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IAR-81 Bopi Kit

Amodel 1/72 IAR-81 Bopi Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2009 Manufacturer Amodel
Subject IAR-81 Bopi Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72169 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Unique aviation subject Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $TBA

First Look

IAR-81 Bopi Kit
IAR-81 Bopi Kit
IAR-81 Bopi Kit
IAR-81 Bopi Kit
IAR-81 Bopi Kit

In the days prior to World War II, the Romanian government issued a requirement for a new fighter aircraft, and despite several designs put forth by their own IAR designers, the Polish PZL series was adopted for the Romanian AF. The IAR-80 design that came out of the competition was acquired by neighboring air arms and was equal in capability to the early Bf 109. As World War II errupted in Europe, the IAR was adopted, but gun armament was not indigenously available.

When the Romanian government aligned with the axis powers, machine guns came available, but not with sufficient capability to be effective in combat. As the IAR-80 evolved, it came along too late to keep up with more advanced fighters coming online.

The Romanian Air Force needed a new dive bomber and one solution was to adapt the IAR-80 design to the mission. A swing-arm bomb release system was installed on the centerline and the IAR-81 entered production. Later versions also received underwing pylons for small bombs or drop tanks.

Amodel has released a reissue of the Parc Models (Romania) kit of the IAR-81 Bopi in 1/72 (thanks to Pablo Ziegler for pointing out the Parc Model origin). The kit is molded in gray styrene, and is presented on four parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. The airframe looks like a slightly larger version of a contemporary competition aerobatic aircraft like the Su-26M, so if you ever wondered what one of those aerobatic beauties would look like armed, here is a good example.

The kit features a simple but representative cockpit with internal rib and stringer detail molded inside the fuselage halves. The one-piece canopy will keep the model from being posed in the open position, so there isn't much need for too much detailing in the cockpit. An AMS modeler could easily address the detail as well as carefully cutting the canopy from the windscreen to show off an AMS interior.

The kit provides two banks of cylinders for the radial engine as well as exhaust stubs extending from under the cowl flaps. These are all individually molded stubs, so you can easily paint and weather these parts separately.

Construction of the rest of the airframe is quite straightforward and provides options centerline swing-arm bomb rack with bomb and a pair of drop tanks or small bombs for under the wings.

Markings are provided for one example:

  • IAR-81, 91, Romanian AF, 1942/43

This is a nice little kit that will build into a unique subject with a little patience and skill. The AMS modeler will have fun with this project and have a colorful fighter for the effort.

My sincere thanks to HobbyTerra for this review sample!