MPM's 1/48 Petlyakov Pe-2
Before the start of the Second World War, the need for a Soviet high-altitude fighter was expressed and Petlyakov took up the challenge and designed the VI-100. Incorporating a pressurized cockpit and twin turbocharged engines, the VI-100 airframe quickly became known for its versatility. First as a high-altitude, high-speed bomber, then as a high altitude dive-bomber, the VI-100 went through several design changes. In 1939, after studying the German concept of the dive-bomber, the other variants were dismissed and the Pe-2 was born from the VI-100. Removing the pressurized cockpit lowered the weight, while also allowing a much clearer canopy. Armament consisted of two forward firing machine guns, one turreted machine gun firing to the rear, and one more machine gun in the radio operator's section, firing ventrally to the rear. A bomb load of up to 1000kg could be carried, and the Pe-2 could handle dive angles of up to 70 degrees.
Throughout the war the Pe-2 was updated and modified, with more powerful engines and more powerful armament. Early in 1941, the original concept that the Pe-2 was designed for was revisited, with the type being converted back into a heavy fighter. The dive brakes were removed, the radio operator's compartment was removed, and the armament was increased. This new fighter was called the Pe-3 and it went into service in late 1941. The strong construction and long range of the Pe-3 made it ideal for long range reconnaissance missions as well as air defense of the major Soviet cities. The Pe-3 was assembled on the same production lines as the Pe-2, and combined nearly 12,000 planes were built during the war.
MPM's kit of the Pe-2 is the first injection-molded kit of this famous Russian plane, and they did a great job on it. Molded in a light gray plastic, inside the box are three large trees, with one clear tree and a set of resin parts. A large decal sheet finishes out the kit. There has been a lot of thought put into this kit and it shows in the details. Starting with the interior, not only is there a front cockpit but also the rear radioman's position is detailed. The fuselage halves include sidewall details for both sections, as does the tail wheel opening. Bulkheads and floors are provided for both the front office and the radio compartment. The only shortcoming of the interior (aside from the missing seat belts) is the instrument panels. These are provided as a blank piece of plastic, with no hint of instruments anywhere. This is a rather glaring omission and will really stand out in the finished model. The odd shape of the panels makes replacing it difficult and the best solution would probably be to cut up a brass panel from an aftermarket set and use the pieces to make a more realistic panel.
The wing is broken down into five pieces. The central underwing section is where the engine nacelles attach to, and the bottom of the wing has detailing for the interior of the wheel well. The engine nacelles add to this detailing with forward and rear bulkheads as well as interior stringer detailing. Open vents on the leading edge of the wing are taken care of with blanking plates, a very nice touch. The upper wing halves capture the outer panel dihedral well and coupled with the center underwing section should make alignment a snap.
The landing gear is well detailed, with the wheels split down the centerline. The wheel doors are detailed on both sides and the only problem they suffer is the typical thickness resulting from the injection process. Some careful work with sandpaper should trim those down to a more scale appearance and still retain all the detailing on the inside.
The Pe-2 has quite a few clear openings in the fuselage, and all of these are presented in some nicely done injection parts. The flush windows will likely be tricky to do in this kit, as they are oddly shaped. There is no lip or supporting piece on the inside fuselage for these parts, so you'll want to make sure that they are firmly attached before doing too much else. Nothing could be more frustrating than getting near the end of building this kit and discovering that one of the oval side windows is rattling around inside somewhere.
The resin parts add a bit of detailing both inside and out. On the inside, seats and instrument boxes make up the majority of the resin parts, along with some resin guns. These last parts are very delicate and will require a lot of care in both removing them from the plug and in cleaning them up. On the outside, the rest of the resin parts take care of the exhaust stubs and the dive brakes. The dive brakes will take some care in cleaning up the flash, but once done should really look sharp.
The decals are excellent and give you three choices to finish your Pe-2. Printed by Cartograf, they are thin and in perfect register. The first choice is a Russian Pe-2 "Yellow 5" of the Black Sea Fleet. This one features a slogan on the fuselage sides, along with a large emblem on the left nose. The second choice is a Czech Pe-2 coded LV-11 with a unit badge on the right nose. The final choice is a Polish Pe-2 with a red "111" on the tail and a white outlined red arrow on the nose. All of the examples are painted in a medium green over blue-gray.
If you want to build a 1/48 Pe-2, this is the only game in town. Luckily it looks like it will be a fun game, though. Aside from the instrument panel problem (which will likely be fixed with an etched brass release from someone soon), this is an excellent kit and will add greatly to any quarter inch VVS collection.
Distributed by MPM.
Revell 1/72 P-47M