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IBG Models PZL.23A Karaś

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/72 scale plastic model aircraft kit
An all-new tool from IBG Models of Poland represents the PZL.23A Karaś, primary reconnaissance and light bomber of the Polish air force at the onset of World War II. Molded in light tan plastic, the parts feature fine recessed panel lines and excellent surface detail. Clear parts are thin with crisply molded framing that should aid in masking. A small fret of photo-etched (PE) parts complement the plastic details; a decal sheet with two marking options completes the inventory.

Instructions are excellent, with CAD renderings of the individual parts and assemblies clearly showing each of the 13 steps. Painting guidance is minimal, so try to find some good references. (I didn’t have much luck in that respect.)

Work starts with the interior parts, beginning with the rear gunner’s mount. The individual parts are all well done, but some are quite small and have no real positive locating points.

I drilled a small hole in the top of the machine gun to locate the tiny PE sight. The main floor comprises three pieces which took a little jigging to keep them aligned while the glue set. Most of the interior was painted khaki as instructed, with details picked out as I thought appropriate.

There is a decal for the instrument panel and two other panels, but no mention in the instructions as to placement. One appears to be for the box which mounts inside the canopy, and the other for the box mounted under Part B16. Make note! When assembling the box (radio?) to mount inside the canopy, make sure the open end of the box is down. I didn’t, and now you can see the open end through the canopy. The completed cockpit is well detailed right out of the box.

Construction of the wings is normal, with a full lower section and upper halves; fit is near perfect and trailing edges are nice and thin. The instructions would next have you attach the completed cockpit to the center section of the lower wing, then add the fuselage halves one side at a time. I chose the more conventional method of gluing the fuselage together, then inserting the cockpit, and had no trouble. There was a slight gap along the top of the wing-to-root join, but it was easily remedied by supporting the wingtips on some blocks and balancing a small weight on top of the fuselage, then flowing Tamiya thin cement into the joint.

There are a couple of options for the landing gear — completely faired or open — but no information is given for the open version, although that’s what is shown in the box art. I did need just a touch of filler on the seam after attaching the belly-gunner cupola. A small PE support for the tail skid and optional bombs complete the model.
Using Testors enamels, I painted aircraft gray underneath and Afrika khaki topside.

Decals went on well but were rather unresponsive to setting solutions and didn’t suck into the details as well as I would have liked.

The model matches published dimensions and is easy enough for a beginner who has built a few kits.

Part of what I like most about doing reviews is that I am introduced to subjects and manufacturers that I probably would have overlooked. I must admit this one isn’t something I would have given a second look — but that would have been a shame, because it’s really a gem of a kit. The fact that it’s probably not something you’ll see at many shows is pretty cool, too! I’m impressed with the quality and detail, and I really enjoyed the entire process. I know IBG has a PZL.37 medium bomber in the works, and I definitely will have to check it out!

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