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Paul A H

PZL 23B Karas Polish Light Bomber (early) - 1:72 IBG

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PZL 23B Karas Polish Light Bomber (early)

1:72 IBG

 

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The PZL.23 Karas was a light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft developed by Państwowe Zakłady Lotnicze (PZL) during the interwar period. A modern aircraft by the standards of the day, the Karas was of all-metal construction and was powered by a licence-built version of the Bristol Pegasus VIII radial engine. The Karas was the main light bomber in the Polish Air Force by the outbreak of war. As such, it has the distinction of having conducted the first bombing raid on Reich territory, when a single aircraft of the 21st Squadron bombed a factory in Ohlau (now Oława in modern-day Poland) on 2 September 1939. The maximum bomb load that the type could carry was 700kg, comprising 6 x 100kg and 2 x 50kg bombs.

 

The PZL 23 is the second aircraft kit produced by IBG Models. The first, the RWD-8, appeared in 2015 and was available in three different boxings. This kit continues that trend, with OBG releasing PZL 23A, B (early), B (late) and PZL 42 boxings. Here we have the early version of the PZL.23B. Inside the box are five sprues of light grey plastic, a single sprue of clear plastic, a set of photo etched detail parts and decals. The parts are all superbly moulded and I'd go as far as to say they look as good as anything from Japan. A quick review of the instructions reveals this to be a well-detailed kit, comparable to an Eduard product in places, although without the complex engineering that the Czech manufacturer is famous for.

 

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Constructions starts with the cockpit. Most of the details are moulded in plastic, but as you would expect the fret of photo etched parts contributes details such as the sight for the rear gunner's Vickers machine gun and some struts for the crew seats. The overall area is superbly detailed and even includes photo etched rudder pedals. The central part of the cockpit, including the bomb aimer's position, fixes to the central span of the lower wing, while the pilot and the rear gunner's positions fit inside the vertically split fuselage halves. Once the fuselage halves are fixed together, they can be joined to the wing. The upper cowling can also be fitted in place at this stage.

 

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Once the fuselage and wing are complete, the engine and the rest of the flying surfaces can be assembled. The Pegasus engine is nicely detailed and fits into the one-piece cowling behind the two-bladed propeller. The horizontal stabilisers and vertical tail are all moulded as solid parts, but are very nicely done. The gondola, which houses the combat position and lower-rear gun position for the bomb aimer, is a seperate sub-assembly which features a nice Vickers F gun with photo etched ring and bead sight. The main gear legs can be finished with partial or full streamlined fairings. Once in place, all that remains is to fit the exhaust pipe and bomb load. The correct mix of 100kg and 50kg bombs have been supplied. The canopy (and the rest of the clear parts are very well moulded, with crisp framelines. 

 

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The decal sheet provides just one option, for PZL. 23B Karas, 1st Production Series, 12 Reconnaissance Squadron, 1st Air Regiment. The decals are nicely printed and a smattering of stencils have been included too.

 

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Conclusion

 

Once again I have to congratulate IBG Models for producing a mainstream kit of an interesting and important, if not terribly well-known type. For those used to building limited run kits of types such as this, the fact that the kit is so nicely executed is a massive bonus. The level of detail is excellent and the quality of manufacture is up there with the best names in the business. Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of 


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