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Cessna 172 Skyhawk '1987 Landing on Red Square'

Italeri 1/48 Cessna 172 Skyhawk '1987 Landing on Red Square' Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2016 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject Cessna 172 Skyhawk '1987 Landing on Red Square' Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2764 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Straightforward build Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $26.95

First Look

Cessna 172 Skyhawk '1987 Landing on Red Square'
Cessna 172 Skyhawk '1987 Landing on Red Square'
Cessna 172 Skyhawk '1987 Landing on Red Square'

In May 1987, German-born Mathias Rust embarked on an ambitious cross-country flight from Wedel (near Hamburg) to Keflavik, Iceland, to Bergen, Sweden, and Helsinki, Finland. Somewhere on that trek, he decided to add another leg to his flight and left Helsinki to land in Moscow, not at one of their airfields, but on a street near Red Square. The safe arrival of a western aircraft next to the capital of the Soviet Union led to the mass firings of senior Soviet military personnel. You can read about Mathias Rust and his exploit here.

If you're wondering if Italeri has produced a new-tool Cessna 172 kit, the short answer is no. When you look at the parts trees to the right, you might think that this is a rebox of the Minicraft Cessna 172, but you would be incorrect. This tooling is from ESCI, first released in the 1980s. If you subscribe to Scalemates, they incorrectly show that the Minicraft kit is a rebox of the ESCI tooling. Both kits are of a similar era Cessna 172 (swept tail, one-piece windscreen, single landing light in the cowling) and while there are some striking similarities in panel lines and rivet details, the cowling is molded integral with the fuselage in the ESCI/Italeri kit, the engine is simpler in construction, and the seats are different.

The instructions point out one truth about both kits - they are definite tail-sitters. The instructions recommend 15 grams of weight to be stuffed into the cowling to keep the model on its nose gear.

Construction of the model is simple though my first step would be to sand down all of those surface rivets on the airframe. If you scale up those rivets to 1:1, it would make the Cessna look like it was constructed in a shipyard or tank factory. The flight control surfaces are all molded neutral so if you want to pose the model with the control surfaces deflected or flaps extended, you've got some work ahead of you. In the case of the flaps, the Cessna 172 has Fowler flaps, so simply removing and dropping them is not at all accurate.

The kit provides three interesting markings options:

  • Cessna 172P, D-ECJP, as it appeared in Red Square, 1987 (note that some of the seats had been removed to make room for auxiliary fuel tanks that will need to be scratch-built)
  • Cessna 172H, 203, 206 Sqn, Irish Air Corps, 1972
  • Cessna 172, H25, Croatian Air Force, 1991

If you're more of a military aviation builder, the overall green Irish Air Corps or the camouflaged Croatian Air Force examples will make for interesting subjects.

It is nice to see this kit back on the shelf after a great deal of time. Whether you're building one of the subjects provided in the box, one that helped you learn to fly, or one of the unique machines you've seen in your travels (like a Robertson STOL version), this kit will help you get there.

My sincere thanks to Italeri USA for this review sample!