VP Canada 1/72 IL-4/M-88B

KIT #: ?
PRICE: 10 Euro
DECALS: None supplied
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Vacuform kit with resin parts for one of three versions of the Il-4/DB-3, DB-3M, DB-3F and the final M88B



The DB-3M was a long-range bomber of 1938. It had a major structural redesign of the DB-3B of 1936, with a totally new, easily built airframe resulting into a completely changed appearance. It had a slim nose, streamlined and with a large glazed area, a swivel gun mounted to replace the nose turret. State acceptance trials were completed in June 1939 and by the end of the year the type was released for quantity production now known as DB-3F/Il-4. The redesignated Il-4 was delivered in quantity to the bomber regiments of the long-range air arm, the ADD.


By 1940 a total of 1,528 DB-3B, M and T had been produced. They played a major role in the war between Russia and Finland and in WWII, and took part in the 7th August raid on Berlin. The Il-4 remained in large-scale production until 1944, the number built reaching 5,256. The original M-87A engines and Vish-23 three-bladed propellers were now replaced by the more powerfulM-88B with a 2-speed supercharger. Most aircraft built in 1942 completed with wooden wings spars as a result of shortage of light alloys but metal components were re-introduced in late production machines.  The Il-4 was used for long range bombing and in attacks on tactical targets immediately behind enemy lines, carrying their maximum bomb load. The Il-4 came to be used widely by the mine/torpedo bomber regiment attached to the Baltic, Black Sea and Northern Fleets when deployed in a torpedo-carrying role. There was also provision for an auxiliary fuel tank mounted under the rear fuselage. The Il-4 was a robust successful aircraft. A number surviving to be used in a variety of support roles in post war period earning the Nato code name Bob.


Three Il-4s 3-seat long range bombers purchased from Germany war booty stores were used by the Finn Air Force against the Soviet forces from late 1943 until February 1945. With the Russian air arm, from 1942 the DB-3M was used mainly as a trainer, transport and glider-tug, leaving in first-line service the improved DB-3F/Il-4, in which the structure had in 1939 been completely modernised and the nose shape was refined and the normal engines became the 1,100 HP M-88B with tapered cowlings. The original flat-topped turret was generally superseded by the UBT machine gun. The maximum bomb load was 5,950 lbs, with the normal internal load 2,205 lbs. One 2.027 torpedo could be carried externally along with one 88 gallon fuel tank behind it, or two centre line 88 gallon tanks. The Il-4 was the main tug for the An-7 glider and after the war many were used for photo and geophysical survey.




The kit contains 50 vac form pieces moulded in white plastic. There are also clear vac form parts for turrets and a glazed nose suitable for all the different variants on offer. There are green resin items to cover much of the interior details, wheels, legs and a cockpit office. A good 1/72-scale plan comes printed on one side of 2-page yellow instruction sheet, A4 size. On the other side there is an exploded view and colour notes for the Russian versions.



Once it is decided what version is to be built then a sequence of assembly is adopted starting with the interior of the cabin seat arrangement and bomb aimer positioned in the glazed nose. Due to its detail parts that come with the kit, it was once much sought after until a Revell model appeared on the market in the injected form. Still once assembled it is turned into a beautiful true replica of a medium bomber from the Great Patriotic war and certainly a welcome addition to the realms of aircraft modeling. Parts are first scored with a sharp pointed blade, cut and sanded down to the required section. The clean moldings of the kit parts also come with a reasonable amount of raised panel lines. The fuselage is broken at the front so that the selected nose version is fixed in place. The Il-4 has a full nose made in clear acetate so that one can paint around the nose glazing and window ports. Nose interior was assembled and care was needed to make complete assembly of the front area.


The kit instructions contain no stages that can be followed and it is up to the modeller to go about a sequence of assembly, which is typical of a vac form kit. The cockpit interior has two seats placed in tandem so that one seat is right in the glazed nose section. There are two control sticks, two sets of pedals and front and side instruments containing throttle and trim wheels fixed to the side of cockpit walls. A detailed drawing of the instrument panel makes good reference to produce one hand painted on a blank piece of plastic cut to shape from the backing acetate. The kit gives no section bulkheads, which can indicate to what extend one, can sand down the fuselage parts but a set of outside callipers was all that was needed to check for the required widths and sections at different stations. The main wings and tail planes were a straight forward job and mating them to the fuselage by bat joining them at the right level went without a hitch, all the way making reference to the scale plans.


The assembled engine cowlings almost totally conceal the detail radial engine cylinders. Two one-piece three bladed propellers are in resin and I painted these black. I decided to assemble the wing with the flaps lowered by cutting them at their correct panel lines and fix them at an angle. I have decided to make my Il-4 in Finn AF markings. Adding an under fuselage fuel tank to represent a long-range bomber. A long horizontal aerial that is fixed on 5 short stabs should go on the port side of the fuselage as opposed to the one shown on the kit instructions which appear on the starboard side.



 The completed model was given a light grey coat at intersections and joining lines and any imperfections attended to and all the aerials and surface detail added in place. The aircraft was camouflaged in splinter type camouflage in medium green and black upper and light blue grey underside and a yellow band around the rear fuselage and in each case using Humbrol brand of enamel. Finn AF decals of the correct size and serial number came from my spare decal box. Finished model was given a coat of semi gloss Model Master lacquer. Interior of flaps and wheel hubs were painted bright green. All exhaust stains were fine airbrushed in engine grey.



Making this model made me enjoy every minute of it and my only concern was painting the nose and ensuring to hide the seam on the nose clear pieces. There was only one way to do it. I opened an oval window at the top of nose and another rectangular one at the nose base. These I filled with Kristal Klear and in doing so eliminated the awkward seams completely.

Carmel J. Attard

May 2011

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