Tag Archive: 1:72


Sukhoi Design Bureau doesn’t need special introduction. Established in 1939 by Pavel Sukhoi. While the WW2 designs didn’t reach much fame, it was the jet age, that made the OKB-51 (as the Bureau was labeled) most famous. Supersonic Su-7 fighter bomber developed into interceptor (-9 and -11) and attack line (-17, -20, -22 series), the Su-15 was made infamous shooting down KAL B747 and the sturdy attack jets Su-24 and Su-25 still form the backbone of Russian Air Force. But it was the Su-27 and the subsequent Flanker family, that made the Sukhoi name very famous in the West. Flanker’s long range, high payload and high maneuverability made this fighter an instant star of international airshows and a serious new threat to Western forces. Su-27 has evolved since its first flight 4 decades ago into a Su-35S ‘Flanker-E’, a highly capable super-maneuverable generation 4++ multirole fighter.

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After such a successful line of fighters, it is no surprise, Sukhoi OKB won the bid to produce new 5th generation stealth fighter with a factory designation T-50, also known as PAK-FA (Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii). The prototype first flew in 2010 and to this day, 10 aircraft were built – 2 for static testing by TsAGI and 8 for flight testing. Currently, the aircraft use the same engine as Su-35S, the Saturn 117, while the production aircraft are expected to be powered by the izdelyie 30 engine, which will be even more powerful and have fewer parts and lower fuel consumption.

Modelling the PAK-FA prototypes however poses a challenge. As we are talking about developmental aircraft, each new aircraft has certain differences compared to the previous. And even the same airframe gets changed during the testing scheme. For example, all the aircraft from 3rd prototype on feature slightly enlarged wingtips and modified tailfin root intakes. Luckily, there are plenty of photos available – I recommend checking the russianplanes.net for references.

The subject of my build was the fifth flying prototype T-50-5 (Blue 055). The prototype first flew on 27th October 2013. While the first four prototypes shared the white-grey geometrical splinter camo, the T-50-5 was the first to sport the new light blue/grey camo with feathered edges which soon gained the name ‘shark’. In June 2014, while landing, the right engine caught fire – test pilot Sergey Bogdan managed to safely land the aircraft but the airframe was extensively damaged. The aircraft was sent for repairs and was later returned to flight testing with the new, hard-edged shark camo. It is also of interest, that despite being repainted, several parts of the airframe remain unpainted and/or are painted slightly differently.

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The kit

I have described my opinions of the kit during the work in progress articles (click HERE) so here’s just a little recap. There are only two injected plastic kits available on the market in 1:72 scale – Zvezda (also reboxed by Revell and Academy) and HobbyBoss (also reboxed by Ark Models). While both models suffer several shape-based inaccuracies, especially in the intake area, HobbyBoss made a better effort with the nose area. However, they also managed to misjudge the scale, making this model more of 1:60 scale, so forget of using any aftermarket items, not designed exactly for HobbyBoss kit – ejection seats for example. As with Zvezda, you can build the first two prototypes from the kit – with the included decals and two different canopies as option. The model builds rather nicely but the fit of the intakes is challenging and will require filling and sanding. Landing gear is rather complex to build while the rear wells are basic (front one is covered on ground). The exposed engine/exhaust area is also rather basic with some oversized details.
The decals used were the new Begemot T-50 decals designed especially for this kit. They are thin, settle down nicely but unfortunately, my copy was slight misaligned. While the wingwalk dotted lines are rather tricky to apply, the decals themselves are great, enabling you to build any airframe of the T-50 project. Stencils however are more oriented towards the first four prototypes so for a shark scheme, a trip to the spare decals folder or some ingenuity are necessary. And you get stencils for all the weapons that PAK-FAs were so far seen armed with during testing.

Model Data
Company: HobbyBoss
Scale: 1:72
Aftermarket: Begemot 72-065 Sukhoi T-50 (HobbyBoss)
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-197 Su-27/33 Light Blue Grey, MRP-40 Gunship Grey, MRP-105 USN Modern Blue Grey, MRP-202 Su-34 Light Blue, MRP-89 USN Light Gull Grey, MRP-38 Light Grey, MRP-90 Lemon Grey)
Alclad (ALC-110 Copper, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-113 Jet Exhaust, ALC-104 Pale Burnt Metal, ALC-416 Hotmetal Sepia)

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Sukhoi T-50-5R – part 6

It’s painting time!

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The model was first primed with Mr.Paint Fine Surface Primer Gray.

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Followed by Flanker Light Blue Grey and the patches made by Su-34 Light Blue and USN Lt. Ghost Grey. Dielectric panels were painted with USN Light Gull Grey.

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I was under the impression, that the top should be Aubergine Grey of the rather infamous “Eggplant scheme” worn by some Su-34s and Su-35S’. But it proved to be too violet in reference to photos of the real bird. I opted to go with the Gunship Grey in the end and I don’t regret it. The ‘Shark scheme’ is born!

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With all the details painted up, it’s time for some decal work, courtesy of Begemot decals and some light weathering to bring out some of the details and to adjust the tones of some colours.

Sukhoi T-50-5R – part 5

It’s been quite a while since my last post, but between soon becoming a parent, modelling in 1:1 scale (building apartment) and hectic work schedule (keeping aircraft safe), there’s little spare time left. Anyhow, some progress has been made anyway. I also apologize for the lower quality of some photos – moving things around, I cannot have a dedicated mini photo studio anymore – I promise the finished model will be properly photographed.

pak-27Ventral missile nacelles are located a few millimetres too forward, preventing the option for the levcons to move – see the difference between the corrected and not corrected position.

pak-28The radome has several dielectric strips on top and bottom side which were added using stretched sprue.

pak-29Thrust vectoring engine equipped Sukhois have downward and inward turned nozzles when shut down. According to the reference photos, they can be either closed or open. I’ve cut the nozzles at the angle and while this not being the perfect solution, with some sanding and adjusting it creates convincing enough effect.pak-30Painting commenced by applying Alclad Exhaust Manifold, followed by Pale Burnt Metal and masking thin strips.

pak-31This was then oversprayed with Copper and after unmasking it revealed the effect I was after. But no worries, this ain’t the final result yet.

pak-32I brushed painted some Aluminum next.

pak-33And added further Aluminum staining with a sponge. At this point, I wasn’t really satisfied with the hand brushed details, so I had to improve the looks in the next steps. pak-34pak-35This is how the engine/exhaust area looks now – still not entirely satisfied but looks much better than it did before – unfortunately, these photos don’t do justice to the work. There are still washes to be done as well as some additional discolouration, but I think I can now move on painting the airframe!

Sukhoi T-50-5R – part 4

After a short vacation I am back with PAK-FA build!

As I want to depict aircraft at rest with engines shut down, several modifications are needed. As is the case with most aircraft, hydraulically operated control surfaces drop when the former bleeds off after some time.

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I have already prepared the ailerons so I’ll show you, how I prepared the flaps. I first glued the flaps actuator covers to the bottom of the wing.

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In the next step, I temporary attached flaps to the upper wing with some masking tape and as the flaps were in the correct position, I glued the actuator covers to the flaps.

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Next step was cutting off the flaps actuator covers attached to the flaps.

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The material of the actuator covers is quite thick so it needs to be thinned. I just used fresh No.11 blade to scrape the interior of it. You can see the difference between the thinned and freshly cut covers on the above photo. What you achieve by thinning is that the narrower cover will slide into a wider (and thinned on the inside) cover, that’s fixed on the wing.

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I attached an Evergreen half round strips to the edges of flaps, ailerons and slats.

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Half round strips were also used for the rounded mounting points for LEVCONs.

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HobbyBoss’ kit depicts early 1st and 2nd prototypes. They were not equipped with radar and featured several panels on the nose which were removed on later models and had to be filled and sanded. Also the massive nose mounted pitot tube is missing on later prototypes and had to be cut off in the kit and nose remodeled using some putty and sanding sticks.

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The base of the tails feature air inlets with a splitter plate in the middle. Basic plastic parts had just a shallow representation of these intakes so I cut them out, sanded and added the splitter plates made of sheet styrene.

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And here she is – All the manuvering surfaces temporarily attached to finally show her shape. There are some little things still to be done, but she is surely getting to the primer stage.

 

Since the last update, I’ve been working on the cockpit so I can finally put the fuselage together.

Ejection seat itself is sufficiently detailed in the scale. I however cannot understand why, if they included the photo-etched details, they did not include the harnesses as well. Oh well, out with the Tamiya masking tape – maybe not perfect but much better than the stock seat.

I’ve mentioned the scale problem earlier. Here’s a comparison of kit’s seat to NeOmega resin one. See the difference! That’s exactly one of the reason, you cannot use any available aftermarket sets and I haven’t found any for the HobbyBoss kit.

Adding some colour to the black seat. At least the newer generation K-36 seats have olive padding instead of black leather as on earlier versions.

Adding some dark wash and drybrushing brings out all the lovely details and gives more depth, more 3D feel to the seat. Ejection seat handles are included on the PE set, but they were lost to the Styrenosaurus Rex so I’ve made my own from thin copper wire and correctly depicted the black cover for them, missing on the PE fret.

Cockpit tub detailing is done mostly with PE parts. I have to say that I haven’t seen any of the actual PAK-FA cockpit photos yet, only simulator ones, that highly resemble the ones found in the 4++ gen Su-35S. Accuracy, apart from the front instrument panel, is questionable at best. The problem is, that while the PE parts are sized spot on for plastic parts, the details on them are really faint and are a core to paint.

Using tooth pick, needles and similar pointy tools and with the helpful magnification of my Optivisor I managed to paint the pit adequately, I would say. Thin dark wash helped to bring out some details, mainly the panel lines.

Large MFDs with green buttons on the frames, were painted gloss black for shut-down monitor views. Instrument panel not yet fixed on this shot.

And the tub finally fixed into the fuselage. The fit so far is great. There are some details still missing in the cockpit, especially the HUD and details behind the ejection seat, but they will be added later, before closing the canopy.

Sukhoi T-50-5R – part 2

Hi everyone!

As promised, here is the second part of the slow progress on the T-50-5R.

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Insides of the jet intake trunks are plagued with 3 pin marks each. I’ve only bothered two fill the front two, as the last one can’t be seen anyway. HobbyBoss did opt at representing the full length intake, but the engineering to do so is far away from accurate as well as practical.

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The intakes themselves are too narrow – the fit to the lower fuselage is less than stellar with bad seams and even gaps on the inner side of the intakes. Filling and sanding is in order to rectify those, but width can hardly be corrected if at all…

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Intake trunks are made of two halves and turbine at the end. You then insert these sub assemblies into the lower half of the fuselage where they have to align with the forward part of the intake as well as the inner structure of the trunk, moulded on the wheel wells. So much about seamless intakes – good luck with that! 🙂 Luckily, little of them will be seen when finished, mainly obstructed by levcons. Oh and before you correct me, that the turbine blades are rather dark metal – I usually use lighter shades for pieces that will be installed in the dark places, to be seen at all.

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And finally all the lower fuselage sub assemblies fixed and calling this part done. Next step will be building the cockpit and hopefully finishing it by the end of the week.

Hi everyone!

After almost 4 months of modelling absence (had some pretty good reasons) I’m back! I am happy to say that in the meantime I have achieved Approach Procedural rating in my Air Traffic Controller career and another happy news – a new scale modeller (hopefully) is growing up in my wife’s belly. I am building a new apartment to boot, so yeah, modelling time is a bit sparse, so this build will be a rather slow one, I guess, but what the heck – scale modelling is more of a marathon than a sprint anyway.

The topic of this build will be Russia’s latest fighter, the 5th generation Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA. I have already built a model of the first prototype a few years back, when Zvezda was the first to release it in plastic form in 1:72 scale. This time, I will be building the fifth prototype. The fifth prototype was the first, not to feature the white/grey geometrical camouflage but instead a rather smart dark grey with feathered edges over light blue, a scheme that soon got the nickname ‘Shark’. Unfortunately in 2013, during one of the test flights, a problem appeared, and the plane caught fire after the pilot successfully landed and exited the stricken aircraft. The fire was extinguished and the aircraft ferried back to the Komsomolsk-on-Amur plant for refurbishment. After extensive repairs and upgrading phase, the aircraft returned to the testing program with designation T-50-5R and a hard-edged dark grey over light blue camo, similar to the airframes 056 and 058. However, it would seem that during the initial flights, some parts of the aircraft were in different colours or unpainted, giving the aircraft an interesting and patchy and surprisingly weathered appearance.

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For this build, I will be using HobbyBoss’ “1:72” PAK-FA kit. You may ask yourself why I used quote markings for the scale? Because it is quite a bit bigger than 1:72 really. Compared to Zvezda, it has better shaped nose area and the transition of engine covers into the spine, but it’s still poor in some areas, like jet intakes for example. As the prototypes differ in details between each other, I’ll try to represent the 5R to the best of my abilities and explain the required modifications as we go.

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The first thing I did was to fill the vent behind the gun port – 5R uses different kind of venting system, consisting of 3 vents, which will be added later. The second thing was to remove the dome sensor behind the cockpit – it is not there on the photos of the patchy aircraft although it reappears on the repainted one. Third mod is the addition of the panels below the back side of the cockpit. There’s an antenna of some sort installed there on both sides and additional work will go in this area at a later stage.

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Wingtips from the third prototype on, are slightly enlarged so the inserts were made from sheet styrene.

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T-50-5R also features a number of strengthening plates on its back and yet again, they were made out of sheet styrene according to the available photos.

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And last but not least – as I will be displaying aircraft parked, all the maneuvering surfaces were cut out as they will be displayed in dropped position.

Sukhoi Su-30 ‘Flankers’ are a two-seat multi-role derivative of the famous Su-27 fighter. There are two main versions of Su-30s. Irkut plant produces the canard and TVC equipped Su-30MK series (in use with Algeria, India, Malaysia, Russia), while the Komsomolsk-on-Amur KnAAZ (ex-KnAAPO) plant until recently produced the Su-30MK2 series, which don’t have canards and TVC engines but are easily recognizable by taller, straight tipped vertical fins and are in use with China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Venezuela, Uganda and in smaller numbers with Russian Air Force. Supposedly Su-30M2s in the Russian Air Force serve as training aircraft for the single-seat Su-27SM multi-role fighters.

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Pavel Sukhoi

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Pavel Osipovich Sukhoi was born in 1895 in near the now Belorussian town of Vitebsk. In 1915 he went to Moscow’s Technical School but with the outbreak of World War 1 he was drafted into the Imperial Russian Army and was discharged in 1920 and in 1925 finally graduated. In the same year he started working as designer/engineer with TsAGI aviation institute and in the following years designed aircraft like record breaking Tupolev ANT-25 and TB-1 and TB-3 bombers. His career then rose to top positions at TsAGI and in the late ’30s he designed a light multipurpose aircraft Su-2. In September 1939, Pavel established his own design bureau (OKB) and he designed an excellent ground attack aircraft but with Stalin’s preference to Il-2, Su-6 didn’t see mass production. In 1949, his OKB was closed on Stalin’s order and Pavel had to work as Tupolev’s lead designer, but in 1953, after Stalin’s death, Sukhoi OKB was reestablish. His first successful design was Su-7 fighter-bomber which was the main aircraft of the type in 1960s, while the derivatives Su-9, Su-11 and the Su-15 formed the backbone of the interceptor units. Sukhoi OKB was also pioneering the variable-sweep design, creating Su-17 and Su-24 series of attack aircraft. One of his most ambitious projects was a Mach-3 bomber called T-4 Sotka. Pavel Sukhoi’s last design was T-10 (Su-27) but unfortunately he died in 1975 and did not see it fly.

The kit

Trumpeter’s Su-27 kits are widely available now for a few years and while they are not expensive and are readily available, most of them share several mistakes. One of the worst and basically impossible to correct is the wrong cross-section of the forward fuselage towards the nose, making the aircraft look to thin and LERX’ ending too early. The other mistake is that the main landing gear wells are posed at an angle when they should be level. Su-30MKK kit I used as a basis also has the problem that the vertical fins are too short and had to be replaced or modified. While not really difficult to build, there are some problematic areas that could be avoided by Trumpeter, especially the wing insert on the bottom of the wing.

When I first saw the photos of this memorial scheme, carried by 4th Su-30M2 prototype (Red 504), I had to build it as a tribute to a great aviation designer. When Caracal decals announced release of decals, including this scheme, I was thrilled as I could finally recreate this bird. Unfortunately, the decal application process was not a great experience. Despite being printed by Cartograf, which normally produce decals of highest quality, Caracal decals were very thick, prone to silvering, did not lay down into recessed details well and were not responding to setting solutions well. Painting diagrams can also be misleading. Unfortunately there’s just a few photos of the real aircraft, as it carried this scheme only for a short amount of time. The black colour of Mr. Sukhoi’s jacket is printed black while it should be Dark Gray. Despite all the problems, I somehow managed to pull it off and create another new Flanker for my Flanker collection.

Model Data
Company: Trumpeter
Scale: 1:72
Aftermarket: Caracal models decals, Master pitot tube, DreamModel replacement fins
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-4 White, MRP-5 Black, MRP-32 Green for wheels, MRP-42 Red, MRP-47 Dark Gray, MRP-98 Light Gull Grey, MRP-196 Light Blue, MRP-198 Light Gray)
Alclad (ALC-101 Aluminum, ALC-104 Pale Burnt Metal, ALC-111 Magnesium, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-416 Hotmetal Sepia)

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MiG-29 9.13 Swifts pt.2

Painting is my favorite part of model building and this scheme provided some challenge.

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Some dread over painting white, but with Mr.Paint paints, opacity is not an issue – even with the dreaded White. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the suitable red from their range and had to resort to a Revell enamel from my collection. Masking the tails for the MiG inscriptions was a process of its own – first tracing the decal on a piece of paper, then cutting it out, retracing its outline on the tail with a 1mm offset and masking it.

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Metal shrouds on the exhaust are were painted alternating with two different Alclad paints – Dark Aluminum and Magnesium, but unfortunately the effect is not really shown in this photo.

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Exhausts on MiG-29s are truly interesting from the painting perspective. I’ve used a bunch of different Alclad paints, chipping, Tamiya weathering sets and oil washes to bring the details out. No, they are not as detailed as resin replacement, but with proper weathering techniques, they look great nevertheless.

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Decaling was an interesting affair as well. They perform nicely and do not silver. However the design is a bit complicated. The bird motive on the top is made of only 3 decals – the body and separate wings. The problem arises when you apply the wing decals over the tail extensions. I actually cut the decals to remedy this problem. Fortunately Zvezda’s design team was clever enough to include spare strips of blue, white and silver to correct such problems.

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Despite being broken into more pieces, the lower bird motive was even harder to apply than the upper one – mainly due to the fact, the shape of the fuselage with engine intakes is more complex. In the end though, with the help of hairdryer, the decals settled down and into the engravings nicely enough.

Polikarpov Po-2VS

Po-2, also nicknamed ‘Kukuruznik’ and less known under its NATO designation ‘Maule’, was designed in the 1920’s and went into production in 1928. It is one of the most produced aircraft in the history with exact number unknown, but believed to be somewhere between 20.000 and 30.000 airframes. It’s initial purpose was for training new pilots, but the impending Second World War transformed the trainer into a light bomber, reconnaissance, liaison and psychological warfare aircraft. Initially designated as U-2, it was renamed into Po-2 after its designer, Nikolai Polikarpov, died in 1944. U/Po-2VS was a designation for militarized aircraft, which was armed with a rear facing machine gun for self protection and 4 bomb pylons that could carry 50kg or 100kg bombs. Its combat use has not ended with the fall of the German Reich though. During the Korean War, N. Koreans used Po-2s in similar fashion as the Soviets did during the WW2 and with some great successes. Po-2 is also the only biplane credited with a jet kill – USAF F-94 Starfire intercepted low and slow flying Po-2 and while trying to engage, the pilot of the jet fighter slowed below the stall speed and crashed.

Russland, erbeutetes Flugzeug Po-2

Night Witches

The Po-2 became most known by a group of women. In October 1941, Stalin issued an order to establish three women aviation regiments – a fighter, bomber and night bomber one. 588th NBAP, night bomber regiment, was the only to be an all woman regiment, including the ground crews. Consisting of young volunteers, 588th started their operations in the spring of 1942 and continued until the war was over. As of recognition to their success, they were later in 1943 renamed to 46th ‘Taman’ Guards Night Bomber regiment. They flew precision bombing as well as harassment sorties, denying German soldiers the well needed sleep. The standard procedure during those attacks was to switch of the engine, glide over the enemy positions, drop bombs and then retreat. These stealth attacks earned them a German nickname ‘Nachthexen’ – the Night Witches. 588th/46th was one of the most highly decorated aviation regiments of the WW2!

Commander: Yevodkiya Bershanskaya
Combat Missions: more than 24.000
Dates of service: 27 May 1942 – 15 October 1945
Theaters of operation: Donetsk, Mozdok, Terek Valley, Kuban, Krasnodar, Novorossiysk, Kerch, Sevastopol, Minsk, Warsaw, Berlin
Female pilots: 61
Female navigators: 63
Female staff and political officers: 24
Female ground crew: 99
Heroes of the Soviet Union: 24

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The kit

ICM released this kit in 2012. Although there has been KP and its copies on the market since at least 1975, a modern tooling Po-2 in 1:72 was long overdue. Plastic is molded really nicely with beautiful surface details, leaving KP kit literally 40 years behind. The fit of the kit is generally good, though one has to be careful with many tiny parts. Special care has to be taken with the vertical stabilizer assembly as it is molded extremely thin and the result is very weak attachment to the tail. The known mistake of this kit is its propeller – it is turned the wrong way – Quickboost offers a simple and cheap replacement. Rigging was done with Uschi Van Der Rosten 0.02mm elastic rigging thread – but looking at the reference photos, some bigger diameter might be better. Anyhow, this model was built for my lovely wife. She got interested in Night Witches upon hearing the song Night Witches by a Swedish metal band Sabaton, which you can hear in the below link.

 

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And here she is, proud owner of the Night Witches’ Po-2 model!mimi-1