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M-17 Kit

Anigrand Craftswork 1/72 M-17 Stratosfera Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2007 Manufacturer Anigrand Craftswork
Subject Myasishchev M-17 Stratosfera Scale 1/72
Kit Number 2073 Primary Media Resin, White Metal
Pros Beautiful casting, nice test-fit, even nicer detail Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $73.00

First Look

M-17 Kit
M-17 Kit
M-17 Kit
M-17 Kit

The Myasishchev OKB embarked on a development for a high-altitude reconnaissance and research plaform simiar in concept as the Lockheed U-2R and TR-1A. The first example, the M-17, was a single-engine design that first flew in 1988. Powered by a single RD-36 engine derived from the Tu-144 supersonic transport, this engine operated without the afterburner section.

After a series of test flights, Myasishchev OKB moved on with their development and redesigned the M-17 to accomodate two PS-30 engines. This version was designated M-55 and also featured a longer nose, raised cockpit, and a reduced wingspan.

While development of the type continued, the M-17 completed its test duties as was relegated to an aviation museum.

Anigrand Craftswork has released initial prototype of the Myasishchev OKB's high-altitude aircraft. This kit is cast in Anigrand's standard resin and even features a clear resin cast canopy.

The kit is packaged in their robust packaging that keeps parts from floating around during shipment and getting damaged in the process. The clear resin canopy is separately packaged.

The fuselage is hollow-cast as you can see in the photo to the right and as the cockpit 'pit' cast into the fuselage. Add the ejection seat and you're in business. Stick the engine tailpipe in the rear bay and the fuselage is almost done.

While no mention is made in the instructions, you can see from the placement of the main gear and the mass of that resin twin-boomed tail that you'd best fill the nose area under and around the cockpit with ballast to keep this aircraft from sitting on its tail.

The engineering of this kit is typical Anigrand - nicely done with locating pins for wing/fuselage and inner/outer wing panel interfaces. Some clean-up of the parts is always required with resin kits and if you trim a little and test fit often, you will not have much need of filler to complete this model.

The intakes have some resin bubbles that will need a moment with a needle file, but this isn't a big deal, just be careful not to overdo the job and damage the part.

The landing gear is thick enough that it shouldn't have a problem holding up the completed model, even after adding ballast. Some of the kits come with rather fragile landing gear that is best replaced with scratchbuilt metal/styrene parts or simply built gear-up and displayed on a stand.

Two sets of markings are supplied to provide sufficient markings for 17103 in its 'Aeroflot' markings. I was always amazed at the unusual types of aircraft wore the Aeroflot colors.

If you are a recce modeler and have one of the 1/72 U-2 or TR-1 kits, this interesting aircraft will definitely add some perspective to the subject! I don't know if the M-55 series is also on Anigrand's roadmap, but it will definitely be welcome!

My sincere thanks to the US importer, Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!