Modelsvit 1/72 Tu-22KD (Blinder) First Look
|Date of Review||July 2016||Manufacturer||Modelsvit|
|Kit Number||72022||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Beautiful details||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$60.00|
By the mid-1950s, Soviet planners had released a requirement for a new supersonic bomber to replace the subsonic Tupolev Tu-16. The Tupolev OKB (experimental design bureau) started work on article 105 which first flew in 1958, but during the design process, the concept of Area Rule was discovered (too late for the F-100 Super Sabre, but in time for the US Navy's first supersonic fighter, the F-8 Crusader) and the design was revised accordingly rendering the article 105A. Shortly afterwards, the aircraft entered service as the Tu-22 'Shilo' (Awl) and would receive the NATO codename 'Blinder'.
The early Tu-22s were a disappointment as the aircraft was not able to endure the aerodynamic friction of supersonc flight. Fuel consumption was a major issue as well given than the engines must remain in full afterburner to achieve supersonic speed. The Tu-22K was developed to carry the huge long-range Kh-22 anti-ship missile capable of Mach 4.5+ speed. Designated as Blinder B by NATO, the aircraft was adopted by Long Range Aviation (Soviet Air Force) as well as Soviet Naval Aviation. These aircraft were modified with air refueling capability giving the aircraft greater operational flexibility and these aircraft were redesignated as Tu-22KD.
I was very impressed with one of Modelsvit's previous releases, the Be-12 Mail amphibious aircraft in 1/72 scale which turned out to be a beautiful kit. When Modelsvit showed photos of a kit prototype for the Tu-22 Shilo, I couldn't wait to get my hands on one. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on 27 parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus one tree molded in black styrene and one tree of clear parts. According to the kit specifications, there are 348 parts in this build so you won't be lacking in details.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nice details in the three cockpits
- Positionable crew entry doors
- Moveable tail gun
- Detailed engine intakes and afterburner sections
- Detailed landing gear
- Optional RATO bottles (x 4)
- Aircraft can be posed unarmed or with Kh-22 in weapons bay
- Kh-22 can be posed on an included weapon stand
The kit has nicely detailed cockpits for the three crew stations but there isn't excessive detailing given that you won't see much of these details once the model is closed-up. The model is designed not to be over-engineered and given that most Soviet Tu-22s were bare metal, the plastic surface of this kit is smooth and ready for your favorite bare metal solution. If you don't care for bare metal, the Tu-22s that were exported were generally camouflaged so you can find aftermarket solutions for these.
Markings are included for three examples:
- Tu-22KD, Bort 63, 341st TBAP, Soviet AF, 1980s
- Tu-22KD, Bort 63, 341st TBAP, Ukrainian AF, 1990s
- Tu-22KD, Bort 63, Poltava Museum, Ukraine, 2000s
When I decided to acquire my kit, I ended up ordering one from a Ukrainian hobby shop via eBay who did an outstanding job of packing the kit. At the time, Red Star Scale Models didn't have the kit in stock and hadn't for a while (I'd been watching) but they do have the kit in stock as of this writing.
This is another nice kit from Modelsvit and I look forward to getting this on the bench. What's more, I can finally retire the ESCI/ERTL/Italeri kit even though I had acquired an aftermarket fuselage plug and radome to correct that kit's profile. I certainly hope Modelsvit will tackle another Tupolev on my wish list, the Tu-28P!