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Spiros Pendedekas
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Accurate Miniatures 1/48 Il-2m3 Stormovik

December 9, 2022 · in Aviation · · 45 · 0.8K

Though the idea for a Soviet armored ground-attack aircraft dates to the early 1930s, when Dmitry Pavlovich Grigorovich designed TSh-1 and TSh-2 armored biplanes, Soviet engines of the time lacked the power needed to provide the heavy aircraft with good performance. It was only until 1938 that such a concept came to fruition, when Sergey Ilyushin and his Central Design Bureau Team designed the twin seater TsKB-55, which was to become the . Uniquely for a World War II attack aircraft and similarly to the forward fuselage design of the World War I-era Junkers J.I armored, all-metal biplane, the Il-2's armor was designed as a load-bearing part of the monocoque structure, thus saving considerable weight.

Since the emerging design was still overweight and underpowered, not only the original Mikulin AM-35 engine was replaced by the more powerful (and optimized for low altitudes) AM-38, but also the rear gunner's “office” was deleted, enabling the prototype to pass State Acceptance Trials in March 1941, with deliveries to operational units commencing in May.

Upon Nazi invasion, only 249 “Stormoviks” were available, with production immediately slowing down, as the aircraft factories near Moscow and other major cities in western Russia had to be relocated east of the Ural Mountains for obvious reasons. Ilyushin and his engineers made good use of that time, in order to reconsider production methods, with Il-2s again being produced a mere two months after the move. Production rate, however, was not to Premier Stalin's liking and, after a threatening telegram, production rapidly gained speed, with units subsequently becoming available in quantity.

Being a new type in which aircrews had no experience at, might explain the dodgy first period the aircraft had, but, soon, the gained experience, combined with improved tactics, brought the to its full potential.

Though a generally tough aircraft that would absorb a lot of punishment, its rear proved unproportionally vulnerable, so the aforementioned deleted rear gunner's area was very quickly reintroduced, with the existing single seater machines field-modified by cutting a hole in the fuselage behind the cockpit. Upgraded engine variants were also introduced some time in 1942, offering improved takeoff and low-altitude performance.

To counteract the air gunners exceptionally high death rate, late models produced after 1944 had the rear armor plate moved rearwards to allow the gunner to sit behind the fuel tank.Since this modification moved the center of gravity significantly rearwards, swept back outer wings were also introduced, in order to shift the aerodynamic center equally rearwards.

Essentially deployed on the Eastern Front, the aircraft could fly in low light conditions and carry weapons able to defeat the thick armor of the Panther and Tiger I tanks. Ground forces highly valued the presence of the “Ilyusha” on the battlefield, with enemy attacks frequently thwarted thanks to them.

It is true, however that Stormovik attacks were not among the most accurate and also, due to its heavy armor, the plane would typically carry only comparatively light bomb-loads, proving less effective than the P-47 or the Typhoon, the net effect often being more psychological than actual physical destruction of targets.

Owing to a shortage of fighters in 1941–1942, Il-2s were occasionally used as fighters. Though grossly outclassed by dedicated types such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in dogfights, Stormoviks could take on other Luftwaffe aircraft with some success.

Despite the ultra heavy losses (to degree justified by the quirky operational environment and, particularly, the lack of available Russian fighter protection), the iconic and vastly produced Il-2, the so called “Flying Tank” (a nickname earned thanks to the heavy armor protection), can be regarded as an effective weapon deployed by the Soviet forces, in a way being the forerunner of the equally iconic A-10 and Su-25.

Though first released in 1997, this is still a very good kit of the iconic Stormovik.

It being an AM kit means that some extra attention might at areas be required, in this case mainly at the wings to fuselage attachment, the tricky point being the the nose which is separate and has to somehow be aligned with the fuselage, so the wings will mate correctly. If you build it, do yourself a favor and follow Tom's @tcinla suggestions to the letter[ and you will get everything fit nicely with, from that point onward, the kit requiring the same effort as your standard WWII single engine kit.

This kit was build after a mutual decision with my good friend @johnb to "combo-build" our quarter scale Stormoviks (he did the Revell reboxed one). Other Fine People joined us in what became a successful and mostly enjoyable "multi combo build".

This was not the first time that I built together with @johnb and it was, as usual, an amazing, utterly enjoyable experience. I am proud John is my friend.

Should you wish to read the full build review, you might do so by visiting my beloved site Modelingmadness:

Happy modelling!
Reader reactions:
15  Awesome

45 responses

  1. Excellent Spiros! I built this way back in 2002 and yes, it is a challenge to get everything to line up correctly. It builds into a great model however, definitely a kit for the more experienced modeler. I see you used the kit decals, as did I. Seeing your model gets me to thinking about posting mine on here too. Great work as always Spiros!

  2. Looks intimidating! great build Spiros!

  3. Well done, Spiros.
    Last year during my visit to the NASM/Udvar-Hazy they have an IL-2 in the restoration shop. This will be good to see some day. (attached pic is not mine)

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  4. A stunning model my friend! Well done overall but I like the paintwork a lot @fiveten

  5. Another excellent build out of the Spriros Aircraft Factory and Funhouse! Well done!

  6. What more to say, Spiros @fiveten.

    Your build and the accomponied article are really amazing, the three color camouflage being wonderful.

    The pleasure was al mine being able to build our Sturmoviks together my good friend, and it was great to see so many enthousiastic modellers joining as well.

    I learned a lot from this combo build, luckily you were most of the time ahead, and it is for sure a good advise to follow the approach provided by Tom @tcinla.

  7. Your usual smooth and beautiful I see

  8. Great job on this flying tank!

  9. Yet another excellent post from you, Spiros, I don’t know where you find the time to do all this work. The history is interesting, and to some extent is being repeated in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  10. Great post and excellent build, Spiros!

  11. Well done, Spiros (@fiveten). The bright decals really liven up the model. I build the AM kit for the IL-2 build and liked it, although I thought it was overly complicated in some areas.

  12. Spiros Pendedekas (@fiveten)
    It was a lot of fun to watch you guys build your multiple Stormovik's. It was equally impressive to see how each of you painted your exteriors differently. These aircraft had some excellent choices for painting them up. Some had patriotic slogans, while others were very plain, or had overall monotone winter colors.

    I especially enjoyed reading your article. It seems they are getting better with each new posting. I saw this over at M2, and knew it would be here in the headlines soon.

    I definitely pressed the "like" button. Merry Christmas my friend. Take care.

  13. It was so nice following the progress and participating in the combo build!

  14. Well done Spiros your flying tank looks great.

  15. Another nice job! Seems you are even more productive than my dad 😀

  16. Tail End Charlie here,

    I've written this comment before, its amazing that folks who live thousands of miles away from each other, speak different languages, have different cultures and histories and can come up with the same interests and love for the same hobby. Spiros, its a real treat to read and see your efforts at making models taken from your vault or museum. Written with tongue in cheek. The Mrs, talks about having a hobby store in her basement at our home. Knowledgeable, modelers refer to it as a collection.

    Cheers to your further adventures in modeling its appreciated. Your Il-2m3 Stormovik has some strong work and painting.

    Had to smash the like button

  17. Very striking-looking Stormovik, Spiros. The camo shades you chose are very rich and interesting and the level of weathering looks perfect to me. The fact that it is not overly beaten up reflects the limited combat life of the type (as with many Russian aircraft). Perfect seamless application of the decals as well, which can be tricky when you lay down those slogans with so much decal area. The Accurate Miniatures kit stands up well to the new Tamiya offering. I also have the Acc Min kit in 1/48 as well as the Hobby Boss version in 1/32. May get to one of them soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

  18. I just got done reading your article in the MM site, great read! And your build came out looking amazing. Your paint colors and markings used made this an eye catching build.

  19. Great build Spiros. It sounds like the combo-build was a great success. Also thanks for the background history.

  20. A beautiful build of one of my favourite aircraft.
    Very nicely done.
    I have the Revell boxing of this one, whenever i get round to it.


  21. Nice work! I love the paint job! Just the right amount of weathering too.

  22. Excellent as always. I especially like the weathering and color variation on the bottom of the aircraft, and the cockpit detail. I don't envy that rear "seat" gunner!

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