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Roden 1/72 scale Antonov An-12BK "Cub"

Kit: No. 042
Scale: 1/72

Manufacturer: Roden, available from Squadron Mail Order, 1115 Crowley Drive, Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, 972-242-8663, www.squadron.com
Price: $49.98
Comments: Injection-molded, 289 parts, decals
Pros: Fine detail inside and out, interesting subject, well-printed decals
Cons: Below-average fit, too many parts for subassemblies, landing gear is weak, decals are brittle, slightly oversized dimensions
Derived from the Antonov An-10 commercial transport, the An-12 "Cub" has been a workhorse of the Soviet/Russian transport force since 1958. Considering the Cub's capability of operating from small rough airfields, this aircraft has been unofficially labeled the Soviet Hercules, a salute to the Lockheed C-130. In addition to military usage, many civilian air carriers also depend on the cargo capacity of the An-12.

Roden has introduced the most recent version of the Cub, the An-12BK. The kit comes with 289 parts molded in light gray plastic and has recessed panel lines. Parts cleanup is a must, thanks to all the ejector-pin marks and some flash. However, the plastic is soft, so sanding and rescribing panel lines is easy.

The kit is overly complex, with subassemblies having more parts than necessary. You'll find individual prop blades, tiny hubcaps on the landing gear wheels, and a forward boarding ladder with eight individual steps. There are 26 two-part seats for the cabin interior. You won't see them unless you leave the rear loading hatch open. I reduced my building time by leaving them out. If you decide to leave the loading hatch open, you'll be able to see the fine detail Roden has molded into the cargo hold's bulkheads, floors, and ceiling. The cockpit is well-detailed, too.

The 12-page illustrated instruction sheet provides a brief aircraft history, a parts map, a color key for a variety of modeling paints, a 26-step assembly guide, and decaling and painting instructions for four Soviet and one Ukrainian An-12. Most of the steps in the early pages of the instructions focus on building subassemblies. For example, the landing gear bogies are assembled in steps one through four but are installed in step 24. I suppose it gives time for the glue to set before installing the subassemblies, but the order seems awkward.

The fit of the parts was fair - I had to fill a lot of seams. The cockpit interior was a little too big for a good fit of the fuselage halves at the front end. You have to add weights to the model to make it sit on its landing gear, but this is not indicated in the instructions. The landing gear seems too frail to support the model, let alone added weight.

Even though they were more complicated, the individual prop blades allow the modeler to set any pitch desired. The spinners and blades fit so well that I didn't need glue to hold them together.

The paint guide is excellent. It suggests overall RAF medium sea grey, but I substituted FS 36440 light gull gray for my model - a little too light compared with photos in World Air Power Journal Vol. 27 (Winter 1996).

My sample's decals were printed in register with accurate colors. Unfortunately, they were thin, brittle, and did not react at all to Solvaset. However, even with all of the tiny stencils, applying the decals didn't take long. When the decals were dry, I applied a wash of neutral gray "sludge" to accentuate the recessed panel lines.

Roden certainly captured the outlines of an An-12, including its tell-tale drooping outer wing panels. According to my scale references in Bill Gunston's Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft, the span measured 1/2" too long and the length was more than 1" too long. Still, it looks right when finished.

It took me 35 hours to finish my Cub, with most of the time spent sanding and rescribing panel lines because of the fit. Modelers with intermediate-level skills should be able to handle this kit. Anyone who wishes to expand their Soviet aircraft or military transport collections will definitely enjoy this kit.

David P. Anderson

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