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ICM's 1/72 Il'ya Muromets

 

by Michael Kendix

 

History

Those who enjoy making 1/72 scale models from the World War One era are frequently compelled to work on fairly small models, whose wing span measures less than 6 inches. ICM presents an opportunity to - literally - expand this particular horizon with their Il'ya Muromets, a massive four-engine World War One bomber, designed by Igor Sikorsky and used by the Russian Imperial Air Service.

The Il'ya Muromets' first flight was in 1913, and a number of variants were developed and built during the following years; no fewer than five types with nine sub-variants, according to Harry Woodman, of which the type 150 is the easiest to produce from the kit. Used for reconnaissance and bombing, the Il'ya Muromets had one of the most successful records of any First World War aircraft in terms of losses with very few being lost to enemy action.

The Kit:

The kit contains a total of eight sprues of grey plastic; four separate sprues for each engine and another four for the remaining parts; along with a small sprue of clear parts. The kit's sprues are sealed in clear plastic bags and the grey plastic parts are coated in an oily substance that was presumably used to facilitate the molding process. This substance is not an issue, merely a curiosity, and it can probably be removed with soap and water or alcohol. The plastic detail is of good quality and there is only a small amount of flash material that has to be removed.

The engines are well detailed, the guns are a little delicate but quite acceptable and there are parts for a basic cabin interior. You may wish to supply a piece of plastic card to make your own cabin floor, unless you wish to affix the cabin components to the inside of the fuselage belly.

This is a big kit whose contents will keep the builder busy for more than twice the amount of time usually devoted to a straight out-of-the-box World War One aircraft project. Indeed, if you want to make all the changes necessary to create an entirely accurate model, considerably more time could be spent, several months perhaps.

The kit contains a choice of four sets of decals and an eight-page instruction booklet. Unfortunately, according to Harry Woodman, only the Imperial Russian Air Service decals pertain to a version of an Il'ya Muromets that can be built with this kit. Thus, the Polish, Ukrainian and Soviet sets of decals can be consigned to your "spare decals folder", for use in another project.

This kit is probably best left to the moderately experienced modeler. However, there is no reason why an inexperienced modeler should not attempt it, given its relatively modest price and the large amount of enjoyable time you can have building it. Rigging the model is likely to require a significant time input; this kit is definitely not a weekend project, even for the most experienced modeler.

Although the construction instructions are fairly detailed, the engines, in particular, are a little unusual, and the kit is fairly detailed in this respect. It is advisable, therefore, that the more meticulous builder obtain some detailed pictures and drawings; for example, the recent publication by Armada, and Harry Woodman's drawings in Windsock magazine. In addition, a greater number of views than that provided in the instruction booklet are necessary to provide sufficient information to do a decent job on the rigging. Indeed, the less stout-hearted might look at the rigging diagrams in the instructions and throw in the towel; these other sources listed above can help.

Harry Woodman presented a review of this kit last year in Windsock International and, as he notes, although it is an improvement on the Maquette kit of the same aircraft, significant inaccuracies remain. Mr. Woodman has spent 25 years researching this aircraft and its variants, and I feel comfortable accepting his list of inaccuracies. That being said, the kit is still the best available and despite some considerable inaccuracies, it is a spectacular model to build from an artistic point of view. Mr. Woodman suggests retaining the accurate parts and scratch building the rest, including the wings and fuselage. If I had more than one percent of Mr. Woodman's skill and knowledge, I might consider such a project. Since I am unlikely to acquire such in the near future, I am left with a decision: avoid this project entirely; or compromise, fixing as many of the inaccuracies as my meager skill level and time constraint permit, and to enjoy building an attractive but inaccurate model. I choose the latter, in the hope that one day I will develop the skill required to attempt scratch building or major corrections.

Thanks to Barry Stettler of Rosemont Hobbies for the review sample.

 

References

Harry Woodman. "ICM's Il'ya Muromets" Windsock International, vol 14 no.4 (July/August 1998), pages 22-23.

Harry Woodman. "The Big Il'Ya" Windsock International volume 5 nos.3-5 (May/June 1990 through September /October 1990) - his drawings of the Il'ya Muromets.

"Il'ya Muromets". Armada Publication.




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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

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