"If you never
heard about this Soviet legend then you're definitely in
the wrong hobby!"
warplane was the most numerous airplane ever built, it is largely
overshadowed by more glamorous Allied and German warplanes.
The Ilyushin-2; "bronirovaniyi shturmovik" or "armored
assaulter" (a direct and correct translation from Russian
language - shturm for assault not storm or similar crap like Stormovik!)
was built in cca. 35000 examples and was the only example of this
type of warplane anywhere in the world at that time (apart from the weird
and wonderfull German Hs-129 which was a different story). The IL-2 was
designed specifically to represent an aerial tank! It was meant to fly low
over the battlefield and was thus heavilly armed and protected. It's
engine and cockpit were fully enclosed in steel armour of various
thickness which was not added externally but was incorporated
directly in the airframe. It was invulnerable to machine gun fire but
not to 20+mm cannon fire, though it could survive numerous hits that
would down any other single engined airplane. It's legacy continues
even today through ex-Soviet SU-25 Frogfoot and US A-10
The IL-2 flew
rather sluggishly and wasn't very fast - it's top speed was about 450km/h
or less - but it was well armored and could carry great loads of internal/external
bombs and underwing rockets in addition to twin 23mm cannon and machine
guns in the wings. IL-2 was very crude and primitive in
comparision to Western airplanes of the same period. It's wings and
rear fuselage were often made from wood. It never carried a
proper gunsight - it's pilot's had to aim through a simple crosshair that
was painted on the windshield and also had to judge the angle of
attack via painted markings on the nose! The rear gunners (which
were often women) had no proper armored protection nor seats -
they had to rest on plain straps of canvas!
The Il-2 was
active from the very start of operation Barbarossa until the fall of
Berlin. It suffered horrible casualties as a result of inexperienced
pilots and German aerial supremacy. Early IL-2 models were singleseaters
which had no protection from rear fighter attacks and since they often
flew unescorted, they were easy prey for German fighters. Rear gunners
which operated single 12,7mm machine guns were added only in
1943 and from then on Il-2s really came into their own (when they
were flown by experienced crews with developed attack tactics and
with proper fighter escort). Usualy they flew extremely
low and would aproach their targets allmost unnoticed. A
squadron of Il-2s would hit them hard then climb and form
a "circle of death" from which they attacked the
Germans until they exhausted their loads of ordnance and cannon ammunition
- this could last up to 20 minutes!
The IL-2 was one
of 3 main Soviet weapons which helped Soviet Union to win the
"Great patriotic war". Together with legendary T-34 tanks and
Katiusha rocket launchers they swamped German armies with their fighting
qualities and sheer numbers.
out of 35000 built there are less then 10 examples in
existence in the whole world. It is pretty safe to say that
none of them will ever be restored to flying condition.
images below to see larger images
the IL-2 is rather badly represented in plastic - it looks like it's
nemesis, the Me-109 won the WW2 afterall! In 1:48 there are
single and two seat models from Accurate Miniatures which are now repackaged
by Eduard. They are supposed to be great, but I wouldn't know for sure.
1:72 there are several options from Eastern European manufacturers,
but none of them is an easy build and this Eduard's kit is no
Although the Czech
manufacturer of aftermarket details and plastic model kits, Eduard is a
top quality brand it's early model kits were far from perfect. This kit
is a prime example of that transitional period. It represents the final late
war 2 seater IL-2 with metal wings. Although it is moulded with
engraved panel lines and has superb quality decals it suffers from crude
design, mediocre detail and vague instructions. It offers a choice of
opened or closed canopies and markings for 2 airplanes. De Luxe versions
of this kit also include PE parts.
How come that
all those Nazi airplane kits thrive while the real winner is sadly
Although I became
really spoiled with quality and am also known to mercilessly trash
substandard kits (like that poor Su-2) this odd kit was actually finished
with great gusto and it's faults were either corrected or simply
It is a very simple
kit and I decided to build it in the same manner. Since the cockpit detail is
almost non-existent and wrong I decided to hide it under a closed canopy. I
might have even painted the cockpit black and excluded ridiculous seat and
instrument panel altogether - the results would be the same - invisible. Clear
parts are pretty well made and the windshield even comes with an aiming cross!
had to use sand paper and putty to make the canopy sit over cockpit properly.
This said, it looks enough like the real thing.
When the wing was
assembled, I ended with an absurdly thick trailing edge - it
was about 2mm thick! I had to brutally sand it off and risk loosing the
surface detail, but to my surprise I managed to thin it out without much
loss. The wing was then glued to the fuselage, but the two held together more
with putty than with glue. I really have to question the sanity of kit
spinner and fuselage don't really match, so I barely managed to force them
together through glue and sand paper. The undercarriage is rather soft and mediocre
in detail. It also suffers from vague assembly instruction.
less said the better. Cannon and machine gun barrels were scratch built.
had extra miniature fins glued together and were then painted and glued to the
rails. Again the instructions aren't clear about their position! Bombs were
borrowed from ICM SB-2 kit and some detail on control surfaces were scratchbuilt
from stretched sprue. I also drilled out Cannon and Machine guns openings.
The kit was
airbrushed with Model Master and Revell enamels. UHU tac was used for the
demarcation lines on the camo. The canopy was hand painted with a fine brush. Aerial antennae was
made from stretched sprue.
Decals are THE BEST
I ever worked with. I consider them to be the best part of this kit. I chose to make
a red nosed Shturmovik which was flown by a pilot that would later become a
Soviet cosmonaut. This aeroplane flew over Czechoslovakia in the last weeks
of WW2 in Europe. Sadly I managed to screw the position of the fuselage star.
should sit in the central position between the two fuselage stripes, but If I'd
kept quiet would you noticed it? ;-)
Weathering was done
with dry pastels, metalizer paint and soft pencil.
All bad things aside
it is one of my favourite builds. The sheer desire to have a Shturmovik in my
display case helped me overcome all difficulties. With it's fancy markings and
correct shape it is a lovely little representation of the famous "Flying
P.S. Please excuse
my bad grammar since I am a bit rusty and the hour is really getting
images below to see larger images