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Antonov An-12BK Cub

 

Roden

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: RD0042
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 280 parts in injection moulded styrene; four decal options.
Price: USD$44.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Spectacular size and subject; finely engraved panel lines; convenient parts breakdown for large fuselage; nicely detailed interior; good instructions and decals; excellent clear parts (and engineering of clear parts).
Disadvantages: Some surface detail slightly soft.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Jennings Heilig


Roden's 1/72 scale An-12BK is available online from Squadron.com

 

FirstLook

 

If you had visions, as I did, of the Toko (Roden's former incarnation) 1/72 He111 family or other items equally as ill-fitting and poorly engineered, rest easy. THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE KIT!!

Roden's 1/72 scale An-12BK is easily the best ever kit of a large Soviet type, be it bomber, transport, or whatever else. This kit was obviously done by someone very knowledgeable of both the aircraft itself and of the technical aspects of kit design and execution. On a first dry run the fit just about everywhere is as close to perfect as I've seen (even including Tamiya here), and the overall impression is just spectacular. Breathtaking really, for those of us who have long hungered for almost anything Soviet that was halfway accurate.

To say that I'm stunned with the quality of this kit would be a gross understatement. It is truly amazing, especially given that its origins are in Ukraine. These guys are going to be giving the Japanese and Koreans a real run for their money before long.

The kit is molded in ICM-like light grey styrene, and in fact, the plastic itself reminds me a little of ICM's -  perhaps a bit on the soft side, but very crisply molded and, unlike ICM, virtually flash-free. All of the panel detail is extremely nicely engraved. Not quite as delicate as Hasegawa perhaps, but certainly exquisitely done. There are a couple of very minor places where the panel detail is a tad mushy, but it's nothing to spoil the effect of the rest of it. Fortunately, Roden has dispensed with ICM's and Trumpeter's irritating habit of molding all the control surfaces separately, and the engraving for them is just perfect. The kit represents a late production An-12BK version which had a slightly larger rear cargo hatch setup with teardrop fairings over the hinges than the earlier An-12 had. Backdating would be easy or hard, depending on whether you wanted to open the hatch up or not. Frankly, as the An-12BK was the main production version, I'd leave it alone.

One thing that Roden could have done would have been to provide both the earlier Toadstool (the NATO ASCC name) chin radome and the later Puffball as options. You only get the Puffball radome with this release.

The fuselage is split very conveniently into four sections, but the fit of all four parts (albeit without any of the innards inside it - more on that later) is nearly perfect. No sink marks, no problems that I can see thus far. I suspect Roden may have done the fuselage this way for two reasons. First, they may not have had access to a molding machine that was big enough to take the entire fuselage. Second, by molding the entire back end from the production break at the cargo door hinge point back as a separate sprue, they could feasibly cut another few pieces and get an An-10 airliner out of these basic core molds. I doubt that would be a very profitable undertaking, as the An-10 wasn't the most successful Soviet airliner, but it was built and it was flown in service by both Aeroflot and the VVS, so anything is possible.

 

 

They could also mold a new rear end for the earlier An-12s without the teardrop fairings at the cargo door hinges if they wanted to (yes please!). Also done as a separate assembly is the tail gun position. This also bodes well for the possibility for other Cub variants. See Roden's web site ( www.rodenplant.com ) for the announcement of the forthcoming An-12BK-PPS later this year. I surely hope we'll also see a purely civilian (if there was such a thing in the USSR) An-12B with the faired over tail position in the future. Aeroflot had some very pretty (and very 1950s looking) civil schemes on their An-12B fleet.

Wings are molded in two pieces each, including very precisely fitting upper and lower halves with control surfaces molded equally well as the others.

 

 

You do have to remove a bit of excess plastic inside the fuselage halves where the slot for the wing tongues goes, but it took me about 15 seconds per side. That done, you're treated to a nearly flawless wing/fuselage fit. The outboard 3 anhedral is molded in, so there's no messing it up. The nacelles are made up of several parts each, and are a bit fiddly, especially the rear part where the engine exhaust is located. Just be careful here and be pepared to use a bit of filler. Nacelle fit to the wings looks good. The props are very nicely done, and by simply removing a small collar at the base of each blade's hub, you can paint them and add them separately after the rest of the model's assembly and painting are complete. Note that the An-12's props rotate clockwise when viewed from the front, that being opposite of most US types. Horizontal stabs are also upper and lower pieces for each side, and again, the fit is nearly perfect.

Clear parts are one of the real gems in this one. The entire cockpit cab section is molded as one piece (like the Heller 707), and the shape, window shape, and fit are spot-on the money. Ditto for the nose glazing. The cab and nose glazing are molded with nice clear (albeit slightly thick) window sections, and the frame areas are very lightly frosted. Should make for easy masking and painting. Each round cabin window is molded separately, so you could leave them out and use Krystal Kleer or 5-minute epoxy for those if you wanted to skip the masking.

The cockpit and the cargo bay are nicely, but not overly detailed. You have the option of cutting and mounting the cargo doors at the rear in the open position, and Roden thoughtfully provide a set of stairs which are inevitably seen leading up to the port side entry hatch on parked An-12s as well as a set of ramps for the cargo bay (the crew entry door is molded shut). Interestingly the An-12 never had a self-contained door/ramp like the C-130, nor even a pressurized cargo bay for that matter. Very odd. You could really go wild (if you can find good reference photos) doing up the innards of this one, but almost all of it will be for naught unless you're doing a cutaway model. What is provided is more than adequate to give the impression of detail. Folding troop seats (a whooooole bunch of 'em) are provided, as are both floor and ceiling parts. The area around the rear cargo doors has some nice structural detail molded in, and you add in the hinge beam and some partial bulkheads to complete that area. The aft most bulkhead even has the hatch for access to the turret molded in.

Landing gear is like the real thing - simple and rugged. Roden has very accurately captured the later style spoked main wheels (no need for aftermarket at all that I can see), and the way the gear struts are done looks very convincing. The main gears look like they might possibly be a bit fiddly to construct, and I wouldn't be tempted to play "assault landing" with my model, given their minimal mounting surfaces. The nose gear strut has a small plate at its upper end which fits into a shallow recess in the fuselage. Again, that might not be the strongest method of mounting, so be careful. The struts themselves are very nicely molded and detailed, even including separate scissor links, etc.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The instruction sheet is obviously computer generated, and looks very good. Each step is very well illustrated, and there's even a small errata sheet.

The decal sheet is HUGE, and is extremely well printed. It covers two "Aeroflot" machines, one Russian Air Force, and one Ukranian Air Force machine, all in the rather drab VVS light grey scheme. The Aeroflot examples are actually VVS and carry minimal Aeroflot markings. One is labelled as being from the 1980 period of the Afghan conflict, the other is labelled as being one which supplied the Egyptians during the 1973 war with Israel. The Russian AF example is from 1997, and the Ukranian one is from 1992.

 

 

You get complete national markings for all examples, plus a nice selection of stencilling and safety markings - even including the floor markings for the cargo bay! Very nicely done.

 

 

Conclusion



Overall I'd rank this kit much closer to the Japanese end of the quality spectrum than even the Trumpeter end. It's a major improvement over items like the Trumpeter Tu-16 and Su-15 kits (how I wish Roden had done the Badger!), and is every bit as good as anything else that's out there these days. If you have the slightest interest in things Soviet, get yourself one of these babies and you won't be disappointed. Let's hope Roden keeps up the good work and perhaps we'll see some other much-needed Soviet types emerge from them.

Na zdrovye Roden!!

Highly Recommended.

J


Review and Images Copyright 2002 by Jennings Heilig
Page Created 13 August, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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