|Eduard 1/72 Il-2m3 Profipack
By Chris Banyai-Riepl
The Ilyushin Il-2 Stormovik epitomized the ground-attack specialist aircraft, performing with such great aplomb that it earned the epithet of "Black Death" from German infantry on the Eastern Front. A combination of heavy armament and strong armor made the Il-2 a formidable foe, difficult to bring down and able to bring lots of weaponry to bear against anything and everything on the ground. The great success of the Il-2 and others like it led to dedicated ground attack designs such as the A-10 and the Su-25. Over 36,000 Il-2s were made, and many served in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries well after the end of the Second World War.
The Eduard kit of the Stormovik is another addition to the growing Il-2 kit clan. For many years, the only option for modelers was to extensively modify the Airfix 1/72 kit. The amount of work needed to turn the old Airfix kit into a passable resemblance of an Il-2 is immense, to say the least. So when the rumor that Accurate Miniatures was going to put out a 1/72 Il-2 in their usual manner of exquisite detail, rejoicing could be heard amongst 1/72 modelers everywhere. But instead of Accurate Miniatures, we get a whole slew of Stormoviks from Toko, Smer, and the Eduard Profipack kit. While I havent seen the Toko or Smer kits yet, I have seen the Eduard kit, and it looks so much better than the Airfix kit that its like night and day.
The parts are molded in a dark gray plastic, and have finely recessed panel lines throughout. The initial dry fitting of the parts shows that things should fit together pretty well, with a minimum of putty needed. There are no locating pegs, and some small amounts of flash, so some careful trimming and fitting will be needed to ensure a good fit, particularly around the wing-to-fuselage joint. Although this is the Profipack release of the Il-2, there are sufficient plastic parts included to make the kit up out of the box without using any of the brass or resin parts.
Its the brass and resin, though, that give this kit the Profipack name, and these parts really help make the kit special. The resin parts include the rear machine gun, wheels, and cockpit details, while the brass adds an instrument panel, rocket fins, and other finely-done details. Oddly, though, the brass set included in the kit is much smaller than the separately available Eduard detail set for this kit (Eduard 72-253). The only things from that set left out in this model are the wheel well inserts and the flaps.
The decals are very thin, and provide options for no less than four Il-2m3s. All are very colorful and it will be difficult to decide which one to do. Three are camouflaged and one is in a winter white scheme. This last one has an interesting story behind it, but no mention of it is made in the instructions. There is an inscription on the side of the fuselage saying "From little Lena, for Papa". It seems that after her father died in combat, 7-year-old Lena Asarenkova sent her savings of about 100 rubles (approximately $1 US) to Stalin, requesting that it be used to buy an Il-2 to avenge her fathers death. This was done, and a new Il-2 was sent to her fathers old unit. Also included in the kit is an insert with color photos of various parts of a restored Il-2, which will help in detailing this model.
Having gone so long without a decent Il-2 kit, it is nice to see so many great kits of this classic plane come out. Between the Toko, Smer, Dakoplast and Eduard kits, you will have lots to choose from. The Eduard Profipack release will probably trickle to the top, though, because of its inclusion of brass and resin for a very slightly higher price. The kit looks good in the box, and will undoubtedly look even better built up.