The Flying Tank
In February 1938 a team at the Central Design Bureau led by Sergey V. Ilyushin submitted a deign for a heavily-armed and armored single-engine, two-seat attack aircraft called theBSH-2 to the Russian military. While previous designs for such aircraft simply featured armor plates attached onto the airframe, the BSH-2 was a ground-attack aircraft from the outset and thus had an integrated armored forward fuselage to protect vital areas such as the engine, radiators, fuel tank and cockpit. The prototype first flew on October 1939, after which speed and range issues were rectified by a more powerful 1600hp engine and the replacement of the gunner position with a fuel tank. Armor thickness was also increased to a maximum of12mm, and since the radiators were mounted behind the engine in the armored fuselage, a distinctive air intake was fitted on top of the nose. The outer wings were either partially or entirely made from wood. While the rear fuselage and tail were of all-wood construction due to the shortage of duralumin.
It was armed with two 20mm cannons and two 7.62mm machine guns while four bomb bays in the wings could each accommodate a 100kg bomb. Additional bombs could be carried on external racks for a total load of 600kg while up to four RS-82 or two RS-132 rockets could be mounted on the wings as well. About 36,000 examples of IL-2 were produced, making up approximately one-third of Russia’s total aircraft production in WWII.
A beautiful portrait of the aircraft flying patrol stands out and is not incombered by kit information or manufacturers labels. You can easily trim away the boarder and frame the box art. I know it’s a small thing, yet for many people this is a habit. Tamiya also didn’t forget to protect what’s inside by using heavy cardstock paper and just enough space for the content to shift while in shipping.
Excellent information is provided about the model’s finished dimensions and plenty of other features are listed to help slim down that bloated wallet. They even list all the major paint colors needed to complete your project.
Inside you’ll find all 6 of the major sprues have been separately bagged for protection while in transit. The decal sheet also has its own bag and is slipped inside the instruction book to further protect it. An added bonus and so very welcomed is the mask set. These are not precut, thus having the benefit of not shrinking over the years prior to the model being constructed. Simply having a mask set period is worthy of high praise, as are the poli-caps for the propeller.
The typical high Tamiya quality is found here along with very little parting lines on the sprues and parts. There is zero flash and the mold release points left very little behind to clean up. The detail is absolutely superb. Raised rivets and panel lines are excellent and some of the fine rivet work and razor-sharp edge detail is jaw dropping. The surface texture is perfect for a quality primer and paint to have a smooth finished look and so far, the test fitting I’ve done is “don’t worry, it’s a Tamiya”. The interior has not been forgotten either with plenty of detail in the wheel bays, cockpit and rear gunner space. The clear parts are another marvel being super clean with very little warp and no fine spider web lines. Also, the areas needing to be painted are textured making that job easier and brilliant when it comes to placing your window masks.
The decals, despite what many say, are very thin with almost no carrier film. The colors are bright yet accurate and line up in perfect register. A separate card provides the important detail for the version on the box art.
The instructions for each step may look a little congested and confusing at first glance, but after reading the first step you’ll be grateful Tamiya lay them out as they do. All the parts are shown which color they need plus you’ll know where to drill, where to cut and which section you’re assembling. I’m really impressed that Tamiya included a brief history of the aircraft and pictures of the actual plane, an added touch lost to many manufacturers. Brings a smile and reminds me of the old days when all kit makers did this.
Outside The Box
Aftermarket companies have made available an abundant supply of “up-detail” offerings for this kit. From Landing Flaps to interior, weapons and wheels you can make this already fantastic kit something that will be a show stopper. Tamiya have worked with some of these companies to ensure the process is an enjoyable experience and ensure the look of these additions complements the original model.
This is a lot of plastic and lots fun for the price. You’ll have hours of rewarding moments as it comes together and double that while painting and adding decals. What’s more is these aircraft were in so many states of repair and use that you can make it look as clean or as weather worn as your mind wishes.
Huge thanks to Sunward Hobbies for contributing to this review. Please visit their website at https://www.sunwardhobbies.ca/ for more information and to pick up your copy of the kit.
Thanks for taking the time to follow along and pleasant modeling.