by: Andy Brazier [ ]
The Ilyushin IL-2 was a ground attack aircraft (Shturmovik) in the Second World War, produced by the Soviet Union in very large numbers. In combination with its successor, the Ilyushin IL-10, a total of 42,330 were built, making it the single most produced military aircraft design in all of aviation history, as well as one of the most produced piloted aircraft in history along with the Cessna 172 and the Polikarpov Po-2. It is regarded as the best ground attack aircraft of World War 2. It was a prominent aircraft for tank killing with its accuracy in dive bombing and its 37mm guns penetrating their thin back armor.
To IL-2 pilots, the aircraft was simply the diminutive "Ilyusha". To the soldiers on the ground, it was the "Hunchback," the "Flying Tank" or the "Flying Infantryman". Its postwar NATO reporting name was "Bark". The IL-2 aircraft played a crucial role on the Eastern Front, and in Soviet opinion it was the most decisive aircraft in the history of modern land warfare. Joseph Stalin paid the IL-2 a great tribute in his own inimitable manner: when a particular production factory fell behind on its deliveries, Stalin sent an angrily-worded cable to the factory manager, stating "They are as essential to the Red Army as air and bread."
In 1943, the IL-2 Type 3 or IL-2m3 came out with redesigned wings that were swept back 15 degrees on the outer panels, and nearly straight trailing edges, resulting in a wing plan form somewhat like the AT-6 trainer. Performance and handling were much improved and this became the most common version of the IL-2.
Packed in the usual lidded box, the contents are three sprues of a dark blue injected plastic, one clear sprue, a set of instructions and a set of decals.
The box lid has done away with the usual pictures of the top and bottom view plans of the Weekend edition kits, and gone with a picture of a Sturmovik flying, but still on a white background. There is still colour side view schemes on the side of the box.
The plastic parts have a little flash in places and a couple of injector pin marks will need removing, which are mainly on the inside of the wings. The plastic has a shiny look to it, so a quick swipe with some fine sandpaper should help bond the paint to the kit.
Detail for the interior is pretty good in this small scale, with the cockpit having a fair few parts. The seats don't have any harness's, so adding some if you are so inclined is needed.
The instrument panels have recessed dials, and should paint up quite well. There is a little sidewall detail.
The construction of the cockpit is unusual for a kit as it builds up on the upper wing of the aircraft, with the two halves of the fuselage fitting over the top.
The undercarriage has a little flash to be removed on the landing struts. The struts don't have a great amount of detail on them, but the varying thickness of the strut is handled pretty well.
Undercarriage bay detail is in the form of a few raised spars on the inside of the lower wing halves.
The wheel hubs look great with some fantastic detail on the them, with raised and recessed detail, but the tyres on the other hand don't have any tread engraved into them.
Exterior detail for the Sturmovik is in the form of recessed panel lines with fasteners and access hatches also recessed. The panel lines are very fine and once a wash is added they should really pop out.
Armament is in the form of the rear facing cockpit machine gun, 2 × fixed forward-firing cannons, and four RS-132 rockets slung under the wings.
The clear parts are bagged separately to the rest of the parts so scratching should be kept to a minimum. The parts are thin a crystal clear.
The canopy can be built in the open or closed position, so Eduard have supplied two canopies. The open canopy is made up of four parts, and the closed is made up of one part. Both sets have the frame work engraved into them.
Instructions and decals
The instructions are printed on a A4 size sheet that is folded in half. The build sequence is drawn in the normal black on white line drawings. The build sequence itself is easy to follow, but doesn't have any numbered steps. Internal colours are given along the way.
The last page of the instructions have the aircraft camouflage and decal schemes printed on it, and with the help of the box top schemes should make copying the camo scheme a lot easier.
The small decal sheet looks very well printed with minimal carrier film and good colour registration to the stars.
The markings for this aircraft are for -
Il-2m-3, Chapaevtsy (named after Russian Civil War hero), Blue 22, 3rd Czechoslovak Dqn.
The aircraft wears a upper camo scheme of Dark grey, Light brown, and Green, with Light Blue lowers.