Historic Plastic Models
Reviewed by Brett Green
The Petlyakov Pe-2 was developed from a pre-war design for a high altitude heavy fighter. The redesigned aircraft became a medium bomber. The Pe-2 carried its fighter pedigree into combat. It was a fast and agile.
The high regard in which the Pe-2 was held may be measured by its massive production run. Over 11,000 of the fast bombers were produced from the initial version in 1941 right up until the end of WWII.
2 x 1,100 HP Klimov M 105R engines powered the initial versions of the Pe-2. In 1943, newer versions started appearing with more powerful VK-105PF engines, a redesigned nose and a turret at the rear of the cockpit.
In addition to the Pe-2's status as the most prolific Soviet medium bomber, the Pe-2 must have now snatched the status of the most represented Soviet aircraft in 1/48 scale.
It would be reasonable to assume that last year's 1/48 scale MPM Pe-2 FT would share many common components with this new kit, especially considering HiPM will be releasing a late version Pe-2 too. It would be reasonable, but incorrect.
HiPM's Pe-2 is a totally new tool. It shares nothing whatever in common with the MPM kit. So we now have the Koster vacform kit, the MPM kit, and HiPM's early and late Pe-2s in 1/48 scale!
Historic Plastic Models' 1/48 scale Petlyakov Pe-2 represents an early production aircraft.
HiPM's early Pe-2 comprises nearly 220 parts in grey plastic, 13 parts in clear plastic, 1 x photo-etched fret, a small film with printed instruments and a decal sheet. The parts are packed in a rather flimsy box. The main sprues are jammed into a single bag. The consequence is that one fuselage half is very badly scratched - almost scarred. Fortunately, the clear parts are packed separately with the decals and photo-etch.
The plastic is of nice quality - not too soft and not too brittle. The surface detail is really very good indeed. Engraved panel lines are crisp, fine and consistent. It is up to the standard of Classic Airframes recent releases.
Click thumbnails below to view
The sprue gates are a little on the thick side, and many of the parts suffer from a thin shadow of flash. There are also a few sinkmarks (notably on the exhaust shrouds, a number of cockpit components and a dirty big hole in the tailwheel) and the fuselage interior boasts some mighty big ejector pin marks. Typical of many Eastern European kits, there are only a few locating pins for major parts.
Despite these shortcomings, this kit looks like a beauty.
Eduard produces the photo-etched frame (click thumbnail to the right to view full-sized). It is small but packed with useful detail including a great looking instrument panel, dive brakes and the crew door interior.
The kit combines plastic and etched parts very effectively. This is nowhere more apparent than the interior of the aircraft. The structural detail on the fuselage sidewalls is complimented by a couple of nice looking seats with photo-etched harnesses, an accurate raised tubular pilot's "floor" and padded crew compartment wall. Photo-etch is used for the instrument panel, rudder pedal straps, ring gunsights, switch panels and the (very German looking) radio front panel. Some of the smaller details, such as the machine guns, are a little chunky.
Options include defensive machine guns in the side windows, positionable (and thoroughly detailed) lower fuselage crew door, and choice of open or closed canopy.
The fuselage is engineered for positive fitting with the wing and tailplanes. The assembled fuselage forms a saddle for the lower wing centre section (click thumbnail to the left to view full-sized). When these parts are set, they will form a very solid base for the outer wing assemblies.
Wing detail is good. HiPM have gone to the trouble to box in the four prominent leading edge wing intakes. The dive brake assembly is well thought out too. They are a combination of etch and plastic. The fabric detail is extremely convincing - not the exaggerated sagging often seen on models recently. Trailing edges are very sharp. Very little thinning, if any, will be required on this model.
Engine nacelles are very nice. I particularly like the depiction of the vents on the nacelle sides. You will probably want to hollow out the solid intakes and exhaust shrouds though. Bulkheads for the front and rear of the main gear wells are included. It will be up to the modeller's imagination to add plumbing detail in the well if desired.
Landing gear is detailed and delicate, although this will be an aspect of construction to try the patience when cleaning up persistent flash. Make sure to let the gear dry thoroughly before attaching to the wing too.
The tricky dihedral of the tailplanes has been simplified by moulding a full-length horizontal top section including the upper-rear fuselage. This will ensure a structurally sound bond. The locating tab for the fins are very shallow. Some additional reinforcement will be advisable.
HiPM have included four external bombs and their mounts as an option.
The clear parts are terrific. They are thin and very transparent, with sharp and consistent frame lines. Two canopies are supplied - one closed and one that permits the rear to drop down deploy the machine gun.
Decals are equally worthy. They are printed by Propagteam and include markings for two Soviet and one Finnish machine. They are in perfect register. The schemes themselves are interesting and varied. One Soviet Pe-2 wears a striped white winter pattern over its green camouflage; the second Soviet aircraft has upper surfaces in Grass Green; while the Finnish aircraft features black and green splinter camouflage.
The instructions are covered in 25 steps over 28 A5 sized pages. The exploded view drawings are very good and, for the most part, clear in their intent. Three full pages are devoted to detail painting instructions. Colours are called out by general description (eg Dark Green, Dark Grey, Grey-Blue). There are no model paint or FS cross-references. Camouflage and markings diagrams are very comprehensive. Each scheme is illustrated will two side views, plus a top and bottom plan view.
I am very impressed with HiPM's early version Pe-2. It is well detailed and thoughtfully engineered. The options supplied are relevant and usable.
The kit's shortcomings are obvious, but not unexpected given the nature of short-run kits. They will not present an impediment to moderately experienced modellers.
Comparisons with the recent 1/48 scale MPM kit are inevitable. On a sprue-to-sprue comparison, this new HiPM kit wins hands down. The MPM kit is undoubtedly good, and takes a different approach to detail with its use of resin, but this HiPM kit is in a different class in terms of surface features and structural forethought.
At AUD$48 (around US$27), it is also great value for a kit of this size, detail and complexity.
Recommended to fans of VVS or Finnish aircraft, and anyone else with moderate modelling skills.
Thanks to NKR Models for the review sample.
HiPM (and many other) models are available from NKR Models Website
Review and Image Copyright © 2000 by Brett