Kit: No. 3407
Manufacturer: Accurate Miniatures, 100 Centre St., Charlotte, NC 28216, phone 704-391-1176
Comments: Injection molded, 121 parts, decals.
Aircraft trivia: What is the most-produced airplane in history? Not the Mustang, nor the C-47, nor the MiG-21, nor the Piper Cub, but the Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 Stormovik!
While nearly every country concentrated on developing fighter and bomber aircraft after World War I, the Soviet Union focused on close-air-support aircraft. Developed well before the Soviets entered World War II, the Stormovik flew slow and low, delivering ordnance and fire power against ground targets.
Heavy armor protected the pilot and the engine against enemy ground fire and fighter attack. References vary, but it appears nearly 40,000 Il-2s were produced.
Accurate Miniatures has released the first injection-molded Stormoviks in 1/48 scale. Separate issues of the Il-2 single-seater and an Il-2 on skis round out the family. This kit depicts the Il-2m3 which had swept outer-wing panels and an added seat for a rear defensive gunner. The model features fine recessed panel lines and excellent detail.
Before I started construction, I read Accurate Miniatures' well-laid-out instruction booklet several times.
I painted the interior RLM gray 02, as recommended by Accurate. Several ejector-pin marks marred the interior of the fuselage and some of the cockpit parts. Most won't show, but I fixed those that did. I followed the instructions to the letter on finishing the instrument panel, and while it seemed confusing, it was easy to do and produced the best-looking out-of-the-box instrument panel I have ever seen.
The four-piece canopy is well molded, fits well, and can be glued open or closed. An alternate style of rear canopy is also provided.
Don't forget to install the tail wheel (part No. 117) before gluing the fuselage halves together. The fit of the fuselage halves was good, requiring only a little sanding and a touch of gap-filling super glue underneath. You may want to remove the rudder mass balance from the tail at this point. It has a tendency to snag and mine disappeared, so I replaced it with one made from stretched sprue.
Installing the cockpit along with the center wing section is tricky. Make sure you thread the control linkage (84) properly through the elevator pushrod guard (112) and the rear bulkhead. I didn't think the interior was going to go in, but then it clicked and fit into place.
The trailing edge of the lower wing section had a 1/16" gap between it and the fuselage, but everything else was lined up and could not be moved back any farther. I filled the gap with sheet styrene, after test fitting the outer wing panels to make sure I hadn't made any errors.
When assembling the nose section, remove the ejector-pin mark from the bottom of the intake splitter (11) as it will be noticeable if left in place. The fit of the upper nose (10) required a little filler in spots. When adding the nose assembly to the fuselage, align everything correctly or you'll have trouble when you install the wings.
The exhaust stacks and propeller assembly are designed to be added after all painting is finished, a nice touch. Don't forget to add ShKAS machine-gun barrels before you assemble the upper and lower wing halves.
Installing the outer wing sections was a challenge. While the wing panels fit well they required creative clamping to get the best fit. I glued and clamped one area, let it dry, then moved on to the next section of the seam. Once everything was dry, the fit required only a little filling and sanding. There was a slight step between the rear of the left wing fillet and its mate on the fuselage.
I painted my kit using Testor Model Master Russian underside blue, topside green, earth brown, and the suggested Euro I gray for the upper camouflage. Painting the wheels is easy as they are molded separately from the tires.
After a couple of coats of Future floor polish were dry, I applied the decals. My sample's Soviet stars were printed off-register, so I replaced them with Scale-Master items; the rest of the decals were fine.
Adding the landing-gear struts requires patience and super glue. The last step is adding the small parts to the exterior. Accurate supplies four RS-132 rockets and two 250-kilogram bombs for under the wings. The location of the ammunition-feed chute (114) for the rear gunner is vague.
When I inserted the propeller assembly the lower fuselage seam cracked open. I reinforced this area with super glue, then reinstalled the assembly.
I spent about 25 hours building my Il-2m3, a little longer than most 1/48 scale aircraft due to the large number of detail parts and the four-color camouflage scheme. A quick check shows the model scales almost exactly to the dimensions given in Squadron/Signal's Il-2 Stormovik in Action.
Beginners will find the number of parts and the need for exact assembly a bit daunting, but a modeler with experience and patience will be rewarded with a fine addition to the growing selection of 1/48 scale WWII aircraft.
- John Plzak