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A-90

Revell 1/144 A-90 Ehkranoplan Orlyonok Kit First Look

By Stephen Sutton

Date of Review September 2011 Manufacturer Revell
Subject A-90 Ehkranoplan Orlyonok Scale 1/144
Kit Number 4609 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Recessed panel lines Cons Rough plastic surfaces
Skill Level More Demanding MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

A-90
A-90
A-90
A-90
A-90
A-90
A-90

The pictures taken by American satellites clearly showed it, the gigantic flying object was larger and heavier than any aircraft.  It had short but relatively thick wings and, enveloped in spray, flew long distances at low level over the Caspian Sea.  Any other aircraft flying so low over the water would have crashed immediately.  With this airborne vehicle the Soviet forces would have had the capacity to transport troops or nuclear weapons unobserved over long distances. 

For the Soviet navy, the task of developing and building the A-90 was to put into practice the experience gained with the Ekranoplan KM-1 which was almost 100 m long. The A-90 that was initially designed as an attack and transport Ekranoplan for the Soviet navy was a ground effect vehicle, a type of hovercraft with an air cushion created between the ground and the wings, with only 50% of the fuel consumption of a comparable transport aircraft.  As it flew extremely low (5m) it was below the range of enemy radar.

The Ekranoplan was designed in 1968-70 and test flights started in 1974.  Of the planned 120 A-90, however, only three operational and one static test bird were made.  One of the three operational vehicles had an accident in September 1992.  The remaining two were in operation until October 1993.

The kit comes in the typical Revell-Germany side opening boxing.  Inside is a finely detailed model kit with recessed panel lines, with over 100 parts included. 

The light gray plastic surfaces are rough on the fuselage, and top and bottom wing surfaces and not smooth as I would have imagined,  Moving parts include the gun turrets. 

No flight deck details are provided and the counter rotating propeller is well represented. 

No landing gear is provided nor is there a display stand. 

My copy of this kit did not have any sink holes or flash, it should build into a nice representation of the Ekranoplan A-90. 

Decals are of good register and only provide the markings for two aircraft representing the Russian Navy at Kaspilsk Naval Base, Caspian Sea, Dagestan, Russia, 1992  The instructions are typical of Revell-Germany and illustrate the building process in 23 steps .

With some work to smooth out the fuselage and wing surfaces this kit should turn out to be a unique display model on your shelf. It is currently out of production and can be found at online auction sites, some sellers are asking for a premium for this kit. 

Recommended.

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