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  1. This year’s theme build for my model club, IPMS Auckland, is “Slava Ukraini!” and has two categories: 1 - Ukrainian Subject Any manufacturer's kit can be used but must depict a Ukrainian subject. No Russian model manufacturers. 2 - Ukrainian Kit Manufacturer Any Ukrainian kit built as any subject - does not have to have Ukrainian markings if the kit is made in Ukraine. No Russian markings. I have already built an An-225 in its Ukrainian livery, an ICM SB-2 in Chinese markings, and French EBR-75 and AML-90 armoured cars by Ace, all to 1/72 scale. Upon looking through my stash for qualifying kits I decided to build my Modelsvit (Ukrainian brand) and Trumpeter (Chinese brand) Tu-22KD "Blinders-B". I have also built three other Ukrainian brand kits this year - ICM's I-153, and A-Model's Yak-25RV and Yak-28P, but I think that they don't qualify as they are in Soviet markings. I originally planned to do both in Ukrainian markings, with the more accurate and better detailed Modelsvit kit on the ground and the Trumpeter kit in flight. I tackled the much more demanding to build Modelsvit offering first and found that almost every part required some fettling in order to fit, but once fettled fit was good (except for the cockpit bulkheads which are way too big). I was ready to paint my Modelsvit Tu-22KD when I decided two aluminium and white machines in Ukrainian markings did not offer enough variety. The Chinese-brand Trumpeter kit had to be finished as a Ukrainian machine to qualify. Since the Ukrainian -brand kit could not be fished as a Russian Blinder I would have to choose one of the two export customers for the Tu-22, either Libya or Iraq. Aside from a couple of trainer-version "Blinder-Ds", the Arab aircraft were conventional (non-nuclear capable) "Blinder-A" bombers converted from "Blinder-C" reconnaissance aircraft. This was necessary Only 15 Blinder-As were built at the very beginning of Tu-22 production and were largely used for early training. It was the Tu-22K & KD with Kh-22 stand-off missile, the "Blinder-B" that became the principle offensive version which appears to have not been considered for export - probably due to its Kh-22 missile). The Tu-22R "Blinder-C" retained the Tu-22B "Blinder-A's" bomb-bay layout and so could be readily converted to a non-nuclear capable level bomber suitable for export (Blinder-A). All well and good, except that the Blinder-B my kit represented features a much larger and wider nose than a Blinder-A (for the Kh-22 guidance radar) and has a lance-like refuelling probe. The latter could easily be removed, but altering the nose shape was far more demanding as thinning down meant large holes running either side of the nose would need to be filled in and made good. I definitely did away with the "Blinder-B's" nose shape, but I'm not 100% sure I've captured that of a Blinder-A/C from some angles. Another challenge was closing the partially open KH-22 bomb bay and the forward recess for the Kh-22 as this had been faired in for my original Blinder-B using CA-glue. Let's just say converting the nose and fitting the appropriate bomb bay would have been much easier had I decided to do so before completing the construction of a "Blinder-B". One thing I'm unsure of and could not change was my model's nuclear-flash screens fitted to the cockpit windows. These would not be required by a conventional bomber but would, I assume, still, be handy for shading the cockpit in hot sunny climates. My model was further modified by cutting the ventral crew hatches out so that the downward-firing ejection seats, which also serve to elevate crew members into their stations, could be displayed lowered. I added the seat and parachute harnesses from a WW2 French seatbelt set I had. I replaced the kit’s after-burners, exhaust nozzles, and wheels with resin ones by Barracudacast, and the air intakes with turned aluminium items by Mini World. The Iraqi national insignia decals were scrounged and the Arabic script was painted using a homemade template.
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