1/72 Mastercraft PZL-Mielec TS-11 Iskra Bis D

Gallery Article by Jean-Paul Wrona on May 31 2012



Here is my TS-11 "Iskra" ("Spark"). I made it with the Mastercraft kit, improved with Part photoetched sets. It was my entry for the 2010 Warsaw Pact groupbuild (on ARC forum), but for various reasons, it was completed only in July 2011.

History :
The Iskra is a trainer designed by Tadeusz Soltyk (1909-2004). The first flight took place in 1960 and entered in service few years later. 424 aircraft were produced until 1987, in 20 batches. In 1964, the aircraft broke few records, but wasn't chosen to be the standard jet trainer for the Warsaw Pact. That's why the only users are Poland and India (retired). Today (2012), 54 aircraft are still in service (they are supposed to be replaced in the future by 16 new advanced jet trainers).


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The kit :
I used an old Mastercraft release, which gives options for a TS-11 Iskra 200BR (a prototype of a single seat ground attack variant) and a bare metal Iskra Bis D (two seat trainer). I decided to do the trainer. It's a rustic kit, with engraved panel lines, but limited details and fit issues. Overall shape is OK.

I tried to improve it with PE sets from Part. Their use wasn't easy : there are very small parts, fitting issues (again !)... For the seats, the first aircraft used the KK-2 (also used in the MiG-17 and -19) but were replaced by a lighter model, derivative from the KK-1 (MiG-15). In a first time, I thought to use Neomega's seats for the MiG-15, but finally, I decided to scratch them.

Painting :
It was painted by brush with Humbrol's metalcote colors and a grey anti-glare panel.
For the number, I wanted to do the "red 0825", like provided in the kit. Decals were old, so I preferred to renounce to use them.

For the Polish AF insignias, I used a Techmod generic decal sheet. No problem for the fuselage, but for the wings, I chose the wrong size. Too late...

For the numbers, my first idea was to draw them with Adobe Illustrator (a vector graphics editor) but lack of cooperation from my printer (problem of paper compatibility) forced me to another solution. I bought from Fantasy Printshop a decal sheet (red solid color) and I cut the numbers in. I had to retouch them with a Gundam marker.

The Aeromax book gives some information about this aircraft : built in 1974, served with various school units, retired in 1997 and sold. "0825" means also that she was produced in the 8th production batch.

Conclusion :
It was not an easy building but I'm happy to have completed it and to add an Iskra to my collection. If I have to do it again, I'll maybe proceed with a different way (more scratchbuilding, for example).

Hope you liked it.

Special thanks for ARC forumers who helped me.

Jean-Paul Wrona

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Photos and text by Jean-Paul Wrona