by: Kevin Brant [ ]
The TS-11 Iskra, Spark in English, was developed by PZL-Mielec in the early 1960ís. Initially developed as a trainer for the Polish Air Force, it was also used in the Indian Air Force. The two-seater aircraft served within the Polish Air Force for almost 50 years where it was also used as a reconnaissance aircraft in its later life.
A newer kit from Arma Hobby represents this later reconnaissance variant of the TS-11 Iskra in 1/72 scale.
2 Plastic Sprues
1 Clear Plastic Sprue
1 Sheet of Decals
1 Small Fret of Photoetched
1 Small Masking Sheet
1 Printed Plastic File
1 Instruction Booklet
1 Length of Wire (tow cable)
This kit of the TS-11 Iskra Bis DF from Arma Hobby comes in a nice colorful box, opening on the ends with the available marking schemes printed on the rear. Note: damage on box occurred in shipping Opening the box, the kit is packaged in a single clear plastic bag, containing the two sprues and two smaller bags for the canopy, decals, photo-etched and canopy masks.
First impression were very favorable, the plastic molded in a light grey looks to be very well molded with great looking surface details, as well as some nice smaller details. The kit from Arma Hobby has nicely done fine engraved panel lines, and I found no surface marks or a lot of flash on my sample. What really stood out in my first review of an Arma Hobby kits was the inclusion of the photo-etched parts, printed plastic film for instrument panel, and the canopy masks. This is something you donít see in a lot of kits released, especially in 1/72 scale.
Looking in at the details for the cockpit, this is where this kit will really shine. Arma Hobby has provided everything you will need to detail this cockpit. The molded details in 1/72 scale looks good, but for those wanting to take is a step further, a photo-etched instrument panel with plastic film is included. There is also photo-etched for the side panels and the seat belts. Care will be needed, as a lot of the photo-etched parts are very fine. On a negative side there are some ejector marks that look like they may partially show on the interior side walls of the fuselage.
The fuselage is molded in two halves and the wings molded in a top-bottom configuration. It is noted in the instructions that sanding will be required for fit. This one boggled me a little. The landing gear bays have detail molded on the interior surface and the landing gear looks to be very well molded. There is no interior engine details, but on the instruction a resin engine with photo-etched parts is available from Attack Squadron. But it is not shown on the instructions how this may fit in the fuselage.
As noted, a very nice touch is Arma Hobby provides the canopy masks for easy of painting. Also shown on the instruction booklet are exterior photo-etched parts, a resin cast seat, and resin cast wheels that are available separately from Attack Squadron.
The instruction booklet does look to be nicely laid out and should make assembly relatively easy. There are paint callouts included with references to FS colors. Paint and marking schemes are included for four(4) aircraft, all Polish Air Force in natural aluminum. The decals look to be very well printed, nice color and all in register.
My impression from my first view of an Arma Hobby kit shows a very nice looking kit. Moldings are well done, with finely engraved panel lines and small details. The kit really stands out in that it included photo-etched parts, canopy masks, and instrument panel film. There is the odd ejector mark that may need to be filled, and some of the detail is very fine so care will be needed. While the kit could be built by a novice builder omitting the photo-etched, the kit would really shine being built by an intermediate builder using all the details. I would highly recommend this kit.