Amodel 1/72 Myasishchev VM-T Kit First Look
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review
|Styrene, fiberglass, photo-etch
|HUGE kit, nice detailing
The former Soviet Union is a vast country with immense distances between strategic locations. Transporting rockets and space vehicles to the Baikonur Cosmodrome was difficult and time consuming. Myasishchev was asked to solve this problem and he came up with a design in 1978 that used the old 3M Bison bomber with a converted empennage, horizontal stabilizers and large rectangular tail fins. It could now accommodate any load on top of the aircraft's fuselage. This was accomplished by attaching a large cargo container to include the freight. A new control system was also added to the plane to compensate for the added weight and different flight characteristics.
The Atlant first flew in 1981. Its first cargo flight with a space payload was piloted by Kurchyerenko and crew on 6 January 1982. The Atlant's main task was to ferry Energiya rocket boosters from the production plant to the Baiknour Cosmodrome. The Soviet space shuttle Buran was also transported to the Cosmodrome by the Atlant. Two Atlants were built altogether. They were superseded in 1989 by the Antonov An-225.
What an amazing and impressive subject this is! How can it not be an eye catcher with its huge cargo container on its back. This subject was announced a while back by Amodel and it took about a year to produce.
All the major parts are molded in fiberglass and this includes the gigantic freight container. I really thought that Amodel would have provided it in vacuform plastic to save weight. Although monstrous it is still reasonably light. The fuselage is not the same as with the 3M kit reviewed earlier but it is completely new and properly represents the modified VM-T look. The main wings are the same as with the earlier kit. One of my wings had a piece missing and no matter how hard I looked in the shipping box I could not find it. The tails look correct but one of them was not molded very well and you can see areas with depressions that will need to be filled and smoothed out.
The plastic is mostly the same as with the 3M but four new trees have been added to cover the needs of the new kit. The tree that contained all the parts for the bomb bays of the 3M is naturally absent from this kit.
The landing gear is the same super complex affair as with the 3M but it so full of detail, it's a model by itself. My only complaint is that the wheels are not molded very well and you can see the same defect in all three trees as if the mold was damaged. The only good thing here is that the undercarriage is mostly recessed inside the wheel well and the defects can be hidden if the modeler chooses to take the easy way out.
The cockpit is reasonably busy with good details for the scale and this is a good thing since the clear parts are very transparent and thin.
The decal sheets are covering one variant and they look accurate but are not glossy at all and I hope they stay together because the decal film is barely visible.
The instructions are clear and they give detailed steps on how to attach the monstrous cargo container.
Amodel keeps delivering all kinds of subjects that nobody else will touch, well, I take it back. Trumpeter did the Blackjack.
This model is very much recommended to the fans of the esoteric and unusual that want that something special. Modeling experience is certainly required.