This is the new Bobcat (former Xuntong)Models kit. This kit was a real surprise and a treat. I never expected to see a high quality, 1/48 Firebar kit, but here we have it! The model really went together well and is nicely detailed. It looks a bit intimidating in the box mainly because the engine nacelles are constructed from a jigsaw puzzle, fiddly looking design. Filler was used on most nacelle seams and lots of super glue was needed to blend the rear hot sections into each unit. The other thing to watch is that you must ensure that all 6 wheels touch the ground. The plane has a bicycle landing gear with outriggers much like a Harrier or B-52. The main gear units must be installed before closing the fuselage halves. Thankfully, the rear main strut pivots and need not be glued immediately. Install the front main tires and outriggers first. When dry, add the rear main tires and glue the main strut into a fixed position. You then can add it’s retraction arm with tweezers. Following this procedure, mine fit flawlessly and all 6 wheels are grounded. I painted the NMF with a Tamiya lacquers and Floquil Old Silver. The rest of the paint is Humbrol enamel. I used the kit decals, which are great, and added some Eduard seatbelts.
I found some reference photos on Russian websites, but not much as the plane rarely deployed outside of the USSR. I did come across an interesting story of one that crashed in a lake in the British zone of Berlin in the mid 1960s. Lots of spook work with divers to snatch the radar, get it to the UK for evaluation and then return it to the wreckage before being turned over to the Soviets along with the deceased crewmen.
Overall, this kit went together well and makes up into an impressive model. Finally, it’s a really long airplane, making it difficult to photograph!
10 additional images. Click to enlarge.