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Academy 1/72 Il-2 Stormovik

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

Overview

The Ilyushin Il-2 was the main ground-attack aircraft of the Soviet Air Force (VVS) during the Second World War, and was the most feared aircraft on the Eastern Front. Capable of sustaining enormous amounts of damage while simultaneously wreaking havoc on German ground forces. Its heavily armored cockpit, coupled with its wooden construction, allowed for easy repairs and the ability to bring its crew home mission after mission. With over 36,000 built, the Il-2 holds the record for the most-produced combat aircraft (the Polikarpov Po-2 was produced in greater numbers, but it was a trainer, not a combat aircraft).

Note that Academy missed the spelling on the boxtop. The correct name for this plane is Shturmovik, not Stormovik. This has been an ongoing error for decades, though, and I am not surprised to see it here.

The Kit

Academy’s latest 1/72 kit does a good job of representing this famous Soviet aircraft. Molded in the typical light gray plastic found in Academy kits, the model features some exquisite surface detailing, including recessed panel lines, delicate fabric surfaces, and crystal clear canopy pieces. The decal sheet provides options for no less than eleven aircraft, including two non-VVS options.

Starting with the interior, this is quite well detailed, with separate bulkheads, gas tank, seat, control column, and side console. The completed cockpit then fits onto the center lower wing section that includes two spars and other details. The end result is a very detailed interior that does an excellent job of capturing the look of an Il-2 cockpit.

The shape of the Il-2 is subtly complex, and this has resulted in a somewhat convoluted assembly. The fuselage is split into right and left halves, but the upper cowling is separate to more accurately capture the shape there. Similarly, the upper wing halves incorporate a large portion of the wing root fairing, which should help with the seams for the wings. The landing gear sponsons are also separate, again allowing for a more accurate representation of the shape and detailing.

While on the subject of landing gear, there are two styles of tires provided, one regular and one bulged. The landing gear legs are nicely detailed, with separate main struts and retraction struts. The fine details are also well done, with separate wing guns, separate aileron and elevator control arms, and nice weapons. The latter includes rockets for the outer wings and a bomb for the inboard wing racks.

For marking choices, this kit comes with almost too many choices. While most are Soviet, there is a single captured Luftwaffe example and a Hungarian Il-2 that was put together from two damaged aircraft. For camouflages, these range from solid green to black & green to brown & green. Several options have slogans on the fuselage side, while others simply carry numbers, either on the fuselage or on the tail. Two of the options are identified as being from the 174th ShAP, while the rest are labeled as unit unknown. The decals are nicely printed and have excellent register and density. Given past history with Academy decals, these should work out beautifully.

Conclusion

Given the enormous impact the Il-2 had on the outcome of the Second World War, it is surprising that there are not more kits of this famous aircraft. The Academy kit helps fill that void, and given its engineering, I am certain that we will see other variants down the road. My thanks to MRC for the review sample.