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Zvezda Ilyushin Il-76MD

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/144 scale plastic model aircraft kit
I have become a big fan of Zvezda’s 1/144 scale models, and its all-new-tool Il-76MD does not disappoint. The kit comprises 10 sprues with more than 200 parts molded in gray styrene and that weird, flexible clear.

Zvezda has really done a nice job with the moldings on this kit! I really liked the seamless intake ducts for the engines — no hard-to-hide to seams — and it’s an amazing job on the engraved panel lines, with super-fine engraving that’s consistent throughout the model.

You have several options when assembling the kit. There is a stand to display the model in flight, two sets of landing gear (allowing you to show the model in flight with the landing gear down and the struts uncompressed). On the real aircraft, when on the ground all the landing gear doors are closed for ground clearance. The kit has all the gear doors molded closed so there is no landing gear bay detail. You can also choose to have the flaps and leading-edge slats down or retracted, and a full interior allows you to show the cargo doors open and the ramp down. Decals, crisply printed and in perfect register, provide markings for three aircraft.

The model was a really fun build. Everything went together with little trouble. I only had to use a little bit of filler on the top fuselage seam and wing-to-fuselage joints. The clear parts fit almost perfectly, with a tiny gap on the lower front windscreen that was most likely my fault in not catching the gap before the glue set. (I use Tamiya extra fine cement for attaching clear parts. It wicks around the seams via capillary action, and dries fast and strong.)

Once I had all the construction steps completed, it was time to mask and paint my Il-76. I used Bare-Metal Foil to mask all those pesky small window panels for the cockpit and lower nose section. The white paint for the upper fuselage was GSI Creos Mr. Color; the wings and lower fuselage were painted with decanted Tamiya spray-can medium gray.

The decals performed perfectly! I used my trusty hair dryer to get them to settle over a few lumps and bumps.

I found building the Il-76MD thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend trying one of Zvezda’s new 1/144 scale aircraft kits! With their precise fit and outstanding detail, they will not disappoint you. I would recommend this kit to modelers with a little experience, though, due to the delicate nature of some of the smaller parts.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2018 issue.
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