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SB 2M-100 ‘Katiushka’ Spanish Air Force Bomber

4 Apr

SB 2M-100 'Katiushka' Spanish Air Force Bomber,boeing model

Scale: 1:72

Kit type: Injection moulded Decal options: (four) No. 5, 12 Grupo, 1937, No. 46, Barajas, 1938 and No. 1, Grupo 24, 1937, all Spanish Republican air force; and 20W+I, Spanish Nationalist air force, Logrono, 1940 UK price: £10.99 

When the Tupolev SB 2 first flew in 1934 it marked quite an advance, not just in Soviet, but in world aircraft design. Its mid-wing monoplane layout, smooth alloy skin and retractable undercarriage all added up the justify the aircraft its initials Sb – Skorstnoy Bombardirovshchik, or HighSpeed Bomber. By 1937 the first production aircraft fitted with the M-100 engines and capable of achieving 263 mph (423 km/h) were entering service. The SB 2 made its combat debut during the Spanish Civil War. Operated by the Republicans it was nicknamed ‘Katiushka’ and ‘Martin Bomber’ by the Nationalist forces.

The product reviewed here is one of three versions of this kit released to date by the Ukrainian company ICM. It contains parts and decals for four Spanish options for both the Republican and Nationalist forces. It represents a welcome choice of subject by ICM since previous kits by FROG and MPM both have issues with quality and accuracy. The ICM kit comprises a surprising 164 parts on six grey plastic sprues. Surface detail is comprehensive and very fine, although a little flash is present on some parts. The clear sprue has several different canopy options and is thin and acceptably transparent. The small decal sheet carries four options, three Spanish Republican and one captured Nationalist aircraft. The instructions give clear and precise assembly diagrams and reference is made to Model Master paints for cockpit colours, etc. Before any assembly can begin excessive mould release oil has to be washed from all the plastic items.

Surprisingly for such a small aircraft, the fuselage is broken down into three sections. This, I believe, is due to moulding limitations. The wing centresection assembles first. The open bomb bay is well detailed and several bomb load options are provided. There is also plenty of internal structure provided in the undercarriage bays. The nose compartment for the navigators is well furnished and fits nicely onto the completed centresection, as does the rear fuselage. The rear gunner’s position is very well detailed. The outer wings are assembled next and these slot onto spars which give a good joint. The last major items are the engines. Care is required to achieve a decent fit with these since each comprises six parts and they must be correctly aligned or you will have problems attaching them to the wings. All the control surfaces are separate so that you can offset them if desired. Finally, the transparencies were fitted and the model was prepared for painting. I substituted Xtracolor and Humbrol paints for those given in the detailed camouflage guide. Markings are provided for the three Republican aircraft in green and brown mottled camouflage with red identification bands, green and brown disruptive camouflage and sandy brown upper camouflage, respectively, and for the Nationalist machine in green, brown and grey splinter camouflage.

SB 2M-100 'Katiushka' Spanish Air Force Bomber,ducted fan rc airplane

I enjoyed making this model. It is accurate, the level of detail is very good and if care is taken the many sub-assemblies come together to give a nice representation of the SB 2. This is another good offering from ICM and I hope more versions will follow in the future.

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