It was the Soviet Union that broke the back of Nazi Germany. Sure, the Allied campaigns in North Africa and Western Europe doubtless sped the fall, but by the time the Allies waded ashore on D-Day, the tide had already swung inexorably in the Soviets’ favor.
Perhaps it’s a product of the West’s self-centeredness. Or some lingering effect of the Cold War. But for their massive contribution to winning the war in the east, the aircraft of the Soviet VVS are criminally underrepresented in the modeling world. In 1/48 scale, I think I could probably name all of the kits offered, which I can’t claim for any other major combatant.
When I first got back into modeling two years ago, it appeared that things might be shifting. Zvezda had recently launched their stunning Lavochkin La-5FN, and followed it up with an arguably better La-5, the fighter that proved a match for the vaunted Fw 190. But then they wandered off and made a Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2, and they have yet to return to VVS subjects in 1/48.
But this year, out of nowhere, things seems like they might be shifting.
1/48 Tamiya Ilyushin Il-2M3 Shturmovik
Tamiya, as usual, appears to be leading the way, with a new-tool Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik. At first it seems like an odd choice – Accurate Miniatures, after all, boxed several Il-2 kits somewhat recently, and despite some flaws, the AM Il-2s still command a pretty solid reputation. But the Il-2 is also far and away the most broadly-known Soviet aircraft of World War II, and as with their 1/48 P-47 and 1/32 P-51, Tamiya doubtless saw an opportunity to take a subject with decent representation in a scale and just blow it out of the water.
Based on the early reviews – such as this from Brett Green – the Tamiya Shturmovik is another masterpiece of detail and engineering.
Stay tuned for my own review of the Il-2 at some point in the near(ish) future, along with the bevy of photo-etch Eduard is rolling out for this workhorse of the Motherland.