The IL-2 Shturmovik can be considered the A-10 Warthog of its dayhaving armoured protection for the engine and cockpit, with its use to attackarmoured ground targets with a good mix of weaponry in support of ground forcessounding more and more like the current American aircraft. The Shturmovikground attack aircraft began production in 1941 and this continued throughoutthe war with the aircraft seeing conflict on everything front where Russia wasactive.
The Eastern European manufacturers use to be frowned upon, butthey are now the equal of the Asian manufacturers in quality if not choice atthis time. Zvezda first came to my attention with some later figure setofferings mostly in the form of ‘GermanParatroopers 1939-1942’ which was such an original release and thena great truck offering in the form of a Mercedes L 4500. Now we have an IL-2 Shturmovik which if itlives up to previous aircraft releases will be a stunner. So let’s take a lookat what is offered in this release of the Soviet Attack Aircraft IL-2Shturmovik.
This offering from Zvezda is well protected as you get an end opening card sleeve with a nice artwork on the front and images on the rear showing some of the nice aspects of the model. Inside of this is a flip top cardboard box that adds that needed protection. Inside of that is an instruction booklet and finishing guide, a Ziploc bag containing the decals and clear sprue plus a sealed plastic bag containing the other sprues. The result of all this is a well protected offering that has an excellent chance of arriving as it should.
Looking specifically at the contents Shows just how far Zvezda has come where injection moulded plastic offerings are concerned. The connection points between the sprue and the part are minimal in number, easy to get at and the parts crisply moulded. The surface detail has been well tackled by Zvezda offering nicely recessed panel lines that are not so fine that they risk being flooded when painting, buy are small enough to look accurate. There is no photoetch provided with the model but that is not the end of the world.
This offering of the Soviet IL-2 Shturmovik is an early version of the aircraft being a single seat version; later versions had a rear gunner just as the Stuka and Bf-110 for defence against aircraft attacking from the rear during its prime use against ground targets. Zvezda has gone to some lengths to provide an engine for this model in the form of a Mikulin AM-38 and online reference indicates they have done a good job of the engine. Zvezda has enabled viewing of the engine from above on the finished model and it would benefit from some wires being added to replicate the small detail not included. The only thing I can pick at is that due to no slide moulding being used the exhaust outlets need opening up to improve the look.
The cockpit of the model has been very nicely tackled with one exception; there is no harness detail on the seat, but in fairness this has been addressed via the inclusion of a nicely detailed pilot figure that hides that issue. The instrument panel is supplied with a flat piece for the attachment ofa decal or a moulded instrument panel for those with exceptional eye sight. There is of course plenty of room for improvement here and I am sure some will put in a lot of effort to improve and add missing detail. One area where every modeller can make a difference is the painting, the instructions are generally right in this regard but the finer detail is not covered in detail.
The external surfaces of the model have been well tackled in my opinion as it all looks correct; no I have not checked every rivet and I will be honest in most cases I am satisfied if the effort to provide the detail hasbeen undertaken. The underside of the wings has some holes that will need opening depending on how you intend to finish the model and I would have liked to have been provided with a drill size for opening these holes. I am appreciative of the inclusion of wing braces as this will help insure everything is finished at the correct angle. The upper portion of the inner wing has the flared portion moulded as part of it and so should make for easier installation or at worst the clean an easier task. The flight control surfaces are provided as separate parts and so could be displayed at the angle of your choice.
The undercarriage detail is quite nicely replicated in this offering with some wire detail added to replicate braking and hydraulic lines. I should say that finding online reference for this aspect of the aircraft is quite a challenge and I struggled. The tail wheel is especially well tackled as regards installation and detail and so meeting my expectations and beyond. The tyres are split in two halves and have a very subtle tread detail present; the result is that great care will be needed when doing any filling that may be needed. The detail in the wheel wells has also been nicely tackled, but again there is room for further improvement.
The canopy has the option of being displayed open or closed whichis good, but it does highlight the need for harness detail in the cockpit. Theclarity is good and I have not seen any magnification issues, the detail isalso good as regards frame work.
Thearmament for this flying tank has been well presented and consists of thefitted cannon and machine guns that will benefit from having the muzzlesdrilled out a little. Two types of rocket are included and the detail forplastic is very good. Then you have an internal bomb load which while having a limitedview of have also been provided with good detail.
Zvezda have included four finishing options for this model which are:
IL-2 No 10 of the 57th Dive Assault Aviation Regiment of the Navy, 8th Bomber Aviation Brigade of the Battle Fleet Air Force, Leningrad, November 1941
IL-2 No 6 of the 504th Assault Aviation Regiment, 226thAssault Aviation Division, 8th Army of the Red Army Air Force, Southern Front, Stalingrad Front, winter 1942-43
IL-2 No 25 from the 7th Guards Assault Aviation Regiment, Red Army Air Force, Southern Front, Shakhty airfield, June-July 1942
IL-2No 5 from the 800th Assault Aviation Regiment, 292ndAssault Aviation Division, 1st Assault Air Corps of the Red Army Air Force, Kalimin Front, Andriapol airfield, November-December 1942
This offering from Zvezda lives up to recent releases I feel and with a little work a stunning model should be possible. On the negative side I would have liked to see the seat harness replicated plus the machine gun and cannon to have a recess in their muzzles. On the plus side there is a very nicely done engine which with some scratch work could be particularly eye catching. The offensive weapons have been well replicated and detail overall is good. One aspect that I am really pleased to find in this offering from Zvezda is that they have covered specific aircraft in the finishing options rather than vague offerings.