TU-134UBL “Crusty-b”,Zvezda 1/144

TU-134UBL (Crusty-B) is a trainer aircraft produced in early 1980s, and it was based on very successful passenger twin-engine jet TU-134. This plane is specific due to its cockpit construction, which is identical to the one of TU-22M and TU-160 bombers, while its hull and engines are those of TU-134. It is used as a trainer aircraft for the crews of the said bombers, as well as to train navigators and pilots. Zvezda planned this model rather nicely which resulted in the nice overall result in the end. The base and larger portion of this model are parts from the venerable TU-134 kit, while the front of the fuselage and cockpit are completely new parts. The window count on the fuselage is also reduced. Panel lines are rather fine, albeit perhaps a bit on the small side, but this is 1/144 scale nonetheless. There are 60 or so parts in total in the box, decals and three paint and marking schemes. The one that stands out is the naval version named “Black Pearl”. This plane is not seen that often, which makes the model even more interesting. Painting codes are according to Zvezda and Tamiya. As it was the case up to now, all the detail, instruction sheet and the most important issues will be addressed with photos and during the build process. The model is highly recommended. We would like to thank Zvezda for providing us with this sample.

MIL-24V/VP Zvezda 1/48

Long announced and awaited Zvezda model of one of the most beautiful and most powerful helicopters of today is finally in front of us. Let me start from beginning. Big and sturdy box protects 318 pieces of grey styrene. Box art should represent historical event from December 1979, when an airborne battalion of the Soviet Army, thanks to superb tactical maneuver, took control over Salang pass and undetected by the enemy entered Afghanistan without losses. This is Soviet ground attack helicopter that can be used for a small scale transport operations as well. The Mi-24 was developed in the late ‘60-ies. It is used in many armies around the world, while the first combat use was in Soviet Army during the war in Afghanistan. There were numerous modifications and upgrades done on this helicopter, resulting in many versions. Some of them are given in this box.
Upon first inspection everything looks impressive. Big box, big model, because 1/48 is just the right scale for this model. 1/72 looks to small, whereas 1/32 is too big.
From the modeler’s point of view, everything is done in high quality, without “flash” around parts and with crisp panel lines. There are no rivets however, but the model looks rather nice even without them. There is an impression that Zvezda left a lot of room for additional aftermarket parts, especially in cockpit. The instruction sheet shows use of decals for cockpit interior. As mentioned before, there are two versions that can be built, Mi-24V and Mi-24V/P.
Painting and marking scheme shows four different types of helicopter. Of course, the most interesting one is from Afghanistan, Bagram Air Base 1988. Decals look good, even the separate sheet with stencils.
Conclusion is that this Zvezda model of Mi-24 Hind in 1/48 scale is, for now, the best model in this scale available on the market. I have tried to use photos to bring you the full impressions of the parts, instructions and decals, while the end opinion will be given when we start building the mode. As before, the whole WIP phase will be shown on our Club’s Facebook page.
I would like to recommend this new model to all modelers and in my opinion Zvezda made the right move with this model.
We would like to thank Zvezda for providing us with this sample.