Hobby Boss 1/48 An-2/An-2CX Colt Kit First Look
|Date of Review||August 2012||Manufacturer||Hobby Boss|
|Kit Number||81705||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Lots of details||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$68.99|
The Antonov An-2 is a utility aircraft first designed in 1946 and produced in Europe through 2002 as the only aircraft to remain in production for so many decades (the record was recently broken by the Lockheed C-130). The aircraft may still be in production today as the Y-5 in China and there are at least 18,000 examples that have been produced. So how is it that a biplane made after World War 2 could be so popular? The An-2 is the ultimate Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) aircraft. The aircraft is mostly fabric-covered so it is relatively light weight; the two huge wings provide significant lifting power; the wings have spring-loaded leading edge slats that automatically pop out of the wings below 40 mph, and the ASh-62 radial engine produces 1000 horsepower. The aircraft can carry 12 passengers or around two tons of cargo in and out of very small fields. When the aircraft was first built, it was designed as a utility aircraft and crop duster that could operate from areas that have little more than grass airstrips.
Despite its awkward appearance, the aircraft is the ultimate bush aircraft. In addition to its impressive STOL performance, the pilot's manual states that there is no published stall speed. In the event of an engine failure at night or in bad weather, simply level the wings and pull the contol yoke full aft. The aircraft will descend at an airspeed under 40 mph and will impact the ground at a velocity similar to a parachute landing. In addition to its great utility capabilities, the An-2 is also an effective stealth transport. Its top speed is slower that the stall speed of many fighters and its fabric-covered airframe provides very little radar surface. The North Koreans (and others) have used the An-2 to fly undetected into South Korea to insert and extract special forces units.
The An-2 is an interesting kit subject not only because of its unique design, but also the wide variety of paint schemes it continues to wear today. This Hobby Boss kit is the not first procuced in styrene in 1/48th scale (thanks to Art Hamstra for correcting me on this). The previous An-2 options in 1/48 include the Neomega kit produced in resin and the Valom and Bilek kits in plastic. So how did Hobby Boss do? Let's take a look:
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 10 parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. This kit represents the basic An-2 utility aircraft or the An-2SKh crop duster (the SKh in Cyrillic is written as CX). There are some other parts in the box that foretell the coming of other variants, most notably the An-2V floatplane variant with the floats that are shown in the IPMS/Philippines online preview.
The kit provides a very nicely detailed flight deck which will be visible through that greenhouse cockpit cover. The main cabin has optional seating inside and is boxed in with a ceiling so it will look good with the main cabin door open.
Among the features and options in this box:
- Nice cockpit!
- Detailed main cabin
- Positionable cockpit door
- Positionable main cabin door
- Optional passenger seating
- Choice of open or closed cowl flaps
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable elevators
- Optional spray system for crop duster
- Choice of wheels or skis on landing gear
The instructions do not address the interplane rigging that even this big biplane uses to reinforce the structure of the upper and lower wings. Even if Hobby Boss didn't provide the wires or material for the rigging, it would have been nice to have rigging instructions to refer to in the booklet.
Markings are provided for two examples:
- An-2, 12972, Bort 802, Soviet Union, date unknown
- An-2, 50076, China, date unknown
In addition to the two primary subjects, a set of generic numbers are provided so you can render a different tail number aside from those here.
I'm impressed with this kit. It is simple in layout yet provides some excellent detailing in the cockpit and main cabin. I'll have to scratch-build the slats and dig out the rigging locations from either our own An-2 walk around photos or elsewhere on the internet. If you're not into yet another camouflaged Soviet utility aircraft, look online at the wide variety of color schemes these aircraft have received as US (and elsewhere) warbirds. You can certainly have some fun with this one!
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!