Kit: Archangelskij Ar-2
Make: Pavla Models
Type: short run injected kit with brass etch detail parts and vacform clear parts.
Way back in 1941 during the early days of the war in the East, the Soviet Air Force introduced the Pe-2 alongside the Ar-2 dive-bombers. The Ar-2 had been development of the SB-2 bomber following the experience of the Spanish civil war of 1936-39 where the SB-2 fought on both fronts of the war. The Ar-2 prototype was built in 1939 under the designation SB-RK as an aerodynamically refined version of the SB-2 and SB-2 bis, and was powered by two 1,100 hp Klimov M-105R, 12-cylinder in-line engines. It carried a bomb load of 1,000 Kg and the defensive armament consisted of three 7.62mm SKAS machine guns. The wing was provided with dive brakes similar to those mounted on the Pe-2. Production of the Ar-2 started in 1940 and during 1941 200 aircraft were delivered to combat units. Production of the faster Pe-2 started at the same time resulting in that the Ar-2 saw only limited service. One of the limitations of the original design seems to be the restricted fuel capacity.
images below to see larger images
Perhaps not the most exciting kit ever to appear in this line of Russian bombers and I must admit that to me the Ar-2 was little known. There is a certain amount of detail packed into the model, from brass etch dive brakes to the accuracy detail of defensive gun turret. The kit fits my range of scale at 1/72; it is molded in medium gray plastic and has no guide pins just like any short run kits but still has a few irritations. The kit does not provide injected items for the clear parts. All the transparencies are vac form type and areas like the nose and gun turret consist of two-piece part in each case, which takes time to trim and bring to correct fitting size using a brand new sharp Exacto blade. I noted that it was the nose perespex that needed a lot of time to make them fit. A number of dry fittings with each case are recommended before the clear parts stand correctly. Other than this the kit is not difficult to construct. Parts have well restrained panel detail in very fine raised lines. The general fit of the parts is very good and little filler being needed on my example.
Construction starts with assembling the fuselage interior compartments, front crew compartment and aft mid fuselage turret area but before starting there are two port holes at the rear fuselage sides that need to be marked and drilled forming two 3/16 round port holes, one on top of each other at both sides. The cockpit detail consists of control wheel, pilot seat and straps; rudder pedals, floor and cockpit bulkheads and brass etch instrument panel. The rear gun position is also enclosed between two semi-bulkheads. This is also well-detailed area, which includes ammunition feed belt to the rear gun. I painted all interiors in interior gray. The leading edge wing parts also have filters in brass, which are fitted to the air intakes preferably added before the wings are joined together. There is an appreciable amount of detail to the wheel wells and there be no less that 16 pieces to go together. Interior of undercarriage bays is medium gray and is best done before the wings are joined together. Some care is required for the alignment of the main wings and tail planes since these are butt jointed to the fuselage. The only extra work needed to the kit is the rigging support to the tail fin and rudder. Their position of the locating holes is given in mm. I made this out of nylon thread, others may prefer to use steel wire string. As mentioned earlier, trimming and assembling the clear parts can be time consuming but with little extra effort that I am sure is not lacking with modelers, the correct fit of these parts is managed. Once secured in place the clear parts are masked with strips of Tamiya tape and white glue, ready for the paintwork.
Painting and decals
There is little on offer in way of camouflage colors other than the finish in Russian green FS34092 upper and light blue lower surfaces. Exhaust stacks are reddish brown. Propeller is silver front of blade and matt black on the pressure side, spinner black. Wheel hubs field green. The four small round portholes were covered with Kristal Kleer. A coat of Klear was brushed on all surfaces and 6 star position decals applied, while a yellow identification number out of a choice of three was attached to the rudder.
This is not an aircraft that from the looks of it you can easily get hooked on. Maybe it is little known due its limited service life or there is little on offer in way of color schemes as it never went to Air Forces outside the Soviet Union, much unlike its predecessor the SB2 where various camouflage liveries are available when serving in Spain, China, Bulgaria or Czech AF. However the Ar-2 certainly merits its place in the long line of Soviet aircraft that saw service during WWII.
Carmel J Attard
images below to see larger images