by: Kevin Brant [ ]
The Russian Ilyushin Il-2 was designed a ground attack aircraft out of requirements started in the 1930's. Entering production in 1941, with the IL-M2, with an added rear gunner behind the pilot started in 1942. One of the principal target for the Ilyushin would have been the German Panther tank. The Pz.Kpfw.V Ausf D came into service in 1943 intended to replace the Pz.III and Pz.IV's, as well as counter the Russian T-34 tanks.
A recent release from Academy Models puts both these adversaries in the same box as a Special Edition combination kit, the IL-2M and Panther D.
6 Plastic Sprues Lower Hull of Tank
1 Plastic Aircraft Display Stand
2 Clear Plastic Sprues
1 Vinyl Rubber Sprue - Tracks
1 Sheet of Decals
1 Small Fret Photo-etched
2 Instruction Sheets
Opening the box, you will find sprues seperated into to clear plastic bags, one with grey molded plastic for the IL-2M, and tan molded plastic for the Panther D. The first thing I notice is the tan plastic in not Academy, but Zvezda. With that said though, I looked at both sprue sets and they show some good looking moldings, with little to no flash.
The Academy IL-2M was first released in 2012, thus not that old of a kit. And it does look that way, the moldings are crisp with good looking details, include engraved panel lines. Starting in the cockpit, it does look to be very detailed for a 1/72 scale kit, although there are no seat belt details included. A decal is included for the instrument panel for the little bit of extra detail. It should also be noted that there are some ejector marks on the cockpit side walls that will have to be dealt with.
The exterior does look good, especially with the fine engraved panel lines. As for the landing gear, the struts look to be well done, and Academy has even provided optional wheels, if you decide you want the weighted look. The kit includes 2 bombs and 4 rockets for the external stores.
From a look through the instructions, they look to be well laid out, and I don't see any major stumbling blocks for assembly. There are paint callout for the majority of the parts.
As for the Panther D, as mentioned, these parts are from Zvezda. Overall the molding look to be very well done. The majority of the details look to be well done. Most of the hatches are molded in place, thus not option to open them. Although a small fret of photo-etched was included for the rear deck vents. The barrel is plastic molded, and while the muzzle brake is clear, but the barrel end is not, thus a pin-vise will be required to open it up.
A lot of the external details, including the pioneer tools look to be very finely molded, and should add to the look of the tank. As for the wheel assembly, most layers are molded as one piece, with the exception of the outer wheels. This should aid in assembly, especially at this small scale. The tracks seem to be molded of a soft plastic, and include loops on the inside that will link to the outer wheels. Again this looks to be another place where Zvezda made the assembly a little easier. The details on the tracks do look to be well done.
As for the instructions, again they look to be well laid out, and should be easy to follow.
Academy has included a plastic stand for those who may want to mount the IL-2M to look like it is in flight.
Multiple painting and markings are aviable for both models. The IL-2M provides four options, either in a 2 tone or 3 tone camouflage:
1. "Za chest Gvardii!", 8th Gv. ShAP, Black Sea Fleet, Summer 1944
2. "White 26", 8th Gv. ShAP, Black Sea Fleet, Summer 1944
3. Hero of the Soviet Union, V.V. Titovich, 281 ShAD, Leningrad 1944
2. "White 7", Unknown Unit, Oryol area 1943
The Panther D includes markings for three options:
1. 52nd Armoured Battalion, 5th Company, Kursk 1943
2. 52nd Armoured Battalion, 7th Company, Kursk 1943
3. 52nd Armoured Battalion, 8th Company, Kursk 1943
Overall this is an interesting kit from Academy, and it provides some good models for both aircraft and armour fans. Both kits look to be well done, both providing good levels of details for the smaller scale. While both kits have some minor drawbacks, I don't see anything that could not be dealt with to build two great looking models. In my opinion this would be a great kit for aircraft modellers who want to try their hand at armor, or vice versa. Highly recommended.