ICMís new 1:48 scale U-2/Po-2 is not only generally considered a great improvement over previous kits of this important aircraft, but represents great value for money. Being so cheap, it makes an ideal basis for a little upgrade work for anyone working on a tight budget, and Sergey Kosachev has just the ticket in his range of Vector resin accessories.
£8.00 in the UK from Neomega Resin and $12.00 in the US from Linden Hill
One area that is begging for improvement, though, is the M-11 radial engine sitting there fully exposed for all the world to see. Thereís no denying that the kit parts are rather basic, with very overscale cooling fins and generally heavy detail.
Comprising 12 parts, Sergey's exquisite little resin upgrade set provides a complete replacement engine and, as with all his resin sets Iíve examined, the detail is superb and the casting flawless. The separate cylinders feature beautifully delicate cooling fins and rocker arms on the cylinder heads. The crankcase is equally finely detailed. All you need to add are pushrods from fine wire or stretched sprue.
The unusual 5-cylinder layout and lack of a cowling ensure that the engine is something of a focal point in any model of the U-2/Po-2, so the huge improvement offered by Vectorís resin engine over the kitís original make it a very worthwhile investment.
The M-12 powered a number of aircraft as well as the Po-2, notably the UT-1 and UT-2, so Vectorís engine will also be an ideal upgrade for Mikro-Mirís kit of the UT-1.
ShKAS Machine Gun
Available for £6.00 from Neomega Resin and $9.00 from Linden Hill
ICMís second incarnation of their popular U-2/Po-2 is the armed light-bomber version. It deserves to be a very popular kit and the rather cobbled-together provision of a rear firing ShKAS machine-gun (the observer doesnít even appear to have had the luxury of a Scarfe ring or rear-facing seat - having to kneel and fire over the back of his standard seat instead) is sure to attracted inquisitive viewers.
The trouble is, the kitís ShKAS is really rather clunky and not really up to close scrutiny. Thankfully, the answer is easily found in the form of Vectorís delicate resin version.
Arriving in a simple zip-lock bag, the set contains two pairs of machine guns, with and without hand grips and shoulder stocks. The detail is quite superb - really in a different league over the styrene parts. The guns are delicate, so you do need to exercise a little extra care in removing them from their casting plinths, but the improvement over the kit gun is immediate and undeniable.
With ICMís U-2/Po-2 being such good value for money, it certainly wonít break the bank to splash out on a little eye-candy for the prominent engine and machine gun. The upgrades are straightforward and cheap enough to make them ideal first steps for anyone new to working with resin parts. Unreservedly recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Superb detail and casting. Excellent value for money.Lows: None that I've found.Verdict: Sergey Kosachev's aftermarket upgrades are consistently among the very best available, and these are no exceptions.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...