Manufacturer: MPM, available from Squadron Mail Order, 1115 Crowley Drive, Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, 972-242-8663
Kit: No. TW02-007
Comments: Mixed media, 119 parts (95 injection-molded plastic, 24 resin), decals
Pros: Good resin parts, good interior detail, fine clear parts, excellent Cartograf decals
MPM's new kit is the first 1/48 scale injection-molded kit of the Pe-2FT. The Petlyakov Pe-2 was the Soviet Air Forces primary dive and light bomber during World War II. Production and service continued until the end of the war, with redundant machines handed over to the Warsaw Pact countries.
The kit's plastic parts have little flash but heavy sprue attachment points, typical of limited-run kits from the Czech Republic. The surface detail varies from good to rough with some ripples on the surface of the wings. The resin parts are well molded.
Following the well-illustrated instruction booklet, I installed the extensive interior detail. The kit contains numerous parts to detail the cockpit, and the forward and aft gun positions. The unique floorless cockpit with the rudder pedals on tubular mounts is well captured. All areas are defined by bulkheads which should be carefully test-fitted to ensure that the fuselage halves mate properly. The rear bulkhead (part No. A67) fit poorly.
Surprisingly, the instrument panels have no detail. I found instrument panel decals in my spares box and cut them to shape to match the panels. Despite the instruction diagrams, the fuselage windows fit better if installed from the inside. In contrast, the cockpit canopy and gun turret fit well to the fuselage.
My fuselage halves were slightly warped, bowing out at the tail. Since there are no alignment pins, assembling the fuselage is tricky. I started at the tail, gluing short sections of the upper and lower seams. By the time I got to the nose, the rear end was set, countering the warp. The upper deck (A46) fit poorly - it was too long and too narrow. Careful trimming, filling, and sanding were my only recourse.
The wing-mounted intake boxes (H33) prevent the wing halves from fitting together, so I had to sand them down. Also, the lower right wing panel left a large gap were it met the central panel. Gap-filling super glue was called into action again. The engine pods, which feature wheel-well detail and separate exhaust doors, went together well. The kit's exhaust stacks show individual stacks, but some photos of Pe-2s show tubular shrouds installed.
Test-fitting the engine pods to the wings revealed they weren't going on without a fight. The cutouts for the wings did not conform to the wing profile. Sanding would help, but I chose to install them as is and fill the gaps. The separate propeller blades have no locator keys, so you'll have to be careful setting the proper pitch.
I painted my Pe-2 with Gunze Sangyo acrylic paints. The beautifully printed decal sheet from Cartograf includes markings for three aircraft: WWII Soviet Air Force, postwar Czech Air Force, and postwar Polish Air Force.
My primary reference was the Russian publication Armada 13 Pe-2. I also found an ancient Profile (No. 216) useful. The kit matches within a few scale inches of the listed dimensions.
The rough fit was a challenge but extra work results in an accurate-looking Pe-2. I built my model in 24 hours. Experienced modelers should be able to handle the challenges, and if you are looking to fill out your Russian aircraft collection, this kit is for you!