1/72 Master Model Ilyushin IL-4

Gallery Article by Bob TheDoc on May 27 2020



Though very few today know about this Soviet workhorse of WW II and it sadly remains 'The Forgotten Soviet Bomber', the Ilyushin Il-4 was one of the great bombers on the Eastern Front. Over 5000 were built and it remained the primary long range bomber of the Red forces throughout the war, used by both the Air Force as well as the Navy. It was the first Soviet aircraft to bomb Berlin, flew 222,000 sorties and sank over 50 German ships. The Il-4 was appreciated by its crews for its tenacity, reliability and ability to withstand damage and still make it home. It deserves to be remembered as the tough and capable bomber it was - as Sergei Ilyushin put it in 1943 " In order to fly on a dark night 1500 km into enemy territory, you need to strongly believe in the reliability of the aircraft and motor." The Il-4 lived up to that belief.

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The Il-4 kit from Master Modell unfortunately didn't. 

I have never ever had to put in so much work into any build. The tooling is originally from the 80s (Plasticart), with raised panel lines and clunky moulding, and has been reboxed by Revell too. Though the kit had a number of parts to represent a fair bit of detail, they were all thick and oversized and needed to be trimmed and shaped to look anywhere close to authentic. The fuselage construction was a nightmare - with six panels (two of them clear) making up the main body. The fit was not very good, and I had to extensively trim, shape, fill and sand throughout the build, just to get everything together.  Adding to my woes was the fact that the plastic was weak, and kept cracking at stress points throughout the construction, necessitating running repairs at all stages of the build. For anyone who makes this kit - Superglue is your best friend. Instructions are poor - tiny and vague-ish illustrations that are hard to decipher, and the paint schemes are incomplete. Decals are of supeb quality, though few in number. The plus point is that if you're willing to put in the work and deal with the frustration, you will be rewarded with a good looking model of an uncommon subject.

I built the kit to represent an airplane of the Black Sea Fleet, stationed in the Odessa region and operating in an anti-shipping role. It is carrying a Type 45-36 torpedo and a single external fuel tank. Interiors, exteriors and engines have been detailed with some scratch-building, and paints are mainly Revell and Vallejo acrylics. I've tried to weather it to represent a wartime workhorse operating from less than ideal airstrips and flying in a maritime environment.

Best wishes from India...

Bob TheDoc

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Photos and text by Bob TheDoc