In-Box Review
Petlyakov PE-2
Soviet Dive Bomber Petlyakov Pe-2
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by: Dominick Soldano [ DSOLDANO ]

I love to model subjects that have an interesting backstory and they don’t get much more interesting than the Soviet Dive Bomber Petlyakov Pe-2 “Peshka”. When Zvezda released their new 1/48 kit I jumped at the chance to review it here on KitMaker Network.

Originally conceived as a high-altitude escort fighter, the Pe-2 served competently in multiple combat roles including as a light bomber, heavy fighter, reconnaissance platform, and night fighter.

Vladimir Petlyakov, who was imprisoned in 1937 when Stalin suspected he was deliberately delaying design work on the Tupolev ANT-42 bomber, led the team that designed the aircraft, which originally featured a pressurized cabin, superchargers, and other advanced features. The airplane underwent operational testing in May of 1940 and it’s rumored that Petlyakov and his prison design team may have watched from inside the prison walls.

Shortly before full-scale production, the Soviet Air Force ordered a complete redesign of the aircraft to meet the role of a tactical bomber. Petlyakov and his team were given 45 days to complete the redesign. Cabin pressurization, and other advanced features were eliminated and a bombardier’s position and dive brakes were added. The resulting aircraft performance so pleased Stalin that he freed Petlyakov and allowed the plane to be named in his honor. The aircraft went on to become one of the most successful bombers of the war with 11,427 units produced.

Zvezda’a kit comes in a large, two-part box consisting of a colorful outer sleeve depicting the aircraft in flight on the front and model photos on the back.

Inside the sleeve is a protective flip-top cardboard carton.
Inside the box you’ll find 391 pale gray plastic parts (there are an additional 21 that are not used), 17 clear styrene parts, a decal sheet offering 3 different schemes, a 12-page black and white instruction manual, and a small slip sheet that warns you not to put the bags on your head in numerous languages (apparently stupidity isn’t just a local problem).

Parts are packaged in three large and one smaller bag.
  • Bag 1 contains sprues A and B,
  • Bag 2 contains 2 x three-part sprues labeled C-G-H and a third sprue labeled J in the instructions (but I swear it looks like a C),
  • Bag 3 contains sprues E and F,
  • Bag 4, the smaller bag contains the decals and the clear sprue labeled D.
The kit offers a number of options such as, landing gear up or down, the ability to expose one of the engines, and open or closed bomb bay doors

General Impressions
The plastic appears to be of good quality, neither soft nor brittle.

The molding is crisp and clear with no signs of flash but a few prominent mold lines that will have to be removed (scraping with a hobby knife is my favorite method).
There are quite a few ejector pin marks but it looks like Zvezda designed the kit so that most of them will be hidden after assembly. However, there are a few that need to be filled in pretty tough to sand spots.

Engraved panel lines and rivets are very finely molded and should take a pin or sludge wash beautifully.

There are quite a few very fine parts (all amazingly well molded) that have rather heavy sprue attachment points. These will require careful removal but with a little care will greatly enhance the appearance and realism of the kit.

The clear parts in my kit are nice and thin but appear blurry which is quite disappointing (hopefully they will polish up clear or the internal detail that Zvezda has included, along with the Eduard aftermarket I bought, will be obscured and mostly lost).

The Kit
Looking at each of the sprues reveals a fantastic level of detail and some wonderful engineering on the part of Zvezda.
  • Sprue A contains the fuselage halves, inner bulkheads, cockpit floor, landing gear doors, wing leading edges, bomb bay doors, a number of internal and cockpit parts, and a pilot figure.
  • Sprue B includes the upper and lower wing halves. The wings are molded with separate ailerons.
  • Sprue C (x2) include the engine nacelle fronts, propeller blades, spinners, landing gear doors, and landing gear braces.
  • Sprue D contains the clear parts, which as mentioned earlier are quite blurry in my kit – you can actually make out a very fine weave pattern on the plastic itself.
    This is certainly the low point of the kit.
  • Sprue E includes the ailerons, stabilizers, elevators, wing spars, internal bulkheads, cockpit parts, internal details, and two figures.
  • Sprue F encompasses nacelle parts, landing gear parts, and some external details.
  • Sprues G (x2) include landing gear parts, some ordnance, rudders, and the wheels.
    Interestingly, Zvezda molded the wheels so that you can sand one side of the tire flat to simulate weighting (however, it still wont look like a weighted tire since it will be missing the prototypical bulge).
  • Sprues H (x2) contain the smaller bombs and dive brakes.
  • Sprue J includes the engine parts and a bombardier figure.


  • Scheme 1: 12th Guards Dive Bomber Aviation Regiment, 1944
  • Scheme 2: 40th Bomber Regiment, 2nd Squadron, Black Sea Fleet 1944
  • Scheme 3: 34th Guards Red Banner Regiment, 276 Bomb Group, 1945
Decals appear quite thin and in register but in my kit, one of the stars for paint scheme 1 has a blemish.
– The instructions include 42 steps that clearly depict alternatives for the available options (engine on display, gear up vs. gear down, etc.).
Each step identifies the part by both sprue letter and part number.

Part placement and gluing locations are clearly depicted Color callouts are prominent but only include Humbrol color references – if you use a different brand of paint like I do (Vallejo, AK Interactive, or Tamiya) you’ll need to cross-reference the colors before starting the build. The last page of the instructions includes camouflage painting and decal placement diagrams in black and white.

Three different schemes are included in the painting instructions and on the decal sheet.

Test Fit
I test fit the fuselage, wings, and horizontal stabilizers by cleaning up any sprue attachment points and joining them using masking tape.

Fuselage – The fuselage halves fit together like a dream and it appears that after an application of Tamiya Extra Thin Cement and a light press fit they won’t require any filler.

Always a plus since it will require minimum sanding and re-scribing, two tasks I personally don’t enjoy.

Wing Halves – Zvezda has engineered the wing halves so that the bottom trailing edge and wing tip slot into the top wing, which should preserve the beautifully thin edges.
The fit of the wing halves on my kit is perfect and again, should require no filler and minimum cleanup after gluing.

Wing Roots – I wasn’t able to completely test the join of the wings to the fuselage because attaching them requires assembling the wing spars into the fuselage halves. However, an initial test fitting by pressing the wings to the fuselage indicates the same excellent fit that I see on the previous components.

Horizontal Stabilizer – Zvezda engineered the horizontal stabilizers to slot into the fuselage, which as with the previous components produces an excellent fit that should produce a filler free joint.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on Aeroscale.

Highs: Very fine panel lines and rivets, wonderful level of detail right out of the box, great engineering, perfect fit of fuselage halves, wing top and bottom, wing roots, and horizontal stabilizers.
Lows: A few tough to deal with ejection pin marks, minor sink marks at locator pins on fuselage top and on elevators, decal for one scheme is blemished, clear parts aren’t all that clear.
Verdict: All in all it looks like a great effort by Zvezda. The only real disappointment is the clarity of the canopy and other clear components. If you can live with that it’s definitely recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 4809
  Suggested Retail: $44.99
  PUBLISHED: Mar 02, 2016

Our Thanks to Zvezda!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Dominick Soldano (DSoldano)

I started modeling when I was 5 or 6 years old. At first with my father and later on my own. The first kits I built were the Aurora monster series and then later, many of the Tom Daniels 1/24 cars. I have such fond memories of those that I recently tracked down and bought all of the old monster and ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Dominick Soldano [ DSOLDANO ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


That model looks as good as I hoped it would. The small struts and other pieces appear to be quite fine. A shame about the clear parts but one thing I recall reading about VVS aircraft is that their canopy glazing was not up to the clarity and quality of Western plexiglass; soviets remarked about that superior product when evaluating Lend-Lease. Perhaps Zvezda is trying to make this model as authentic/accurate as possible? Dominick, good review!
MAR 01, 2016 - 08:14 PM
While this is not Pe-2, the Tu-2 was similar and these internal shots can afford an idea of the internal structure of soviet airframe design. Tupolev Tu-2
MAR 01, 2016 - 08:16 PM
JPTRR, Thanks. I've got a number of aftermarket items on order and I'm looking forward to building it. The reference photos you uploaded should help.
MAR 01, 2016 - 09:19 PM
The worst issue with the clear parts is the flexible material that they are made from as Future will not stick to them, most of the time it sheets right off and even if it appears to stick it will come right off with the masking tape. Solvent based paints seem to stick to it as does clear parts cement. I don't use acrylics so I can't comment on those. I have not tried dipping them in Alclad's aqua gloss clear yet.
MAR 02, 2016 - 07:14 PM
Planenuts, have you tried a lacquer-based clear like Testor's Gloss Coat? You won't be able to dip the part but I think it will act like a clear primer and take and hold paint better than the bare plastic. It's also more aggressive with the plastic than acrylic-based products so it will stick.
MAR 04, 2016 - 04:55 AM
When I built Larry & Moe they came with clear parts that paint just pooled on - they didn't need to be crystal clear so I hit them will Dull Coat and they took acrylic paint like a dream. Then I hit them with Gloss Coat and it took off the dull look. I haven't tried it with a canopy but it might be worth a try on an old one first.
MAR 04, 2016 - 04:57 AM
Managed to pick one up before the end of the Year and I completely agree that the kit is very nice. Along with the 1/48 Ju-88 from ICM, these two were the 1/48 kits of the Year 2015. Now where is the promissed 1/48 A-26 Invader
MAR 07, 2016 - 03:00 AM
I have just finished the built and it is a very nice kit indeed! Two mistakes are easily solved: first you have to engrave the tabs on the horizontal movable tail surface, and the shape of the fuselage behind the turret is not flat like on the kit but ovoidal due to the previous gun arrangement. Any two composant putty will help to rectify this. The fit is great and the level of detail excellent!
MAR 12, 2016 - 12:18 AM

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