by: Wiggus [ ]
From the instructions:
“During World War II the Pe-2 (nickname “Peshka”) was the most extensively used Soviet medium front line bomber. The team of designers of CKB-29 (Central Design Bureau), led by V. Petlyakov, began the development of the aircraft in mid 1938, the first flight took place in December 1940. Pe-2 served in the Soviet Air Force and Naval Aviation and fought on all fronts. This light bomber was much liked by it´s pilots: high speed, good maneuverability, powerful armament plus endurance, reliability and survival capability were its distinguishing features. After WWII "Peshka" was in service with many allies of the Soviet Union, such as Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and others.”
The Petlyakov Pe-2 was designed by Vladimir Petlyakov and his team, amazingly, while in prison. He was imprisoned in 1937 for allegedly delaying the design of the Tupolev ANT-42 bomber. The Pe-2 was originally designed to be a high-altitude fighter escort with a pressurized cabin, but it was ordered re-designed as a dive bomber. By most accounts it was fast and durable, and after some machine gun upgrades, deadly. The Pe-2 was so successful in its role that it earned Petlyakov his freedom, as well as his name on the plane.
In The Box
Full color painting chart
199 parts on 5 grey styrene sprues
1 clear sprue
Zvezda branded decal sheet
The kit comes in a colorful side-opening box, but don’t fret Revell-haters; there is a sturdy top-opening cardboard box slipped inside it to hold your goodies. On the bottom there are some great shots of the finished plane.
Though only B&W, the instructions are very crisp and clear. I did find some places where pieces aren’t numbered but it wasn’t hard to figure out. There is a full color painting chart for five different scheme. Four of the paint schemes feature Soviet markings with the green-brown-grey camouflage over light blue belly. The fifth is a Polish plane; dark green over blue.
Both the painting charts and the instructions can be download from Zvezda’s website. Don’t bother downloading the instructions though; they are the same files used when printing the instructions and they are “printers spreads”, meaning that page 2 on the left is right next to page 7 on the right, making them unwieldy. The paint callouts are all in Zvezda’s own paint line, but a chart is included to convert to Tamiya paints.
The printing of the decal sheet looks pretty good with the naked eye, but begins to fall apart a bit when viewed under magnification. Registration is passable, but some small letters look blobby and some shapes aren’t fully formed. They are not terrible though. I’ll give them a 6 or 7 out of 10.
This is a brand new kit with new tooling from 2019. The parts themselves are simply stunning, shiny and smooth. There is no flash anywhere and seam lines are nonexistent in most places. This ranks among some of the best molding I’ve seen, and certainly the finest in a 1/72 kit. Many parts are so delicate that real care must be taken to get them off the runners. The plastic is a little softer than I usually like, but in this case it is preferable. When test fitting there were times that I was sure that had the plastic been stiff and brittle, I would certainly have snapped some of the very fine limbs of the landing gear, even while using my Xuron cutters. The softer plastic allowed them to flex a bit which kept them from breaking.
Unlike Zvezda’s 1/48 scale offering of this plane, there are no engines included in the kit. The kit includes instructions to pose it in flight without landing gear, but I was disappointed that the stand shown is not included. It is a separate kit from Zvezda. I was considering this option for reasons I will outline shortly.
There are some things I love about this kit, and some I don’t. Unusually, the first build step is the wing assemblies, breaking with covenant that “thou shall always build to the interior first”…not that it matters in any way. The twin engine nacelles and the lower gear bay enclosures are both built in halves. In reference photos there appears to be a seam lines where the halves meet anyway. The leading edge of the outer ends of the wings are molded as a separate piece, like an end cap, which is defined by the existing panel lines on the wing. This cuts down on the number of seams that will need to be addressed and a smooth front edge of the wing. Smart thinking.
The cockpit and gunner areas feature way more detail than you will ever be able to see once the fuselage is closed up, especially true if you use the figures. The same though can be said for the numerous ejection pin marks inside the fuselage. There are two on each side high up on the cockpit wall that you might have to deal with, but none of the others will show unless you light the interior (which would be rather stunning).
The bomb bay area has a lot of detail and big, big bombs. That whole assembly has supports that extend beyond the fuselage walls to help secure the wing assemblies, a feature usually found on much larger kits.
Now for something that scares me: the landing gear assembly is a thing of beauty to behold. It is made from some of the finest, most delicate parts in the kit; two ladder like pieces joined in a “V” supported by shock absorbers and cross members. Zvezda would have you glue that fine landing gear (with tires) to the bottom of the completed wing, then build the gear bay/nacelle assemblies around them. Then you will need to attach a hope and a prayer to them if they are to survive the rest of the build without being crushed or sheared off. Masking the gear and bays before painting the belly will be tenuous and potentially catostrophic. If the landing gear weren’t so beautiful, I might just opt to buy the stand and build the in-flight version.
I was so curious that I did a little test fitting to see if the build steps can be altered. And fortunately yes, the landing gear can be built separately, then safely installed at the end of the build. I used the holes where they should be installed to make sure my alignment was good.
And speaking of the in-flight version, the kit does include three very nice figures (two for the cockpit and one in the side gunner/bomb bay area), and like the rest of the kit they really are good. I’m accustomed to most figures looking like something you just have to forgive or overlook, like idiotic behavior in a horror movie, but these are better than most. There is however an error in the instructions. They point out that all the figures are for VERSION 1 ONLY, which is shown as the plane on the ground with the landing gear down. Yet the small drawing of Version 2 (in-flight) clearly shows a pilot in the cockpit. Compounding this error… why is it forbidden to put the figures in the grounded version? Just overlook all this silliness and do whatever you want.
All in all, this kit is a stunner. I am always attracted to unusual subjects like this Pe-2, and I have a thing about twin tailed planes in general, but after scrying the instructions for a while I am further impressed by the engineering as well as the beautiful molding. Please support and reward companies like Zvezda who are doing such fine work so that they continue to produce excellent kits like this one. And tell them Areoscale sent you.