Antonov An-2/An-2CX Colt

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Company: Hobby Boss
Provided by: Squadron - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

I have always had an interest in the An-2 ever since watching one take off across the width of the runway at Shaw AFB. It is good to see a 1/48 kit of this much used multi-purpose aircraft.

This kit makes the fifth time that the An-2 has been kitted in 1/48 scale. The first was a Soviet Union-made “desk top” model kit similar to the Allyn and Microscale kits. Neomega did one in resin, and short-run injection companies Bilek and Valom have also issued 1/48 Colt models. This new kit by Hobby Boss marks the first time a major model company has produced an injection molded kit of the An-2.

Having already built the Valom offering, I was very interested to see what Hobby Boss provided.The kit comes in a stout box with 245 parts on 11 sprues. The clear parts are separately bagged, wrapped in a cushioning material, and further protected by being held in a separate compartment in the box. This kit was built out of the box with only the addition of lap belts for the pilot and co-pilot seats.

Construction usually starts with the cockpit, but as the fuselage and tail are separate and the instructions would have you build each seperately and then join the complete tail unit with the complete fuselage, I wanted to go a different route. I have always found such “plug in” assemblies to create fit issues, so I joined each tail half to its respective fuselage half first to try and minimize this.

Next, I moved on to the cockpit. There is some very nice detail here and should be more than adequate for most modelers. Color callouts are limited with just the basic main colors being given. Cockpit color was given as intermediate blue, with the troop/cargo area calling for interior green. It would have been helpful to show colors for some of the smaller details, as references for the An-2 are not that common.

All of the cockpit components fit together well. Some of the smaller assemblies are a bit fiddly – the rudder pedals make up from four separate small parts and the seats six. What makes the fiddly is that, while the sprue attachment points are located in areas that will not show (great tool design by HB here), they make the very small parts hard to remove. Especially when located right next to alignment peg. Thankfully, my new UMM-USA sprue nipper eased this process a good bit. Decals supply the instruments for the cockpit panel and they worked very well when lined up and decal solvent was used. The cabin offers you the option of stowed or deployed troop seats, and another nice touch are the three individual jump lights that go on the back bulkhead. The windows are installed from the inside and fit quite well.

Once you assemble the cockpit and cabin areas, it is now time to insert it into the fuselage (where it fits like a glove), and then button up the halves. Fit here was again superb, with no issues. It is here in step four where the painting instructions come up lacking again. There are no color callouts for the cowling interior or the engine. This is a small shortcoming in the kit, as most of us have come to expect such callouts from major manufacturers!

The clear canopy is presented in halves that have been cleverly engineered to where one half has the frame and the other the “window”, and when joined leave no real visible seam at the join line. I will confess that when I first saw this I was concerned, but those concerns proved unfounded!

Next we have the wing assemblies, and here again, for the most part, the fit is excellent. You are instructed to cut a rectangular hole in the bottom wing, and then insert and glue part K12, which is one of the gear strut attachment points. While this is not a problem, I don’t see why a mainstream manufacturer could not simply tool the hole in place. The fit of the bottom wing to the fuselage presented no problems. Be careful attaching the small struts from the fuselage to the bottom wing (parts E69 and E68), as the fit is tight and they are somewhat fragile. The upper wings fit well together and to the fuselage. The leading edge has a corrugated construction, and the way the kit is engineered, once assembled you will have to sand between each corrugation and the top of each raised corrugation as well, which takes a fair amount of time and is tedious work. Lastly, I had some fit troubles with the leading edge lights on the lower wing – just pay attention here, and with careful test fitting and sanding you will get a good fit. Again, the painting instructions are not clear. The area that will be under the clear part should be painted silver to simulate a bulb. The three clear parts on the lower wing leading edge are shown as remaining completely clear on the painting and marking guide, but examination of photos on the Net show that the clear area is rounded, with a clear center and with the rest painted to match the exterior. The round area is represented on each clear part and that will aid in masking. But, again, it would have been useful to have this on the instruction sheet.

With most of the airframe construction complete, it is now time to fit the landing gear and small details. Parts J5, J6, J7, J8, J10 and J15 are listed as optional and form an interesting looking attachment! What it is and what it is for is a mystery as there is nothing in the instructions to tell you, nor does it appear on the decal and painting guide. There is an error on the instructions for the ski landing gear and their supports – the main skis are parts J12 and J13, but the V-shaped struts are also listed as J13 and J18 when they should be K13 and K18.

The decals offer two fairly ho-hum marking options: one for a standard Russian scheme of green and light blue with red stars in eight locations and two sets of white numbers, and a similarly colored Communist Chinese version with National markings in 6 places and one set of white numbers. As to where and when these two examples served, one can only guess as there is no information on the painting and marking guide. Additional white numbers are on the sheet, so one could vary the tail number for the Chinese offering. The decals were in register and performed well. Rigging completes the model, but no rigging guide is included, and while the AN-2’s rigging is fairly simple, a guide would have proven to be most helpful.

After having built both the Valom and the new Hobby Boss kit of the An-2, I can say that while the resin offered in the Valom kit offers better detail in some areas, the Hobby Boss kit is vastly superior in all other ways. The overall fit is excellent with just a little filler needed in a few places. The level of detail offered is satisfactory and well done. The building process proceeded along very smoothly with no problems. The decals, while a little bland in subject, performed well. Hobby Boss needs to improve further on their instructions and color callouts as chronicled above, and this is really the only “major” complaint I have with the kit. Also, trying to reduce the sprue attachment on some of the smaller parts would be helpful as well. All in all, this is a very nice kit that was an enjoyable build. If you want to add an An-2 to your collection then this is the best kit and easiest to assemble of the kits out there. I can recommend this kit to any modeler other than a beginner. It is well designed and a fun build, and I would like to thank Hobby Boss, Squadron, and IPMS/USA for the chance to construct and review this kit.


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