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Mike

DB-3F/IL-4/IL-4T Soviet Long Range Bomber 1:48

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DB-3F/IL-4/IL-4T Soviet Long Range Bomber
1:48 Xuntong


boxtop.jpg


Ilyushin began work on this twin engined long-range bomber long before the outbreak of WWII, and it was initially given the code DB-4 from the Russian for Long-Range Bomber. The designed was warmed over from one previously entered for another competition, and through constant changes to the structure, engines and other equipment it morphed into the DB-3F, which was re-designated as the IL-4, which benefitted from more improvements that resulted in a stronger, lighter aircraft that could carry more fuel, and with a lengthened fuselage it became more streamlined, further extending its range.

With new engines the designers added extra armament, hoping one would offset the other, which of course it didn't, resulting in a slower top speed. This didn't seem to stop the Soviets from ordering more, and by the end of production in 1944, over 5,000 had been built. It was robust and could carry a substantial bomb load, which although bombing wasn't a high priority for the Soviets in WWII, meant that it was well used. It was also adapted to carry torpedoes, and used by the Navy for attacks on enemy shipping.

As a footnote, it later gained the comical NATO reporting code of "Bob", which really tickles this reviewer for some reason.

The Kit
Xuntong have a liking for the lesser known Russian twins, which appears to be turning into their niche in our hobby with this release. They previously kitted the Tupolev Tu-2 was well received, and Bob seems to be getting the same response. Due to the slow-boat from China, Eduard have already released some aftermarket for this kit, which you can have a look at from the link at the bottom of the review. The box is fairly large, and is well stocked with parts on five large sprues of mid grey styrene, one of clear parts, and a large decal sheet. The instruction booklet is oversize A4 in portrait format, but on my issue at least is a little pale, with grey text and drawings. The fuselage is a large moulding with the frames for the glazed nose moulded in, and a good degree of internal structure such as ribs and frames moulded in, but with some ejector pin marks in between. The outer skin has a matt finish, and panel lines are engraved perhaps a little wide for some tastes. It is of standard construction, but with some useful twists (excuse the pun) such as the mid-upper turret that has a bayonet connector to facilitate installation after painting is completed by rotating it aft. The instructions are busy, with little text, but plenty of scratch diagrams to compensate.

sprue1.jpg

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sprue4.jpg

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The build begins at the nose, with the installation of the cockpit sidewalls and side glazing, and it is interesting to note that the single glazing part has raised frames on the inside face, so you can pre-paint those before insertion to give a more realistic finish to the area. There are a lot of small parts added to the cockpit sidewalls, and this is continued onto the floor that is added later. The pilot's seat and armour panel, side consoles, rudder pedals, control column and oxygen bottles should make for a busy cockpit. Keeping with the theme of the crewed areas, the top turret is next, with a choice of armament. The first option is the 12.7mm UBT machine gun, which is well represented, complete with ammo feed and mount, with a leather strop across the base of the turret for the gunner to sit on. An ammo can is added along with a rear panel, and the finished turret lower is then encased in a three-part glazed dome, which has an alternative part with different framing as an option. The smaller option mounts a 7.62mm ShKAS machine gun with telescopic sight, and apart from the mount construction follows a similar path, with both ending up with a pair of swept "bunny ears" added to the top. Scrap diagrams show the correct positioning of the parts on the turret rings to reduce margins for error, which is always good to see.

Attention then turns to the underside of the centre wing, which is a single part and needs a number of holes drilled, depending on which variant you plan on building, and what it will be carrying. Choose wisely and stick to your choice as changing once the wings are together would be tricky to say the least. If you can't decide things like this at outset though, you could always open them all, then close the unwanted holes later with some styrene rod and glue. The lower engine nacelle rears are moulded into the lower wing, and they have basic rib detail moulded into the area, on top of which the gear bay rooves are added, with a little extra detail added before they are fixed in place. Two scrap diagrams show how the parts should look once completed. The short upper wing panels are prepared next, with their leading and trailing root fairings added from separate parts, taking care to leave a 0.2mm gap to portray the panel lines between the parts. With these complete, they are added to the lower wing section to complete the assembly, which is then put aside for more work on the fuselage.

The dorsal gunner must have had a torrid time in his position, as he was suspended on a tubular framework to which his gun was added. This is built up in a number of steps, and is added under the fuselage just before the two halves are closed up. There is a short section of wooden floor included forward of his position, plus a tubular rack that presumably carries his spare ammo. This is described much earlier in the instructions however, and just appears complete at this stage, as does the floor section for the nose. The cockpit floor is also added to the fuselage side, and a single part is added to the instrument coaming for one of the schemes. A scrap diagram again shows how all the assemblies should sit within the fuselage, so you can glue them together with confidence. The nose gunner/bomb aimer's seat is inserted just before the glazing is added, but you can install this earlier to save forgetting it if you feel the urge.

The flying surfaces are standard fare with two halves for each outer wing, plus separate two-part ailerons and a pair of formation lights above and below the wingtip. The starboard wing has a small grille and landing light inserted on the leading edge, while the port does not. The elevators are built in the same fashion with trim-tab actuators added for extra detail. These and the separate rudder are added later after the inner wing panel has been installed and the engines completed.

detail-wing.jpg

detail-fuselage.jpg


Xuntong have put a lot of effort and parts into the engines, which are a full-depth representation with collector rings and exhaust present, and ancillary parts such as the reduction gear, push-rods and mounting ring depicted. There is one engine installation for the IL-4, and an earlier engine set for the DB-3. They are mounted on a conical section that slips inside the open or closed cooling flap section, and again scrap diagrams abound to ensure you get it right, as alignment is critical in this close-fitting area. The cowlings are built from two halves, with the front a single part for reduced clean-up. An optional fan sits in the front of the cowling, and here the build diverges depending on which aircraft you are building. For the IL-4 a pair of small panel inserts are fitted around the exhaust stubs before being glued, and an intake is added to the top of the cowling, both of which are handed. The instructions for the DB-3F are separated by a page of instructions where the canopy is installed, and are broadly similar to the IL-4, but with different intakes and a few small parts added around the cowling.

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The canopy of the Bob sits on top of the fuselage, and has separate windscreen, canopy and aerodynamic teardrop rear sections. A different rear section is supplied for the DB-3F, and an additional part is added for the Naval version of the IL-4. The top of the nose is closed by adding an insert that has another glazing insert and a removable access hatch added before it is glued to the nose after removing four location pegs that must have been deemed unnecessary after moulding. The tip of the nose glazing has a single ShKAS machine gun added in a ball-mount, and it is then glued to the front of the fuselage, enclosing the operator's seat that you didn't forget to install beforehand.

Landing gear is covered next, and the tail wheel is fitted to an insert on the underside of the tail for the DB-3F, which was removed for the later models, presumably to save weight. The main gear can be fitted in the retracted mode by assembling the twin legs and four-part tyres, then gluing them in place using an alternative horizontal hole in the bay, after which the two gear bay doors have their location points removed and are fitted to the bay margin. Fitting them in the deployed state involves adding the retraction mechanism which consists of two V-frames and a piston, the locations of which are made clear on another pair of scrap diagrams. The bay doors are fitted on their hinge tabs, and it's job done. The underside nose access hatch, exhaust extensions and addition of the props are buried in between installation of the munitions, as are the three sets of probes and aerials that are appropriate for the various marks. It seems a little confusing to do so, but as there is likely to be some handling of the almost finished aircraft in order to build the weapon mounts, it is understandable.

Weapons! Bombs or torpedoes will be dictated by which decal option you are going for, but they are all suspended on fairly fragile mounts, to which the torpedo has an extension due to its length. The hole diagram earlier in the instruction will have you scratching your head a little, so check it twice, take notes and make sure you are fitting the correct mounts for your weapons choice. In the box you have the following:

2 x FAB-500 bomb
2 x FAB-1000 bomb
1 x 45-36-AVA/AN/AM Torpedo
1 x AMG-1 Sea Min
6 x RS-132 Rocket


Each item is made up from a surprisingly large number of parts, which results in good detail. The torpedoes start with the same basic body, to which different rear sections are added. The mount can be improved by the addition of short lengths of wire to represent the steel cable that holds it in place for additional realism, although this is not included. If your head is still spinning about what mountings to use for your chosen weapon, check the diagrams on pages 24 and 25, as they give some additional side and head-on views that should prove helpful.


Markings
Xuntong have been generous with the decals, providing a surprising eleven options for you to choose from. Each option is depicted by a single side profile, plus upper and lower view for the placement of camouflage demarcations of the various fleets and schemes. From the box you can build one of the following:

  • Baltic Frleet, 1st Guards Maritime Torpedo Aviation Regiment, summer-fall 1944.
  • Black Sea Fleet, 2nd Torpedo Bomber Aviation Regiment, 1941.
  • Northern Fleet, 9th Guards Torpedo Bomber Aviation Regiment, May 1943.
  • Black Sea Fleet 119th Torpedo Bomber Aviation Regiment, 1943
  • Black Sea Fleet 5th Guards Torpedo Bomber Aviation Regiment, March 1944.
  • 18th Guards Long-Range Bomber Aviation Regiment, Poland 1944.
  • Northern Fleet, 2nd Guards Red Banner Aviation Regiment, 1944-45.
  • Baltic Fleet, 1st Guards Torpedo Aviation Regiment, summer 1943.
  • 3rd Guards Long-Range Bomber Aviation Regiment, March 1943.
  • 3rd Guards Long-Range Bomber Aviation Regiment, March 1945.
  • 10th Guards Long-Range Bomber Aviation Regiment, 1st Detachment, March 1941.

decals.jpg


The decals are printed anonymously, but are have good register, colour density and sharpness overall, but with some slight stepping visible on the stars under magnification. The density of the patriotic slogans is particularly important due to their size, and they look to have been double-printed to achieve the required level of opacity. A separate smaller sheet includes just a few red stripes that are applied to some of the decal options.


Conclusion
It's a niche subject partially due to the previous lack of kits available in the mainstream, but with this release and the distribution network it has achieved, that no longer applies, so what do we think of the kit? It's very nice overall, with plenty of detail, although some of the small parts will need a little clean-up due to some flash creeping in. If you fancy a little something that isn't grey or Spitfire shaped, this will certainly fit the bill. Construction should be fairly straight forward once you've got your head round the slightly confusing (to me at least) instructions, and the resulting model will be well detailed and fairly large in your cabinet. If you want to go all out with the build, you should have a squint at the Eduard sets that we reviewed a while back here.

Highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of
logo.gifUK Distributors for logo.jpg

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This is different but I like it. The large bomb looks like something Wylie Coyote got from the ACME catalogue ! :D

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As a footnote, it later gained the comical NATO reporting code of "Bob", which really tickles this reviewer for some reason.

Makes total sense !!

I giggle like a little girl when I say it out loud. Also: driver Bob from Blackadder so there's that :D

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Very nice! Almost makes me want to take up collecting 1/48th scale kits again (I say collecting as I never even started building most of my 1/48th scale kits, which is why I stopped buying them). Still, if I bought their Tu-2, I suppose I'd have to buy this also.

Regards,

Jason

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And there's also a SB-2 coming, IIRC.

Edited by Antoine

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This is different but I like it. The large bomb looks like something Wylie Coyote got from the ACME catalogue ! :D

It's a sea mine my son, but I take your point entirely ;)

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And yes, a SB (not SB-2!) will come!

You beat me to it.....

One of my pet hates is the use of 'SB-2' instead of the correct 'SB' - even Zvezda are guilty of it....http://www.captainshrapnel.com/sm_uploaded_files/product_images/1833.1.jpg

Don't get me started on 'Ju 52'....... :analintruder:

Oh! - nearly forgot.... great review of the Il-4 :thumbsup:

Ken

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Well, you just have to tell Xuntong, then.

with calling it "SB 2 M-100" Xuntong is nearly correct. Totally correct would be "SB 2M-100" , am I right, Ken?

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Mikhail Maslov writes it as SB 2 M-100 in his definitive work 'Tupolev SB' published by Icarus Aviation Press

The point is that the SB stands just for 'Skorostnoy Bombardirovshchik' - or 'Fast Bomber' (much like the German 'Schnell Bomber') - it's a category rather than an individual type - same as how any German 'dive-bombing aeroplane' could have been a 'Stuka'.

So, it's a Tupolev SB - the 2 part refers to the engines fitted - 2 X M-100 or 2 X M-103 or "2 X M-105 etc - but written as above.

It should be written as Tupolev SB - OR Tupolev SB 2 M-100 - but NOT Tupolev SB 2.

Incidentally, the Soviets also had categories for Heavy Bomber - TB (Tyazholy Bombardirovschik) and Long Range Bomber - DB (Dalniy Bombardirovshchik) as well as SB - hence the TB-7 and DB-4 (although there is no mention of engines fitted to those!)

I know I'm anal - I just think that we ought to be precise when talking about military equipment.

How many Ju 52's were built? - answer 6 - the rest were Ju 52/3m with 3 engines - but all we see now is Ju 52.

OK - I really ought to get a life.......

Ken

Edited by Flankerman

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OK - I really ought to get a life.......

Indeed!

Thanks for pointing out those differences.

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Good explanation, Ken! Just think how I feel when I see 'Sturmovik' instead of 'Shturmovik' for the Il-2. I realise that 'shturmovik' is itself a generic term for any ground attack aeroplane, and can be used to describe the Il-10, and the Su-25 for example, but if people are going to use the term, I wish they would spell it properly! I find myself increasingly avoiding the vexed problem by just calling the Il-2 the 'Il-2'. Of course, you can also use the engine type here - 'Il-2 AM-38' covers almost all of the single-seaters, and 'Il-2 AM-38F' covers most of the two-seaters. Don't even get me started on 'Il-2M' and 'Il-2m3'!

Regards,

Jason

Edited by Learstang

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Good explanation, Ken! Just think how I feel when I see 'Sturmovik' instead of 'Shturmovik' for the Il-2. I realise that 'shturmovik' is itself a generic term for any ground attack aeroplane, and can be used to describe the Il-10, and the Su-25 for example, but if people are going to use the term, I wish they would spell it properly!

The only correct spelling is in Cyrillic.

Otherwise its a problem of transcription, which can be different between countries and periods.

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The only correct spelling is in Cyrillic.

Otherwise its a problem of transcription, which can be different between countries and periods.

Yes, I understand that. But the correct English transliteration is 'shturmovik', not sturmovik. The initial letter in the Cyrillic is a 'sha', which is the 'sh' sound. This is represented quite nicely in English by 'sh'. I realise that in Czech, for example, an 's' with a diacritical mark over it is the correct transliteration, but not in English. This is an English-speaking forum. Therefore, it should be spelled 'shturmovik', not 'sturmovik'.

Regards,

Jason

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Talking of translation..........

On my first visit to the Monino museum way back in 1993, we were escorted by a former VVS B-25 pilot who pointed out things to us in Russian - which was duly translated by our English-speaking Intourist female guide.

In front of the I-16, I heard him say (in Russian) the words 'Messerschmitt samolet" when he described some combat event.

This was then translated by our lady guide as 'The Mr Smith plane" ............ bless her.

Ken

Edited by Flankerman

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Yes, I understand that. But the correct English transliteration is 'shturmovik', not sturmovik. The initial letter in the Cyrillic is a 'sha', which is the 'sh' sound. This is represented quite nicely in English by 'sh'. I realise that in Czech, for example, an 's' with a diacritical mark over it is the correct transliteration, but not in English. This is an English-speaking forum. Therefore, it should be spelled 'shturmovik', not 'sturmovik'.

There are actually several standards on cyrillic transliteration and although the ones that use the "š" (a "s" with a caron) have their roots in the Czech language, they can be used in other languages also, including English. For example, someone working in linguistics would probably use it that way. There is actually a pretty good Wikepedia article on the various cyrillic transliteration standards:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Russian

However, I agree fully that without the caron, writing a "s" in place of the Russian "sh" letter is simply wrong. So any use of "Sturmovik" (as written here) cannot be correct. Either you have to add the caron or you have to write it "sh" instead.

Transliteration is full of pitfalls: I am fairly fluent in Russian but when I see a piece of Russian text written in transliterated form it usually confuses the heck out of me. It is easier for me to read Russian handwriting than it is to read transliterated text (cursive Russian looks quite different than cyrillic block letters and takes considerably longer to get used to). In fact, I am quite happy that my Russian teacher insisted that I do all my written homework using cursive writing: Because of that I can actually decipher the slogans on Soviet WWII aircraft, which often used cursive letters! Transliteration, on the other hand, has very little use when learning the language.

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Yes, I understand that. But the correct English transliteration is 'shturmovik', not sturmovik. The initial letter in the Cyrillic is a 'sha', which is the 'sh' sound. This is represented quite nicely in English by 'sh'. I realise that in Czech, for example, an 's' with a diacritical mark over it is the correct transliteration, but not in English. This is an English-speaking forum. Therefore, it should be spelled 'shturmovik', not 'sturmovik'.

Regards,

Jason

This one will certainly hurt, this is the current French transcription.

couv-aj-hs-16-grande.jpg

:oops:

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Ouch! I hadn't seen that spelling before! At least they got the camouflage correct - that's Hero of the Soviet Union A.I. Borodin's Il-2 as it appeared at Stalingrad. I actually have a built-up model of that particular aircraft (built from the Smer kit - nice kit).

Regards,

Jason

Edited by Learstang

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Aerojournal is a very highly regarded aviation magasine in France.

And the author is no other than Herbert Leonard, famous singer, but also latter in his career, writer specialized on Russian aircraft.

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Aerojournal is a very highly regarded aviation magasine in France.

And the author is no other than Herbert Leonard, famous singer, but also latter in his career, writer specialized on Russian aircraft.

I can't quite match that. I'm a former legal assistant and computer analyst who has become a writer specialising in Soviet/Russian aircraft. I'm definitely not a singer, famous or otherwise. I do like the illustration on the front - looks like it may be computer-generated.

Regards,

Jason

Edited by Learstang

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