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Tu-22 backfire

18 Jul
2012

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Kit: Tupolev Tu-22B ‘Blinder’ Scale: 1:72

Kit type: Injection moulded Decal options: (five) Libyan air force, Okba Ben Nafi, 1977 and 1980, choice of Libyan or Egyptian national markings; Iraqi air force, Al-Walid, 1983; ‘Red 61’ and ‘Red 19’, Soviet air force, 341st DBAP, Ozyornoye, 1988

UK price: £19.99 Website: www. revell. de

When I received this Revell re-release of the old Esci Tu-22 ‘Blinder’ my first thought was, ‘Wow, what a blast from the past!’ I first built this kit as a teenager in the late 1980s
I opened the box as soon as I got the kit home and it was like meeting an old friend, since I remembered how much I had enjoyed building the model maybe 2years ago. Inside the box is a large amount of plastic, four sprues of pale grey parts and one for the transparencies. All the parts are very cleanly moulded, given the kit’s age, and the detail is in the form of recessed panel lines. The instructions are in Revell’s usual fashion, line drawn and easy to follow. However, the paint colours are still called out as Revell paint numbers, often as mixes. Even a Federal Standard reference would be nice.
The decals contain five sets of markings, two Soviet, one Iraqi, which is the one I chose to model, and two Libyan. The Soviet aircraft are both of DBAP at Ozyornoye air base in 1988, finished in aluminium and white and with dragon nose art. The Libyan and Iraqi aircraft are all finished with green/brown uppersurfaces and blue undersurfaces, with the Libyan aircraft having the option of two styles of national insignia.
Before I started the build and knowing little about the type, I decided to do a search on the internet. This turned up quite a lot of good pictures of Soviet machines, but only a couple of poor pictures of Libyan aircraft and no Iraqi machines! Therefore, at this point I was all set to model a Soviet machine and I started to cut plastic.
Construction of the model is very straightforward. The fit of all the parts is generally very good, with only a little filler being required here and there. The general detail is very simple, being only a vague representation of what the real thing might look like, which initially didn’t bother me too much since I could add minor details to the model. However, as the build progressed it became apparent that the kit has some very big aroblems which make it quite naccurate and beyond simple ‘ectification.
I am not going to go into the inaccuracies since it would make for boring reading, but now knowing that the model was never going to be more than a likeness of the real thing I changed my plans a little. The decision was made to build it straight out of the box and finish it as an Iraqi machine. This was the one I had no information on, but its camouflage is very disruptive and went some way to distract from the outline inaccuracies.
Since there are no exact paint references given I guessed on the colours. I painted the uppersurfaces USAAF Olive Drab and RAF Middle Stone, and the undersurfaces Luftwaffe RLM65. The paint was applied by airbrush and masking was done with Blue Tac ‘sausages’ and paper masking tape. I then painted small areas of Klear floor polish where the decals were to be applied and used the Mr Hobby decal setting system, which worked brilliantly. The undercarriage and its bays were painted with Humbrol No. 56 aluminium and dry brushed with Humbrol No. 11 silver. The model and its panel lines were then weathered with ground up pencil graphite gently applied with a cotton bud, and all was sealed in with an airbrushed coat of Poly Scale matt varnish.
In summing up this build I conclude that the designers of the kit – back in the 1980s – had probably never been anywhere near a Tu-22. It was designed before the days of the internet, or even the collapse of the Iron Curtain and so they would have had much less information available than we have today. With that in mind it wasn’t a bad effort by Esci.
Today, however, it doesn’t live up to expectations. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this build and it is good to see Revell and some of the other senior kit manufacturers releasing these classic products on a regular basis. As such, I have no hesitation in recommending it to all levels of modeller.

Connected themes: museum aircraft, scale rc model airplanes, scale airplane, Tu-22 backfire, wood model kits, airplane plans, building scale model aircraft.

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