The Il-2 is one of those WW2 aircraft that had no equal: a dedicated single-engined ground attack aircraft with its cockpit and engine compartiment fully enclosed in armour plating.
During WW2 the Il-2 proved essential for defeating the invading german army, so it could be regarded as iconic as the Spitfire, P-51, Zero and Hellcat.
Despite its iconic status, 1/144 scale Il-2 kits are rare: before this Zvezda release, the only 1/144 Il-2 scale model ever made was a gashapon model of the two-seater Il-2M3 by Bandai (Wing Club Collection L4, released in 2006).
In 2010 Zvezda added a 1/144 scale model of an early type Il-2 to its Art-of-Tactic wargaming collection.
Meant for wargaming the model is a rather basic snap-together kit, however it is accurate, has some nice surface details, its parts fit very well and it is the only 1/144 model of an early single-seat Il-2 I know of.
The main parts of this kit consist of a solid single part fuselage, a solid single part wing and a solid clear canopy, so construction is straightforward.
The green plastic used for the main parts looks like ABS to me: it has a slightly soft 'skin' that frays when sanded and it is more tough than most types of polystyrene that I am used to.
There were a few 'risky' things I wanted to do before committing to building this model. If any of these steps would fail, then the model would be relegated to the spares box:
As I was not sure if the above steps would work out well I did not take pictures of the kit contents, however a preview of this Zvezda Il-2 model by Scott Van Aken can be found
on the Modeling Madness website.
The kit comes with a radio mast molded on the fuselage spine and with gun barrels and anti-flutter weights molded to the leading edges of the wing.
These are all very thin, the plastic is quite resilient but I did not want to risk bending or knocking any of these off so I cut them off and drilled holes for replacements.
So the model is slightly undersized.
The clear plastic used for the canopy is slightly milky, so I applied some clear varnish to a part of the clear sprue to see if that would improve clarity, which it did.
The solid canopy has a mounting hole that spoils its clarity, so I carefully hollowed out the canopy using a motor tool fitted with a miniature cutter head.
Before cutting I ran a black marker pen along the lower edges to help see how much of the edges were left during cutting.
The panes of armoured glass used in the actual windshield and sliding hatch were 65mm thick, which makes 0.45mm at 1/144, so I aimed for a thickness of about 0.5mm.
On the actual windshield some lines are visible in the glass: 'cross-hairs' on the side panels and a 'diamond' shape on the front window, these are the edges of the separate panes of armoured glass rather than markings.
The kit windshield has a diamond pattern as fine raised lines on the outside of its front window and fine raised cross-hair lines on the side windows.
To cut a hole in the fuselage for the cockpit bay, I started by drilling small holes where the corners of the cockpit should end up, then drilled some larger holes to remove as much material as I could and finally I used a sharp hobby knife to carve out a square hole.
At the front of the cockpit I took care to create a flat 'instrument panel' and leave a rim at the top to form a coaming.
Using a thin burr on a motor tool, a round needle file and a knife I deepened the intake recess on top of the nose.
Thick rails for the canopy hatch need to be added on either side of the cockpit.
On the tail fin there is control rod for the trim tab on either side of the fin, the one on the starboard side should be removed.
To fill the cockpit bay I cut the rear armour plate out of thin plasticcard and made a seat and a control column out of some scrap plastic.
Mounted behind the rear armour plate is a large fuel tank, the top of which is visible through the side windows, so I used some scrap plastic to replicate the top of the tank.
The full size tank has a yellow cap and steel straps along its edges, so I added a cap out of a slice of stretched sprue and straps cut from thin polystyrene foil.
Behind the tank is another armour plate, also just visible through the side windows. The area behind the armour plate will be hidden from view.
Apart from drilling mounting holes for the gun barrels, pitot tube and flutter balance weights in the leading edges, there also need to be an air intake hole drilled in the starboard wing root.
A recessed landing light needs to be added to the outboard port wing leading edge.
The front of the base for the radiator bath has square edges that need to be rounded, the radiator bath itself is a solid block of plastic with a big sink mark in its lower side, so I decided to cut the kit item down to form the radiator insides and add a new bottom plate and some scratchbuilt details.
Behind the radiator is a 2mm deep 2x1mm hole for the stand, to fill it a 2x2mm piece cut from a number tab can be used.
On the underside of the wings the outlines of the trailing edge flaps are missing, I used the tip of a JLC saw to scribe these. The picture shows the scribed flap lines before cleanup.
The main landing gear legs are represented as solid strips (see inserted picture) instead of cross-braced pairs of legs.
To make the legs look more like the real thing I marked the location of the cross-brace on each leg, drilled 0.5mm holes around the cross-brace and used a pointy X-Acto nr.11 blade to open up the holes.
Then I drilled 1.5mm holes in the extension arm and turned the strip into a pair of linked D-shapes.
Whilst drilling and cutting I worked from the outsides of the legs and arms towards the wheel to avoid putting too much stress on freshly created weak spots.
Two sets of main landing gear doors are supplied: one set closed, one set open. The doors on the open set lack the cutout for the wheels, so a J-shaped cutout of 4.0mm by 1.0mm needs to be made in the rear edge of each door.
The kits propeller is a beautiful little item, all I did was drill a tiny hole in the center of the starter dog.
Being a snap kit the propeller can not rotate, which is a pity but as the nose is solid it would take much work to change that.
Cockpit interior and instrument panel were painted in a pale blue (Humbrol 122), apart from the rear deck, armour plate bulkheads and seat which were painted gray-green primer (Revell 45) and the floor and stick which were painted chromate primer green ().
Wheels, wheel bays and undercarriage were also painted gray-green primer.
Decals consist of six stars on white borders and two full sets of red digits, unfortunately on my sheet the red is not properly aligned with the white.
Note that no stars should be applied to the top of the wings.
|upper fuselage||Humbrol Authentic HT-1 Topside Green|
|lower fuselage||Humbrol 65|
|overall clear coat||Polly-S PF70 Gloss Finish|
|clear coat wooden parts||Pactra Acrylic Gloss A18 + Flat A48 (mix 2:1)|
|cockpit, landing gear, wheel bays||Revell 45|
|accentuated recesses||Revell Airbrush 31582 transparent Sepia|