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Zvezda’s Petlyakov Pe-2

The moment I opened the box, I fell in love with Zvezda’s 1/48 scale Pe-2. It was also obvious it was going to be a project, not because Zvezda’s kit is bad but because it has 435 parts.

The major parts show amazing surface detail, including recessed panel lines and rivets that look true to scale.

The kit provides a few construction options, including gear up/in-flight (although no stand is provided) or gear down. One complete Klimov M-105 V12 engine is provided and can be displayed with the cowl panels off of one nacelle.
That’s where construction starts. If you build it with the engine closed up, you can save yourself eight steps and 44 parts. The engine has a lot of detail. All of the plumbing and hoses are there; the only things missing are spark-plug wires.

The wing halves sandwich four oil cooler intakes with finely molded screens. The separate leading edges don’t fit just right, and cleaning the seams will damage the fine surface detail.

Seven pieces comprise the landing gear struts and fit flawlessly. The exquisitely molded tires include sidewall labels.

Looking into the wheel wells reveals the aft end of the engines with plumbing and hoses. The kit provides this detail for both nacelles, even if you omit the full engine.

Attaching the nacelles revealed a small gap underneath that was easily eliminated with a little putty.

If you choose to build the exposed engine, the instructions have you mount it to the wing before attaching the wing to the fuselage. I recommend leaving it off until final assembly, because the attachment points are delicate.

Zvezda provides full interior detail front to back, including individual rudder pedals, push rods for the controls, throttles, mixture and propeller controls, trim wheels, seats, ammunition cans, guns, radios, and a lot more. I don’t think they missed a thing. Two instrument panels are provided, a smooth part designed for decal dials, and one with molded detail. I applied the decals to the latter without problems. The instructions omitted color callouts for some parts. Two finely molded figures are provided.

The fuselage closed around all of the interior parts perfectly. The horizontal stabilizers were next and looked like they were molded with the fuselage without filler. Awesome fit!

The clear parts are detailed but a little cloudy; a dip in Pledge FloorCare Multi-Surface Finish improved their clarity.
Decals provide marking for three Soviet aircraft: one from the 12th Guards Dive-bomber Aviation Regiment, 1944; one from the 40th Bomber Regiment, 2nd Squadron, Black Sea, 1944; and finally, an aircraft of the 34th Guards Red Banner Regiment, 276th Bomb Group, 1945. I chose the first, and the decals laid down beautifully. But the registration wasn’t quite perfect and Microscale Micro Sol caused some of the ink to run.

Zvezda’s Pe-2 is the most comprehensive aircraft model I’ve ever built. Aftermarket details would be redundant; about the only things it needs are seat belts and a wiring harness for the engine.
Other than the off-register decals and a mildly warped canopy, it’s trouble-free. I recommend the Pe-2 to anyone, and I plan to add more Zvezda kits to my inventory.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2016 issue.
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