I believe most of you know this type, and needs no introduction. Most kits show the famous night bomber version, or a somewhat more special version built for carrying wounded soldiers.
However, the type was used for decades after a war in various roles. In my native Hungary the type was used after the war to rebuild both military and commercial flying. The military used these aging biplanes as basic trainers and practicing parachute jumps (after covering some of the external control cables). Both Soviet (Po-2) and Polish made (CSS-13) planes were delivered. The CSS-13 had a few modifications compared to the original design, one of the most obvious is on the wings – the new Frise ailerons. The old KP 1/72 Po-2 is actually more like a CSS-13 – just to be aware of this for your next build, but I believe everyone is getting the new 1/72 ICM kit anyway.
The 3-seater passenger version was used for domestic taxi flying, and sometimes even on scheduled flights when the usual Li-2 (a.k.a. the soviet-made DC-3) was not fully booked. Later these 3-seater passenger planes were converted to crop dusters, and served as test platform for getting experience with agricultural flying.
The type was already obsolete during the war, so no wonder that the Hungarian air force started handing over its planes to flying clubs already in 1954. Shortly afterwards, all former military Po-2s were flying as glider tow planes.
In 1957 the occupying Soviet forces gave a scrapped Po-2 to the Hungarians (what a nice gesture, a free, scrap Po-2 in 1957). The plane was completely restored, converted to a glider tug, and got a funky yellow-red color scheme. Unfortunately HA-PAX had a short career, the plane crashed and burned down completely in 1959 after an accident.
I have built a few Polikarpovs before, all in 1:72 scale. I bought the 1:48 Eduard (ex-Gavia) kit long time ago, took a quick look and forgot about the whole kit for years. A few years ago I started the project, but quickly realized the problems with the kit. The most obvious is the joint of the top wing parts. The connection is very weak, and the designers got the whole structure completely wrong. It is not a big issue when you hide it under a multi-colored camo, but the tow planes in Hungary had very interesting schemes. Most of them had either red-white stripes or another scheme, following the wing´s internal structure. These schemes simply would not fit on Gavia´s wrongly designed wing.
2020 was a challenging year for everyone, also for me. I needed something for this year to help through these difficult times, and I decided to buy a new Po-2 kit, this time from ICM. I have two kits in my stash, but both in 1:72 scale, and I think this scheme would look better on a larger model. The quarter scale ICM kit is very nice, but I plan to reuse some of the Eduard/Gavia profipack components, and also the new photoetch set from Eduard, designed for the ICM kit. The kit is a night bomber version, so one of the main mods is to get rid of that bombsight hole on the wing. It was not used on trainers or civilian planes. Otherwise it looks like a simple build, with a few photoetched parts and rigging.
I plan to paint all markings, but the final decision will be made after making a few trials with cutting my own masks. I already created a high-tech color paint guide by printing out drawings from an old Hungarian publication (AeroHistoria 1987/2 from the Arcanum Digitheca service) , and color it with my daugthers pencils. 🙂
Schedule? Finish it in 2021. 🙂
3 attached images. Click to enlarge.