps in wing fit
Issue Published: December 2008
The Soviet Union's great combat aircraft, the Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik, was highly effective supporting the Red Army against the Germans in "The Great Patriotic War." Germans called the Il-2 "Black Death," as it claimed large numbers of the invaders' tanks, vehicles, artillery, and troops.

Academy's 1/72 scale Il-2 is molded in 106 light-gray parts and features recessed panel lines and minimal mold seams and flash. A unique aspect of the kit molding is the cockpit bulkhead, which is clear plastic to replicate the bulkhead windows that gave the pilot a rear view.

The 11-step instruction sheet includes photographs of subassemblies. However, the lines for parts placement were a little confusing in some steps. For example, while building the cockpit assembly, I found the multiple parts and their intersecting directional lines were very unclear; I dry-fit the parts several times to get it right.

Despite challenges posed by the instructions, the kit assembly was straightforward and parts fit was mostly excellent. However, the cockpit and lower mid-wing assembly was a tight fit when sliding the cockpit inside the fuselage, as the small parts in the cockpit snagged the parts glued to the cockpit area inside the fuselage. Also, filling was required at the upper wing-fuselage joint and at the joint between the lower mid-wing section and the lower outer-wing section.

Using Model Master medium green, earth, and light blue, I followed the general pattern given in the instructions. The main trouble with the paint guide was matching the colors with the 11 options for markings. After the model was painted, the decals went on without trouble.

What I particularly liked about Academy's Il-2 is the manufacturer's use of modern technologies to produce cleaner moldings, a vast improvement on previous Il-2 kits.

The model took me 10 hours to build. I'd recommend the kit to a beginner with a little experience. It definitely qualifies as a weekend build.

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