Academy 1/48 Il-2 Shturmovik Ski-Equipped Early Version Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||July 2012||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||Il-2 Shturmovik Ski-Equipped Early Version||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||12286||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, nice details||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$43.00|
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.
I had to chuckle when the latest release from Academy arrived today for review - the 1/48 Il-2 Shturmovik. Within days of Tamiya's new-tool 1/48 scale Il-2m3 arriving in North America, Academy wasn't going to allow that landing to go unopposed. Of course what you see here is actually the Accurate Miniatures kit originally released in the late 1990s and is still a beauty by contemporary standards.
I remember building this kit (actually the single-seater on wheels) right after its release and how smoothly it went together. I also remember building Accurate Miniatures B-25B and how challenging the fit was for the nose-to-fuselage join. In corresponding with Bill Bosworth in those early days of Accurate Miniatures, he found that his B-25B assembled smoothly, but when he built another, he ran into the same issues I had experienced. These challenges were all traced to the South Korean company molding the kits and sometimes pulling the sprue shots out of the molds before they had completely cooled. I believe these challenges have been long since fixed.
This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts. Construction is straightforward as this is not a complex kit. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nice cockpit out of the box though the AMS modeler will want to get the Eduard photo-etch set for this kit
- Fixed landing gear with snow skis (the wheels are also in the box)
- 8 x rocket rails w/rockets
- 2 x inboard external bomb racks with bombs
The cockpit uses decals for seat belts, shoulder harness and instrument faces which works great for many modelers. When Eduard released a special edition of the Shturmovik several years ago, they replaced the decal-based details with photo-etch (which of course raised the price of the kit as well).
This release has markings for two examples:
- Il-2, unknown unit, normal camo w/skis
- Il-2, Black 6, unknown unit, winter camo w/skis
As you can see in the images, these Cartograf decals are nicely printed and in perfect register.
With the Tamiya Il-2 kit on the street, one might instinctively abandon the Academy/Accurate Miniatures kit for the new offering and while that kit does offer some better detailing reflecting the improvements in CAD-based design and more modern tooling, but you'll also be paying nearly double the price for that priviledge.
Note: If you try to Google the Shturmovik, bear in mind that this word has been mis-spelled and/or transliterated through several languages, so you'll see spelling like Sturmovik, Shturmovick, and Sturmovick out there. Heck, Accurate Miniautures' own boxes are mis-spelled with Stormovik (carried over to this release).
This kit is definitely recommended!
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!