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Arma Hobby PZL TS-11 Iskra “junior set”

The TS-11 Iskra is the main jet trainer for the Polish air force, entering service in 1964 and still flying today!

Arma Hobby has released a new injection-molded kit of the Iskra available in three different grades. This review is of the “junior” version, which is the most basic of the three, but still features plenty of detail, crisp moldings, and fine recessed panel lines. Clear parts are well done and the canopy framing is well defined, so masking and painting should pose no problems. Only one decal option is included. The upgraded versions include photo-etch and resin parts and a couple more decal options.

Assembly starts with the cockpit. Side consoles are molded in with the floor and have decent detail. I painted everything dark ghost gray as instructed, then picked out the consoles with flat black and dry-brushed the highlights. The twin stick and rudder controls are separate parts, as are the front and rear bulkheads. It’s noted in the instructions to sand a little off the circumference of the front bulkhead; it will prevent the fuselage halves from closing tightly if left undone. Interior ribbing on the fuselage sides was given a quick wash to bring out the details.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the halves fit together, requiring only a little sanding once the glue dried and rescribing of a few lines. I was also somewhat surprised that there is no well for the front landing gear, just a hollow nose. On the plus side, it does make it easier to add the nose weight.

When attaching to the upper wing, you will need to sand some of the thickness (.1mm) from the lower wing until it fits flush. Besides that, the rest of the parts fit flawlessly. Pitot tubes are molded into both ends of the upper wings, so you will need to be careful of them during the rest of the assembly. I found myself knocking into them several times throughout the build. Thankfully, I found they are fairly stout.

Joining the wings to the fuselage was simple and needed just a spot of filler. A few antennas need to be added to the bottom, but there weren’t any marks to indicate the correct locations. I just guesstimated their positions.

The landing gear is pretty well detailed, as are the main gear bays. I didn’t try, but it doesn’t appear that this can be built “wheels up” without quite a bit of rework on the gear doors.

The model was sprayed with Alclad II duralumin, the antiglare panel dark gray. I sanded the leading edge of the main canopy just a little to get it to close completely. The decals went on flawlessly with setting solutions.

This was my first experience with a Arma Hobby kit, and I’m impressed. It was a well-thought-out design with great fit and detail. I might just have to give one of the upgrade versions a try!

Note: A version of this review appeared in the January 2017 issue.

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