Zvezda 1/144, Ref. 7034
An interesting 2020 release from Zvezda, this Russian multi-role amphibious aircraft has been around since the beginning of the century, and if only a handful of them have been built, things may change in a not too distant future if a re-engined variant gets the eventual go-ahead from the Russian government. The aircraft has not been idle at all during the past two decades and have been used in Russia of course but also leased to many countries, including Portugal, Greece, Serbia, Indonesia, Azerbaijan and Israël to combat forest fires. Azerbaijan has since acquired one aircraft, while Chile and China are awaiting theirs and at least one US customer is considering its purchase. The Russian Navy operates a few aircraft too.
The kit includes 60 parts, including a display stand, of which 6 are transparent (one being part of the display stand), a b/w instruction sheet, a full-colour painting guide and markings (decals) for one rather colourful civilian RF-registered (that is Russian state-operated) machine (illustrated on the box-art) and a Soviet Navy one in a drabber but still pleasant scheme of Dark Grey over Light Blue. The decal sheet includes a nice array of ‘stencils’.
The parts are very finely engraved; cockpit furnishing is minimal but sufficient for most of us, but the cabin itself is empty, with no floor and just one bulkhead for the cockpit area. The kit can be built with its undercarriage in or out. Only the front landing gear well shows some detailing, but little of it is visible and the main landing gear wells are all but closed in the end. On the other hand, the far more visible landing gear legs, struts and wheels are finely molded and detailed. Cabin windows are provided by strips of clear plastic; the whole front office windows are made up of a single clear part. Nice touch, the inner ring of each engine nacelle up to the compressor fan will remove the need of filling in hard to reach joints. With a span of 22.7cm and a length of 23cm, this is not a massive model, but it is a graceful one from the looks of it!
Review and pictures by Dominique Jadoul.