Author: Maciej Noszczak Publisher: KAGERO Publishing Series: Topdrawings, No.13
While modelling a kit, no matter whether it is a plane, car or tank, we usually try to get as close to the original as possible. Of course we often work with the kit just for fun but making a good looking replica which looks like real bird is always somewhere in the back of your mind. That's why having good and accurate references in the library is as important as having a good and accurate kit on the workbench. Some people may not believe it, or even refuse, but most people know that for our life the correct size really does matter. And how we can make sure that the size of our current build is correct right where it should be? We must have plans in the proper scale. That's what different publishers delivers us from time to time.
Topdrawings No.13 - Ilyushin Il-2 AM38 One of these publishers is Kagero with their “Topdrawings” series. In the no.13 of the series the company provides us the scale plans of der Schwarze Tod, as German soldiers used to say, or the Sturmovik as it was practiced in the Russian side of the front line. The publication is focused on the most popular versions of the Il-2 fitted with the AM-38 and AM-38F engines, both single- and double-seaters. As the title of the series says the publication is filled with the plans and drawings in three most popular amongst the modellers scales: 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32. On 19 pages of the publication we can find 15 pages in the A4 format with the drawings in 1/72 and 1/48 scales. The drawings in 1/32 scale are attached as two huge folded sheets printed on both sides – it is simply impossible to accommodate such big drawings in any other way in the publication. Four pages inside the book and the last cover page are in colour with side profiles of 8 different machines, two of them are Polish double-seaters, all others are Russian. For all these planes Kagero have attached a decal containing the individual markings and numbers seen on these planes in three scales. All other markings which are Polish chequers and Russian stars must be provided by the modeller himself. Decals were printed by Cartograf with their typical quality. A few numbers look as though they have been misprinted by don't worry – these numbers were originally painted using “free hand” so these numbers must look crooked on the decal sheet too. Let's go to the drawings now. On the plans we will find not only simple side profiles of the planes. There are also a plenty of details of particular versions. The plane is shown not only in the typical port or starboard views, from above and below but also from the front and back, which is not very popular amongst publishers. On the separate drawings we can compare successive modifications of the original construction, sometimes very minor like doubled exhaust pipes or early/middle/late type of the canopies or lowered/retracted skies in the winter variant. That's not all. There's a lot of sections of the wings and fuselages but these are scattered on different pages, depending on the bigger drawings layout. What else? Some equipment and construction details of the plane are also reproduced on the drawings but many times in other scales, like 1/24. These details are some hatches and covers, inspection panels, armament (guns, bombs and rockets), different type of the propellers or landing gears. On the drawings in 1/72 scale, the author shows and highlights the most important changes and modifications of the construction like wooden or metal fuselages, different wings, different rear gunner's coverings etc. What's important for us, the modellers, each drawing and scale plan shows the panel lines but also the lines of the rivets. As riveting is a very popular way of upgrading the kits this detail on the drawing will surely be welcomed by many of us. The drawings are described both in Polish and English subtitles.
Conclusion To sum up I think this is very useful publication, especially for more experienced modellers and those who don't want just to put the parts together but change the plastic sprues into the work of art. I see a big improvement in the quality of the drawings in comparison to the previous publications in this series. Lines of the plans although reasonably thin are sharp and clearly visible, the same applies to the rivet lines. None of the detail is too difficult to be seen or recognised, as it happened in one of the previous number of this series. If we add the decal sheet which is given inside the book, instead of the small mask set for painting the canopy, which was added in the previous number, we get a great value for money on the book.
The pictures of the scale drawings have been altered, and do not represent the accurate and more defined drawings found in the book.the larger scale drawings were to large to photograph or scan.
Thanks to Kagero for providing the review sample.
Highs: Many details and changes of construction shown on good quality drawings, decal sheet as a nice bonus, bilingual text: Polish and English.Lows: none of note.Verdict: Highly recommended if you are not interested in building your Sturmovic straight out of the box or you are interested in the history of the plane.
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