Roden 1/72 An-12BK-PPS Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Nice detailing throughout
The Antonov design bureau (OKB) developed the An-12 airlifter from its experience with the An-10 airliner and to provide military airlift capabilities comparable to the US Air Force's workhorse, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Powered by four 4,000 shp turboprop engines, the An-12 became the Soviet equivalent to the Hercules in many ways, though unlike the Hercules, many An-12s were painted in the Soviet civil airline colors of Aeroflot. Seeing a civil airlifter on the ramp with the signature tail gun position of the An-12 would make one wonder about 'flying the friendly skies'.
As with its American counterpart, the An-12 was modified for a variety of missions, one of which was electronic warfare. The An-12BK-PPS was the principal variant for the Soviet Air Forces battlefield ECM platform, designed to suppress enemy air defense radars.
Roden has re-released their beautiful 1/72 An-12 kit with some additional sprues to represent the unique bumps, bulges and pods that adorned the An-12BK-PPS electronic warfare aircraft. Molded in light gray styrene, the kit comes with 12 parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus an additional tree with the clear parts.
The instructions show the few parts that are not used in this version of the An-12, including the tail gun position, which are replaced with parts from the new parts trees.
Assembly appears to be straightforward, but I suspect that the modeler will need to do some dry-fitting and perhaps filling around some joints, particularly around the areas where the engines attach to the wing. While the stance of the landing gear may successfully offset the center of gravity, it still might be a good idea to put some ballast in the nose to keep the model parked squarely on the landing gear.
While the cargo compartment is still used in the assembly of this kit, you'll likely not want to waste much time with painting or detailing this area as you won't want anyone to look into the empty cargo compartment when the real aircraft has loads of racks and equipment back there.
Markings are provided for two similarly painted aircraft:
- Red 14 that was still operational in the Russian Air Force in 2001
- Red 90 of the Soviet Air Force in the late 1970s
This is a nice kit of an unusual special-mission aircraft. While maybe not the cup of tea for some modelers, this model will look right at home parked next to your Trumpeter 1/72 Tu-95 or Tu-142 Bear kits and other unique Soviet Air Force subjects.
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!