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Zvezda 1/72 scale Petlyakov Pe-8

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Kit: No. 7264
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Zvezda, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322,
Price: $34.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 276 parts, decals
Pros: Great subject and detail; fun build
Cons: Difficult fit of nose and nacelles
Issue Published: November 2008
Produced in small numbers during World War II, Petlyakov's Pe-8 was the Soviets' primary heavy bomber.

Zvezda's 1/72 scale release is the early- to mid-war version, with four in-line engines; later versions had radial or diesel engines. The 276 parts are well-molded and build into a model that's crammed with detail. The wheel-well and main-gear assemblies each comprise 14 perfect-fitting pieces.

Options include a posable bomb bay as well as multiple dorsal-fin fairings and fin caps (not shown in instructions). There's just one decal option, but the full-size aircraft doesn't appear to have had many marking variations.

The instructions are demanding. Wing and engine-assembly construction continues for 21 steps. Interior construction takes about 40 more steps.

Construction begins with the engines. The outer nacelles include spreaders to keep them open in the back. Test-fit these carefully; they are a bit too long, giving the nacelles a slightly raised edge when mounted to the wing. I trimmed the exhausts, leaving them off until the end of the build. The inner nacelles include gun positions at the rear - under the wing! The windows for these test-fitted fine, but they didn't fit as well after wing assembly. Flexing of the multipiece wing assembly may have disrupted alignment. I placed the mounts in the nacelle positions but left the guns off for painting.

The interior is good, but there is minimal sidewall detail. The window parts are well molded, fit well, and are clear enough. The only fit problem I had was with the nose. Otherwise, I used little filler during construction.

Be careful opening the optional windows and door - the plastic is very soft.

Bringing major subassemblies together was a snap, with wing spars adding alignment and strength. I didn't need any filler for the wings, fin, or stabilizers.

Masking all the windows on this massive airplane could be daunting. Eduard's mask set (No. CX215) made it easy, saving a lot of time and sanity.

I freehanded the three-color camouflage as well as the underside blue, then clear-coated in preparation for decals.

I handled the decals very carefully as they are fragile and crack with rough handling. But they are opaque, thin, and settle well into the surface detail.

After pulling off the masks and adding the last bits and pieces, the massive Soviet bomber was done.

The dimensions match my limited references, and the model looks like photos of the Pe-8. It took me more than 20 hours to build, mostly because of the part count and masking (although the Eduard set helped). I highly recommend this kit for ambitious modelers looking to build something out of the ordinary.

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