Amodel 1/72 Myasischev 3M Bison Kit First Look
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review||April 2005||Manufacturer||Amodel|
|Subject||Myasischev 3M Bison||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||72008||Primary Media||Styrene, fiberglass|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$278.98|
Myasishchev Molot (Hammer) or Bison - NATO code name.
The Myasishchev Bison was one of the greatest looking Soviet Bombers. The brainchild of Vladimir Myasishchev first flew in 1953 but was really seen by Western observers for the first time during the May Day parade at the Red Square in 1954. It was the contemporary of the B-52.
The aircraft's objective was to strike targets in N. America but it became apparent that it did not have the range to complete such a mission. Only a few copies were produced before the improved 3M version of the Bison flew again in 1955. The plane got more powerful engines, lost 2 of the 5 gun turrets as a weight loss measure and got more internal fuel allocations.
Yet the Bison B never managed to meet its projected range and thusly it got rejected by the Soviet Air Force and became a Soviet Navy long range maritime patrol plane. The West had really overestimated the capabilities of this aircraft.
Other versions appeared in the 60's some with larger search radars, some were missile carriers and some were capable for aerial refueling. Production of the Bison ceased in 1963 and only 93 Bisons were ever built. They were never exported to any Eastern block countries. The aircraft was withdrawn from service in 1994. In 1981 a converted Bison was used to transport components for the Energiya-Buran space shuttle system from the manufacturing plant to the launch site.
Amodel started releasing a few years ago some monstrously big soviet subject kits. Amodel does not have the capacity for injection molding big parts so they reverted to a very interesting method for producing the parts. They use some kind of resin impregnated fiberglass, they mold the fuselage parts and wings in the traditional way and they glue them themselves with epoxy glue. This way the customer gets a semi-finished fuselage and wings on to which the modeler attaches with cyanoacrylate glue all the smaller plastic parts! A very cool way of getting around the trouble of large parts injection molding.
Naturally the glass parts are sometimes rough and they are also harder to sand and cut. The kits are not for the average modeler or the modeler that needs to have a model done in an evening or two. The truth of the mater is that their kits improved a lot as time went by and their production methods are getting better with the fiberglass parts looking more and more refined and blemish free.
The 3MC Bison is the first of three versions that Amodel is planning to release. The last version they will release is the BM-T Atlant. What a cool model that would be!
Inside the box one finds two fiberglass wings, a fuselage and the tail wings already put together with epoxy glue from the factory. Also in the box there is a big bag full of white plastic and a smaller bag with the clear parts. The decals were found inside the instructions manual.
The fiberglass is reasonably well finished with few pinholes and few blemished panel lines.
There are a few areas where the modeler will need to putty and sand and polish but this is to be expected for such large parts. The truth is that I have not seen anybody else doing such work with fiberglass resin so I lack the means to compare!
The plastic parts are generations ahead in quality as compared to the plastic parts found in the earlier Amodel kits. Having said that they still do not compare to the best examples of high pressure injection molding yet.
There are a lot of pieces that go into making this Bison. I was totally impressed with the landing gear bays, how well they dressed the inside of the fuselage and the complexity of the landing gear.
The airplane compare very well with the scale plans found in the scale plans I found in the Sergei Moroz book I purchased from Linden Hill Imports. Speaking of books on the Bison, do not miss the Yiefim Gordon book either (ISBN: 1-85780-152-0). I am not able to compare the Moroz book plans with an example of the real aircraft but the plans and the model look very close to the photos.
This one is going to be a very nice and fun project. Most importantly, to me at least is that Amodel brought out a very desirable and sexy looking aircraft. It is unlikely that anybody else would ever dream of making a model of such a huge kit. Except of course for that "other" company that has already announced a kit of one of my other favorite Amodel kits; the Blackjack!