Ilyushin IL-2 Type 3M
The Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik is perhaps one of the most famous aircraft of World War II, especially since more IL-2’s were produced, 36,163, than any other military combat aircraft of this era. Appearing in numerous versions, including single and two seaters, the IL-2 was probably the best close support and anti-tank aircraft used during the war. Any serious modeler should be aware of this plane’s history, so I won’t repeat it here. The model presents a rather unusual variant, the one with 37 mm. NS-37 cannons mounted in streamlined fairings underneath each wing. Flying characteristics suffered, caused by the CG shift rearward because of the cannon installations, but the aircraft was available in adequate numbers for the Kursk Battles, resulting in the destruction of many German tanks and other vehicles. Shortages of cannons kept production numbers small, and previous variants with the Way-23 mm. wing mounted cannons were by far the most common types. Towards the end of the war, an improved variant, with NS-45 45mm. cannon was tested, but it was never produced.
Packed in a box that would probably withstand an attack by the real thing, the Hobby Boss IL-2 kit has appeared in several variants. The parts are wrapped in Styrofoam, cardboard, and even secured with plastic-coated steel wire, all packed in an almost armor-plated box. This is an “easy assembly kit” and consists of 37 parts cast in light grey styrene along with one clear plastic canopy. The only extras included are parts for four rockets which were carried under- wing on some IL-2’s, but not this variant, according to the most available reference on the subject, the Squadron In-Action #155. Holes in the undersurfaces of the wings must be filled in, not a serious problem.
Other reviews have indicated some accuracy problems, but upon assembly, the model looks like an IL-2, and this is the point, especially since this kit is aimed at the novice modeler rather than the serious adult. Panel lines are recessed, and on the fuselage they appear to be somewhat overdone. A couple of features would have been better left to final assembly, the rudder balance, and the pitot tube on the right wing. These are attached to the main airframe, so care must be taken to avoid breaking them off during the construction process. Sprue joins are thankfully very small, and these can be sanded down and removed with minimal effort. The lower fuselage and wing/tail-plane assembly joins with the fuselage top (and rudder) in a very simple process, but the seams on the fuselage side need some filling. The engine exhausts are nicely done, as in the propeller. The cockpit interior is minimal, as would be expected, but I added a rear seat.
One real problem with this model is the landing gear and gear fairing assembly. It is designed so that the landing gear and wheel assembly must be installed in the wheel well before the fairing and gear door assemblies are installed. It would have been much easier for painting to have the fairings in place and painting done before the landing gear struts and wheels are put in place. Oddly enough, however, when I followed the directions, the gear fairing fitted into place easily, and I did not have to repaint it as I expected. And some of the gear well detail is even visible. In addition, the canopy fit is marginal, even with trimming, and the rear machine gun must be installed in position before installing the canopy. I managed to mask this off, but I can see how a beginning modeler would wonder about this.
Painting and Finishing
Clear painting instructions are provided for the exterior, but there is no information given as to the color of the interior parts. The color schemes and decals provided include one aircraft flown by HSU Capt. Ivan Pavlov of the 6th Guards Assault Regiment in the Baltic Coast area in 1944. The other is “White 100” with no other information.
This kit is certainly not up to the standard of the Academy and Zvezda offerings, but it can certainly result in an attractive model of a very famous warplane. If you’re into this kind of model, get one. It’ll make for a fun weekend now that football season is over, and you could build one between pitches during a baseball game. Recommended.
Thanks to MMD-Squadron and IPMS/USA for the review sample.