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Mirage 1/48 PZL.23A Karas Kit First Look

By Fotios Rouch

Date of Review March 2008 Manufacturer Mirage
Subject PZL.23A Karas Scale 1/48
Kit Number 481303 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nicely detailed kit - colorful Turkish Air Force markings Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $61.98

First Look

P.24A/C Kit
P.24A/C Kit
P.24A/C Kit
P.24A/C Kit
P.24A/C Kit
P.24A/C Kit

The Polish PZL company started design work on the Karas in 1931 and production started in 1936. It was a three crew all metal construction and the design was innovative for its time. About 250 Karas A and B variants were produced.

The aircraft entered the war in 1939 but by that time it was neither fast nor maneuverable enough and the type suffered high loses due to its low speed and lack of armor. A PZL.23B from the 21st Squadron scored the first bomb attack on German territory when it bombed a factory in Ohlau.

This is one of these subjects that attract attention just because of how ugly it looks! When I spotted the kit I decided it was worth having a closer look at it.

Upon opening the box I realized that the price well reflected the quality of the contents inside.

Three sprues in light gray, one clear sprue, a small bag of resin parts and two photoetch frets are provided.

The quality of the surface engraving is very good and the plastic surfaces are reasonably smooth but not polished.

There is a bit of flash and minor roughness around cavity openings and some small parts but it should be no big deal cleaning up the plastic.

Nice detail is provided for the cockpit with full sidewalls provided as separate parts. I counted about forty different parts making up the cockpit and the armament and the instructions go over painting all the parts in great detail. A good cockpit job on the part of the modeler will show to good advantage under all that clear plastic. The Bristol Pegasus is well detailed and some dry brushing will bring out the cylinder details. Two configurations are provided for the landing gear, with or without the spats. A little care will have to be exercised when folding the plastic piece that becomes the main structure of the underbelly gunner gondola.

It is very clear from looking at the instructions pamphlet that CAD work was involved in making the instructions and surely the same people designed the kit as well. Very nicely done.

Four decal choices are included. Two from the Training Flight of the 1st Air Regiment in Warsaw and two from the Polish Air Force College Dcblin.

The kit is recommended to WWII modelers and those who think that the Karas is ugly enough to be a must in every modeler's collection!