The Tupolev Tu-134 is a narrowbody regional airliner, that was designed in the early ’60s and was in production from 1966 until 1989. Following the new design that was pioneered by French Sud-Aviation Caravelle airliner, the rear mounted engine nacelles and T-tail became a synonym for regional airliners all around the world. What separated Tu-134 was a steep wing sweep (35 degrees vs Western 25-28 sweeps) and in the early versions a glass nose for the navigator and on very early variants, D30 engines without thrust reversers requiring braking parachutes.
Tu-134UBL is a modification of the basic airliner, replacing the nose with the pointy one, very similar to the Tu-22M3 housing the radar. The cabin is modified with several radar consoles for training the Tu-22M3 and Tu-160 radar operators, thus lessening the training costs compared to flying the much more expensive heavy bombers. Around 80-90 UBLs were built in the early 1980s and a few still remain in use today, divided between Russian Air and Space Forces and Russian Navy.
Zvezda released the UBL kit last year and used it well received Tu-134 airliner kit from 2012 as a basis. The plastic is really nice, with nicely detailed engines and crisp engraved details. A little filler was needed on joining new nose and to fix the inner seam of the engines. The latter, due to the small diameter and location, will hardly be seen, but was remedied using water based Perfect Plastic Putty from Deluxe Materials. Decals are nicely printed, thin and adhere well, but the fuselage cheat lines window apertures did not align perfectly and decals had to be cut for better fit. There are several decal options – from the “new” Russian Navy “Black Pearl” one, to the refurbished Russian Air and Space Forces examples, but I opted for the big red star Soviet markings and a bit more weathered example.
Red 45 was in use from 1982 until 2000 and now resides in the museum part of Heavy Bomber base Engels at Saratov in Central Russia.
Special thanks to Mr.Paint for continuous support!
Company: Zvezda / 7036
Paints used: Mr.Paint
Camouflage: MRP-354 Air Superiority Grey, MRP-47 Dark Gray (dielectric surfaces)
Metallic surfaces: MRP-9 White Aluminum, MRP-147 Burnt Iron