Eduard 1/48 Il-2m Shturmovik Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2007||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Subject||Ilyushin Il-2m Shturmovik||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||8165||Primary Media||Styrene/Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Very nicely detailed kit||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$49.95|
The Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik, like the T-34 tank, was one of the pivotal weapons in the Soviet arsenal during World War II that blunted the advances of the Wehrmacht and subsequently pushed them all the way back to Berlin. The prototype was designed as a two-place all-metal attack aircraft, but it would enter production as a single seat aircraft with wooden wings and tail section. While the aircraft was able to press attacks into enemy columns, its lack of maneuverability and rear gunner made it easy prey for the Luftwaffe air defenders.
Engineering changes to the aircraft had to wait in those early days of the Great Patriotic War as engineering and productions facilities were moved east outside of the reach of German bombers and ground forces. When changes did start to trickle into the production line, the rear gunner position was restored to the aircraft, but accommodations for the gunner were minimalistic and combat losses of gunners were significantly higher than those of pilots or aircraft. Nevertheless, the two-seat aircraft also saw more armor plate, all-metal structures, and a more powerful engine.
One problem not foreseen by these changes in the aircraft was the center of gravity. Adding the rear gunner, gun, ammo, and even the minimal armor plating caused the Il-2 to become tail-heavy and loss of control would sometimes result during combat maneuvering. At the low altitudes that the Shturmovik operated, there was no time for the pilot to recover. Ilyushin applied a simple fix to shift the center of gravity aft without a major redesign of the aircraft - they swept the outboard wing panels.
Here is a cool release from Eduard - this is the first time the Il-2 two-seater has been represented with the early 'straight' wings. This is simply a combination of the Accurate Miniatures 1/48 Il-2m3 kit sprues with the wings replaced the two wing sprues out of their single-seat Il-2 kits. Styrene-wise, these are the same sprues as the Accurate Miniatures' releases but Eduard has done their magic with this kit as we shall see.
First of all, this kit is presented on six parts trees molded in light gray styrene plus a single tree of clear parts. Eduard adds one fret of color photo-etched parts, a really nice decal sheet, and a vastly improved instruction booklet.
The Il-2 kits have been on the market for some time now, so chances are that you have one or have at least seen one built-up. These kits were well-designed by the earlier Accurate Miniatures and the late-version two-seater is still available from the current Accurate Miniatures. The single-seaters are still available at kit swaps and even eBay.
Shturm, Russian for storm (or assault), was well placed on this aircraft. The Shturmovik was heavily armored for a piston-powered aircraft and was designed to survive enemy small arms fire while it swept through the battlefield plinking Panzers. Even with the additional armor, losses were still very high and those that made it back home required some patching up before heading out on the next sortie.
If you try to Google the Shturmovik, bear in mind that this word has been mis-spelled and/or transliterated, so you'll see Sturmovik, Shturmovick, and Sturmovick out there. Heck, Accurate Miniautures' own boxes are mis-spelled with Stormovik, but as long as the kits are nice...
As I said earlier, if you build the kit using only the styrene parts, you'd really have a nice looking Panzer Plinker. The stock kit offers a very nicely cockpit, with the cockpit floor even properly shaped to represent the top of the wing as it passes as the floor of the cockpit.
The flight control surfaces are all molded in the neutral position. If you want to pose them differently, you'll have to carefully remove them from the wings or tail surfaces.
The main wheel wells are also nicely rendered and will look excellent when viewed. The main gear tires have two options - round or weighted - both are included in the kit.
So what about the photo-etch?
- Color-printed instrument panel - sweet!
- Color-printed seatbelts and shoulder harness
- Color-printed left pilot's console face
- Optional open gun bays in the wing roots
- Colored handles for throttles, landing gear, and more
- Ventral radiator details
- Cozy rear gunner's seat (sling)
- Carburetor air filter
- Ammo belt and sights for the rear gun
The ailerons and rudder are separately molded and positionable, but the elevators are molded in place. You'll have to do some surgery to position these. The landing flaps are also molded up, but while the instructions don't mention this, there are some details molded into the inside of the flap wells in the upper wing halves and cut lines are molded into the lower wing to make flap removal simple. I suspect that the Royal Class will offer photo-etched flaps with all of the details in the future.
Armament options include:
- Centerline bomb
- Centerline external fuel tank
- Underwing W.Gr.21 rockets and separate launch tubes (so you can depict your bird armed or expended)
Markings are provided for four aircraft:
- Il-2m, White 16, unknown unit, late 1943, 'Za Leonidu Vyaryu' (For Leonid Vyar')
- Il-2m, White 100, 7th Guards Attack Aviation Regiment, summer 1943, as flown by V.B Yemelyanienkho, musical notes and Il-2 silhouette artwork on port side
- Il-2m, Yellow 2, unknown unit, Aug 1943, as flown by V.P. Aleksukhin, 'Aleksandr Suvorov'
- Il-2m, White 24, 8th Guards Attack Aviation Regiment, Black Sea Fleet, 1943, 'Za Chest' Gvardii' (In honor of the Guards)/'Za Rodinu' (For the Motherland)
The printing on the decal sheet is spot-on and nicely done. There is actually a fifth aircraft provided on this decal sheet. There is only a port-side color profile provided on the front page of the instruction booklet of a Shturmovik wearing a white-washed winter camouflage over light blue lower colors. No aircraft number is visible and the red stars have black surrounds. Just the inscription 'Yaroslavskii Komsomolets' (Yaroslav Communist Youth League) in red appears on the fuselage side(s).
Eduard has made a nice kit better with this release, and they even know how to properly spell the aircraft's name. The Il-2 was the first purpose-built tank plinker and was a flying tank of its own right. With the variety of colors and markings worn by these aircraft, this kit offers you an interesting addition to your scale flightline.
This kit is definitely recommended!
My sincere thanks to Hobbyshop.cz for this review sample!