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U-2 Kit

Eduard 1/48 Polikarpov U-2 VVS Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2005 Manufacturer Eduard
Subject Polikarpov U-2 VVS Scale 1/48
Kit Number 1112 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Very nicely detailed kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $39.95

First Look

U-2 Kit
U-2 Kit
U-2 Kit
U-2 Kit
U-2 Kit
U-2 Kit
U-2 Kit

In 1928, Polikapov OKB designed a prototype that was supposed to be the primary trainer for Soviet military use. The prototype had a number of design problems, forcing a redesign of the aircraft. The result of that work became the U-2. Not unlike the de Havilland Tiger Moth, the U-2 became the trainer for fledgling Soviet pilots.

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the little Polikarpov was pressed into a variety of missions in addition to training. These included air ambulance, artillery spotter, and lightweight night-time bomber "Washing Machine Charlie" missions.

By the time production ended 25 years later, over 40,000 examples had been built. After Polikarpov's death in 1944, the U-2 was re-designated Po-2, and these aircraft remained in service well into the Cold War, long enough to gain a NATO Codename: MULE.

During a recent pass through my local hobby store, I spotted an interesting subject on the new kit shelf - an Eduard 1/48 Polikarpov U-2/Po-2 in Soviet Air Force (VVS) service. If it was an Eduard kit, it had to be detailed and I was not disappointed!

The kit is molded in tan styrene and is presented on four parts trees, one small tree of clear parts, and two frets of photo-etched details. As with all of Eduard's kits, this one has nicely scribed details and a variety of options included.

The framing molded into the cockpit sidewalls is augmented with quite a bit of photo-etched detailed. As with the full-scale aircraft, this kit replicated the external linkages between the cockpit controls and the flight control surfaces. The two seats are little more that butt frames mounted on a pair of vertical rails. Photo-etched seat belts and shoulder harnesses are also included.

The instrument panels are also typical Eduard - photo-etched panel with printed acetate instrument faces laminated together.

The five-cylinder M-11 engine consists of the five cylinder heads that are mounted on the crankcase. Push rod, intake manifold, exhaust manifold and even ignition wire details are added to cylinder heads.

Assembly of the wings, fuselage and tail section are all straightforward. It isn't until you get to the rigging that the workload will pick up. All of those bell cranks, push rods, and support wire mounts that were installed as photo-etched parts will get rigged next. Here is where a steady hand and no caffeine will help.

The instructions indicate that several parts are not used in this version, indicating that the U-2/Po-2 will be released in additional versions. Most noteworthy are the two sets of pods on the last sprue that look like drop tanks. These go under the wings to carry wounded soldiers.

A set of vinyl masks are included in the kit to paint the main wheels.

Markings are provided for six aircraft:

  • Po-2VS, White 40, 46 GNBAP, 1943
  • Po-2VS, White 16, Manchuria, 1945
  • Po-2VS, Red 8, 9 GNBAP, 1944
  • Po-2VS, White 12, Tamansky GNBAP, 1943
  • Po-2VS, White 28, 9 GNBAP, 1944
  • Po-2VS, Yellow 19, 266 NBAP, 1943

This kit isn't designated as a 'Profipack' though I don't know what they could add to make this very detailed kit fall into that category that isn't already in the box.

I had to pick this kit up as there are numerous interesting historical accounts of women pilots that flew these aircraft over enemy positions at night, reconnoitering while dropping the occasional bomb to keep the Germans awake. The nice variety of color schemes offered in the full-color profiles will make this a great addition on your scale flightline!