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Tu-126 Kit

Anigrand Craftswork 1/144 Tupolev Tu-126 Moss Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2007 Manufacturer Anigrand Craftswork
Subject Tupolev Tu-126 Moss Scale 1/144
Kit Number 4006 Primary Media Resin
Pros There are four models in this release!! More impressive engineering! Cons Fragile landing gear
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $102.00

First Look

Tu-126 Kit
Tu-126 Kit
Tu-126 Kit
Tu-126 Kit
Tu-126 Kit
Tu-126 Kit
Tu-126 Kit

Anigrand Craftswork is back with another interesting release (or should I say releases?) with this Tu-126 Moss AWACS in 1/144 scale. You'll recall that the Tu-126 followed the same path as the E-3 Sentry - the commercial Boeing 707 airframe was fitted with a flying saucer in close formation to fulfill the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWACS) mission. Tupolev followed suit with the Tu-114 Cleat, an airliner version of the Tu-95 Bear bomber, also fitted with its own flying saucer. The Moss was eventually replaced by the A-50 Mainstay (based on the Il-76 Candid airframe) and was removed from service in the mid-1980s.

If Anigrand Craftswork had stopped here, you'd have an excellent kit to work with to recreate this unique aircraft, or even a good start to backdate this model into the Tu-114. But there are in fact FOUR aircraft in this release. These are:

  1. Tupolev Tu-126 Moss
  2. Kamov Ka-25 Hormone
  3. Yakovlev Yak-44
  4. Beriev P-42

Interesting that of these four aircraft, two went operational - the Tu-126 and the Ka-25. The other two were concepts that were abandoned after the fall of the Soviet Union to provide a similar carrier air wing compliment to the (then) Soviet Navy.

This first image illustrates the usual fine job of packaging of each kit and clear parts to get you a complete and undamaged model. Each bag contains one kit, and each bag is heat-sealed into separate compartments to keep parts from shifting around during shipment and potentially damaging one another.

The second image is of the Tu-126 with its relatively simple layout, though that landing gear is going to be brittle. You can also see by the parts layout that backdating the kit into the Tu-114 airliner is straightforward should you prefer the commercial aircraft instead.

The second kit (third photo) is of the Yak-44, which was to be a carrier based early warning aircraft similar in layout to the Grumman E-2C Hawkeye. The most challenging task to this kit is the assembly of the counter-rotating propellers, each prop consisting of eight blades. This will definitely be an eye-catcher on your shelf.

The third kit (fourth photo) is the P-42 concept aircraft for a carrier-based ASW platform, looking strikingly like the Lockheed S-3 Viking in layout. Unlike the Yak-44, this aircraft was powered by high-bypass fans (like the Viking) and will be a much simpler build.

The final kit (fifth photo) is the venerable Ka-25 ASW helicopter that has seen extensive service from a wide variety of Soviet and Russian Navy surface combatants as well as in the service of several international navies as well. The Kamov-signature counter-rotating main rotor system eliminates torque and therefore eliminates the need for any form of tail rotor. The result is an aircraft that is relatively safe to operate from confined deck spaces (as long as the main rotors have clearance, of course). As a kit, this will probably be the most challenging build as the Ka-25 has long landing gear. While the counter-rotating rotors will be interesting enough to assembly, the landing gear is going to be a bear to keep from breaking during and after assembly.

Overall, all of these kits are designed with the same pin and hole locator system to mount wings and tail surfaces to the fuselage. As I've stated previously, the only real concern I have with all four of these models is that the landing gear on each one is molded in scale. Translate that to mean FRAGILE! If I were you, I'd build these gear up and mount them on a brass rod to a base so you can display these beauties in flight and not on your shelf with collapsed landing gear. You won't be able to do the Hormone gear-up, but mounting the completed model on a rod will definitely decrease wear and tear on this little model.

The kit provides three sheets of decals to provide sufficient national markings, Soviet Navy flags, and bort numbers for all four aircraft.

I am still in awe over the quality of the resin work that Anigrand Craftswork puts into these models. If you are a Soviet Air Force/Navy fan, these four are definite must-haves for your collection. The nice part about 1/144 scale is that it will take up a fraction of the shelf space of the larger scales.

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