One of the more impressive Soviet/Russian weapon systems is the SPPU-22 gun pod. With two twin 23mm cannons it is used to strafe ground targets and can be adjusted from the cockpit to fire horizontal or up to 30 degrees down angle. Typically two are carried on an aircraft. A tactic peculiar to the Russian way of war is to mount the pods so that one faces forward and one aft. The aircraft can then fly down a line hitting targets coming and going – it has to be demoralizing to the recipients.;
Up to now the only source for these gun pods was the KOPRO (ex-OEZ) Su-25. The kit supplied pods are actually pretty detailed, but the gun system itself is very weak and would need to be scratchbuilt. Aires in their new Aerobonus line has released a new series of Soviet/Russian aftermarket weapons/weapon systems. First in line is the SPPU-22.
As would be expected from Aires, this set is well detailed and crisply cast. The pod is molded in two halves, front and back, with the gun system as a separate insert. The set includes a very detailed decal sheet of stencils, which frankly I have rarely seen on these pods – still it is a nice detail. During assembly I encountered an issue, there are no locating -marks to ensure alignment between the two halves – so the modeler has to be careful to ensure alignment. It was also hard to tell how straight the pod was from front to back. I painted the pods MM Aluminum Buffable Metalizer sealed it with Metalizer sealer. Next I applied the decals which were a bit delicate and therefore tricky to apply; they responded well to Microsol. I then sealed the decals with Metalizer sealer and applied a black wash from Detailer.
Both gun pairs in my set suffered from barrel warp in this case the barrels curved outward. A check of the Aires website showed that the sample pictured had a similar problem. So in this case I would need to find a solution. Two fix the gun barrels I cut off the resin barrels and replaced them with styrene rod, with the muzzle added from the original barrel. I drilled locating holes for the assemblies and the trick was to ensure that they were parallel and parallel to the center post. Missing were support brackets on either side of the gun assembly, visible when the gun is deployed at any down angle greater than zero; so I made them from strip styrene. After painting with Metalizer I installed the gun assembly at 30 degree down angle by using CA to glue the back of the assembly to the pod.
Overall, this is a very nicely detailed set, but care must be taken to ensure proper assembly. Highly recommended.
Thank-you to Aires Hobby Models and IPMS/USA for this review sample.
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