The Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik, like the T-34 tank, was one of the pivotal weapons in the Soviet arsenal during World War II that blunted the advances of the Wehrmacht and subsequently pushed them all the way back to Berlin. The prototype was designed as a two-place all-metal attack aircraft, but it would enter production as a single seat aircraft with wooden wings and tail section. While the aircraft was able to press attacks into enemy columns, its lack of maneuverability and rear gunner made it easy prey for the Luftwaffe air defenders.
Engineering changes to the aircraft had to wait in those early days of the Great Patriotic War as engineering and productions facilities were moved east outside of the reach of German bombers and ground forces. When changes did start to trickle into the production line, the rear gunner position was restored to the aircraft, but accommodations for the gunner were minimalistic and combat losses of gunners were significantly higher than those of pilots or aircraft. Nevertheless, the two-seat aircraft also saw more armor plate, all-metal structures, and a more powerful engine.
Many modelers have been looking forward to the release of this kit since it was announced in early 2008, and many wondered if this was a new tooling or a copy. The verdict is in – it is a copy. This is a scaled down version of the Accurate Miniatures 1/48 Il-2 kit, right down to that company’s misspelling/erroneous transliteration of the aircraft’s nickname ‘Stormovik’. The Shturmovik entered production as a single-seater and was later updated with a Spartan rear gunner’s cockpit to provide some protection against the Luftwaffe air defenders.
The Accurate Miniatures kit produced both versions in 1/48 scale, so we might see the two-seater from Academy in the future. You can see the ‘amazing’ resemblance of the two kits by looking at Eduard’s re-issue of the Il-2, though Eduard added some nice touches over the ‘stock’ AM kit, and even spelled the name correctly.
This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus two small trees of clear parts. As with its larger cousin, this kit features finely scribed details and is provides most of the same parts/options.
Among the features of this kit:
Nice cockpit details, optional decal instrument faces
Nice fuselage fuel tank aft of the armored cockpit
Choice of weighted or unweighted (round) main wheels
Eight rockets on underwing launch rails
The kit provides a nice array of markings to render any one of eleven subjects:
Il-2, Red 8, 174 ShAP, Leningrad, Winter 1941
Il-2, White 19, 174 ShAP, Leningrad, 1942
Il-2, Red 4, unknown unit, Leningrad, 1942
Il-2, Yellow 82, unknown unit, Estonia, 1944, ‘Valerij Chkalov’
Il-2, unknown unit, ‘V boj za rodinu’
Il-2, unknown unit
Il-2, White 4, unknown unit
Il-2, Yellow 3, unknown unit, ‘Za Otradnova’
Il-2, Captured by Luftwaffe
Il-2, Captured by Royal Hungarian AF, 1943
Il-2, Red 5, unknown unit
These markings are printed by Cartograf and are in beautiful register including the yellow or white outlines on the red stars.
If the kit builds as nicely as its larger cousin, this should easily be the best Il-2 in this scale, and with the parts layout nearly identical to its cousin, there should be a two-seater in our future as well.