Zvezda 1/72 Petlyakov Pe-8 Soviet Bomber Build Review

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Kit: Zvezda No. 7264 1/72 Petlyakov Pe-8 [Tupolev TB-7] Soviet Bomber

Price: £24.99, available from Hannants UK

Decals: One Option

Reviewer: Richard Reynolds

Notes: Eduard 1/72 scale mask CX215 for Pe-8 used at £5.99 from Hannants UK.

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History

The development and combat history of the Petlyakov Pe-8 can be seen in the previous article on this website by clicking on the picture below:

Petlyakov Pe-8 Soviet Heavy Bomber.
Petlyakov Pe-8 Soviet Heavy Bomber.

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The Kit:

When the box for this kit came in the post, I was astonished at its size. I knew that the Pe-8 was big, but this was impressive. The box is also beautifully illustrated, is made from strong good quality cardboard and is in the ‘flip-top’ opening style, which makes a project of this scope much easier to manage, as the parts can be stored in the box with the lid open where they can be easily accessed.

This was my first Zvezda kit and I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed at a box full of quality parts. The kit comprises seven large frets in grey injection moulded plastic and one fret of clear parts. Also included are the decal sheet and a 12 page black and white instruction booklet with 54 easy to follow steps. The moulds are crisp and clean with fine recessed panel lines and the initial dry fit of the fuselage and wings indicated that this kit would go together accurately without any major concerns.

 

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Construction:

The parts were carefully washed in a weak warm soapy solution to remove the mould release. Once dry, the contents were primed with grey auto primer from a rattle can. The build began with the AM-35A engines. An unusual feature of this aircraft is the addition of two 12.7-millimeter (0.50 in) Berezin UBT machine guns in the ShU barbettes in the inner engine nacelles. Construction of the four engines is straight forward, the fit is excellent and the process ends at step 13 of the instruction booklet.

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Stages 14 to 21 deal with the construction of the wings. To give you an idea of the scale of these units they represent 39 metres in span compared to the B-17G which is 31.62 metres. The wheel bays are well detailed with cross bracings and rib frames. The upper and lower halves of the wings were glued, taped and left overnight to dry. Once dry, the four engine units were added to the wings which were fitted without the need for any filler. The wings were then set to one side whilst the undercarriage was painted using Humbrol 129 grey (this included the wheel hubs). The large main-wheels were easy to paint, however, masks are provided for the hubs in Eduard’s Pe-8 mask set.

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The only slightly challenging aspect of this kit was the assembly of the four-piece undercarriage. Just a little care and concentration was required and once this sub-section had been completed, the wheel-well doors were glued into position.

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Sections 23 to 48 deal with the interior construction of the Pe-8. Zvezda’s kit is well furnished with an engineer’s station, navigators table, bulkheads which include windows above the bulkhead access doors and a well detailed cockpit. The pilot and co-pilot are seated in a tandem configuration, which adds further interest to this fascinating aircraft.

The Petlyakov Pe-8’s defensive armament consists of a retractable ShVAK in the MV-6 dorsal turret, another ShVAK in a KEB tail turret, twin ShVAKs in the nose turret and as mentioned earlier, two 12.7-millimeter (0.50 in) Berezin UBT machine guns in each ShU barbette in the inner engine nacelles. The turrets were masked with Eduard’s Pe-8 mask set and the gun positions were assembled as per sections 23 to 32 of the instructions, and then left to one side to be added later in the build process.

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Section 33 deals with the preparation of the fuselage halves. Once the interior had been airbrushed, in this case with Humbrol Hu33 Black, the clear windows were fitted and the window to the rear of the passenger door was cut-out using a hobby knife. This procedure is clearly shown in sections 33 and 34.

Once all of the interior sub-assemblies had been constructed, they were attached to the fuselage floor and the integrated main-spars and then glued into position into one of the fuselage halves. The tail-plane main-spar was added together with the tail-wheel and the fuselage halves were then glued together, taped and left overnight to dry.

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Next, the dorsal turret and fairing was fitted as well as the two-piece canopy, tail cap and pre-assembled horizontal tail surfaces. This was followed by fitting the nose and tail gun positions before the wings were attached. After the kit had dried, a small amount of filler was added around the engine nacelles and the seams were rubbed down using 600 grit wet and dry paper.

I decided to build the FAB 5000Kg Bomb, displayed with the undercarriage doors open. Alternatively the FAB 2000 NG bomb can be used giving the modeller the choice of two massive munitions that this impressive aircraft carried.

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Two 12.7-millimeter (0.50 in) Berezin UBT machine guns are located in each ShU barbette to the rear of the inner engine nacelles.

 

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Camouflage and Markings:

After researching the combat history of the Petlyakov Pe-8, I wanted to build one of the aircraft that took part in the raids against Helsinki, Tallinn and Pskov in 1944. The camouflage scheme was simple but looked effective. From 1943 onwards the Soviet Long-Distance Bomb Group Regiment (Russian: Avia Polk Dahl’nevo Deystviya—APDD) began adopting deep black ‘noch’ undersurface camouflage intended for night operations, with the upper-surfaces a combination of deep black and Soviet VVS ‘All Dark Green’.

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The airframe was airbrushed with Humbrol Hu33 black before being masked off in preparation for the distinctive (White Ensign Models WEMCC ACS18) WW2 Soviet VVS all Dark Green. The decals were then applied using micro-set and micro-sol decal setting solutions. This particular Petlyakov Pe-8 represents ‘Red 8’ of the 45th Division of the Long-Distance Bomb Group Regiment (APDD). This machine is unusual in that it includes upper-wing stars, which were rare on ‘noch’ or night Bombers.

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Final Construction:

The final stage of construction involved adding the propellers and spinners, aerials and aerial wires, before a final coat of Johnson’s Klear was applied to seal in the decals.

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Conclusion:

This kit surpassed all of my expectations. It represents excellent value for money, it is beautifully detailed and it provides the modeler the opportunity to build Soviet ‘Heavy Metal’ from the World War 2 era which is usually the preserve of the post-war age. As for Zvezda, I cannot recommend them enough. I am looking forward to building their Ilyushin Il-4T Torpedo Bomber. I am definitely a convert.

Highly recommended.

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Gallery

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Richard Reynolds.

References:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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