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B-33

Special Hobby 1/48 Avia B-33 (License-Built Il-10) Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review August 2009 Manufacturer Special Hobby
Subject Avia B-33 (License-Built Il-10) Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48047 Primary Media 214 parts (120 in grey styrene, 63 etched brass, 22 resin, 9 clear styrene)
Pros First kit of an Il-10 in styrene; nice selection of multimedia parts to provide detailing Cons Fixed canopy and control surfaces may not be popular with serious aircraft modelers
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $64.95

First Look

The Il-10 emerged from the Il’yushin design bureau in 1944 as a successor to the very successful and popular Il-2 series ground attack aircraft – “shturmovik” in Russian. While the Il-2 had been effective and eventually the most produced aircraft in world history with over 36,000 built, it was becoming long in the tooth and a faster and more powerful machine was required. Attempts by the fledgling Sukhoy bureau to produce the Su-6 did not go far. A new engine, the AM-42, was developed in 1943 and Il’yushin began to work on fitting it to an improved Il-2 airframe, beginning with the Il-8 heavy shturmovik. Two other offshoots, the Il-2I (interceptor) and Il-1 fighter, failed to get into production, but after development the latter was modified to become the Il-10. This new aircraft was accepted for service on 23 August 1944.

While the Il-10 could not carry the same bomb load as the Il-2, it was more maneuverable and faster as well as better armored. It beat out the modified Sukhoy Su-6 in being simpler and more rugged which were then prime considerations. The aircraft was armed with two 23mm VYa cannon and two 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns in the wings and a 12.7mm UBK heavy machine gun in a VU-8 turret at the rear of the cockpit. Top speed was now 551 kph (342 mph) at 2800 meters (9185 feet). A total of 3,834 Il-10s and 283 modified Il-10M aircraft were built by the USSR.

This model is of the Avia B-33 license-built production variant. Reviving the Czech aviation industry at Sokovice in 1951, they received the jigs and tooling to build the Il-10 as the Avia B-33. This aircraft primarily differed from the Il-10 in that it mounted four 23mm NS-23RM cannon in place of the VYa and ShKAS weapons and a B-20EhT 20mm cannon instead of the UBK machine gun. 1,200 of these aircraft (including SB-33 trainers) were built through 1956.

I am a sucker for Korean War aircraft and as there are still only three major types missing from my collection – the La-11 and Yak-9P fighters and the Il-10 – I picked one of these kits up at the IPMS Nationals to convert it to a KPAFAC machine.

The kit is very throughout and includes both resin details and etched brass components. Some features will not be appreciated by serious aircraft modelers, such as the fact that the forward cockpit section comes as a single piece and as such you cannot display the cockpit details (which are plentiful and petite) as well as many would like. Also, all control surfaces are molded solid in neutral positions.

Given those shortcomings, the kit is quite lovely with very fine scribed panel details and a good selection of options. The landing gear is nicely done (albeit with two-piece wheels rather than resin ones) with detailed wheel wells and also the small bomb bays are provided with interior details. Bombs consist of styrene bodies with etched brass fins.

While these are semi-limited run kits, they do not follow most eastern European convention with only butt-joint surfaces for the tail fins but have actual locating slots and more upscale fittings. Surprising the oil cooler intake (F17) is solid and does not provide for an open intake.

The cockpit is where a lot of the details go and the panels are a combination of film, styrene and etched brass. Details are complete down to propeller trim controls and also throttle and canopy controls, with extra handholds inside the styrene cockpit. The rear turret assembly consists of 14 parts plus the windscreen.

As noted the kit is of the four-gun B-33 and some modifications will have to be made to convert the model to a Soviet-built Il-10. I used the two-volume “Aviakollektsiya” set (5-2004 and 1-2005) for reference on the aircraft and they show detailed drawings and photos of the changes which need to be made.

Three different aircraft are provided for in the finishing instructions: a Czech B-33 (white DD-35), a Polish B-33 (white 7), and a Hungarian B-33 (white 20), all in standard Soviet dark green over light blue camouflage.

Overall this is an expensive but nicely done kit, and will fill a hole in at least my collection of Korean War aircraft.

Sprue layout:

  • A 26 Fuselage, propeller, wheels
  • B 7 Wings, tail assembly
  • C 31 Bombs, interior, wheel wells
  • D 56 Guns, flexible gun, panels, mounts
  • E 9 Clear styrene
  • F 22 Resin details
  • PP 63 Etched brass

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