In-Box Review
Ilyushin Il-10
Ilyushin Il-10
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Despite the fearsome reputation of the Il-2 Sturmovik on the Eastern Front, as early as 1943 the VVS began to actively seek a more modern replacement. Sukhoi and Ilyushin submitted three proposals, the Su-6, Il-8 and Il-10, the latter being chosen despite some sources deeming Sukhoi's entry superior in competitive trials.

Looking very much like a cleaned-up Sturmovik, the Il-10 was in fact a totally new design, much more compact and considerably faster. Deliveries began to training units in October 1944 and the type entered operational service the following January. Il-10s participated in the final push into Germany and the subsequent attack against Japanese forces in the Far East, going on to become the standard Soviet ground attack aircraft until the mid '50s. Il-10s were supplied throughout the Warsaw pact and were used with considerable initial success by communist forces in the Korean War. The Il-10 was also produced under licence in Czechoslovakia as the Avia B-33, not fully retiring until the early 1960s.

In plastic
As the quality of Special Hobby kits has risen steadily over the years, it's inevitable that modellers' expectations would increase accordingly – perhaps unrealistically at times. The release of their 1:48 Avia B.33 (Czech-built Il-10) last year served as something of a reminder that these are limited run kits that can't match the "majors" for precision. If the model had appeared 10 years ago, it would probably have been hailed as little short of miraculous – as it was, the reception in some quarters ranged between frosty and downright hostile.

Perhaps that's one reason that the follow-up Il-10 has taken a little while to appear. Not having had a chance to examine the original kit, I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about. But first, back to basics…

Special Hobby's Il-10 is well presented in a good quality conventional box. All the sprues and accessories are bagged separately, and an etched part is sealed in on the reverse side of the decal sheet. The kit comprises:
96 x grey styrene parts ( 22 spare)
9 x clear styrene parts
26 x beige resin parts
80 x etched brass parts, plus printed film for the instrument faces
Decals for 4 x colour schemes

The parts in the sample kit are cleanly moulded with no real problem with flash. I found a couple of small sink marks, and there are a few ejector pin marks to take care of but, generally, clean-up should be pretty quick for a short-run kit. The surface finish varies – mostly satin-smooth, but very shiny on areas such as the nose. A quick overall polish won't go amiss to deal with a few small blemishes and scuff marks. The panel line detailing is very nicely done indeed, with delicate engraving and lightly embossed rivets and fasteners. Fabric surfaces are always a strongpoint of Special Hobby kits and the Il-10 is no exception, with a very nice subtle effect that should look great painted.

Test Fit
Two areas came in for particular criticism in the first release – the fuselage and the wings.

As was discovered when modellers began building the Avia B-33 version, the two fuselage halves are slightly different lengths. Looking at the current sample, a first I couldn't see what all the fuss was about; the panel lines all match up on the nose and, with a little help, so do those on the rear fuselage. The problem is, in doing that, the whole fuselage curves to starboard. OK, try again, starting at the tail this time… same result. Relax everything and the fuselage is straight, but the starboard half is shorter than the port one. The difference is only 1mm or so, but left uncorrected, it throws the tailplanes out of alignment (and the trailing edge of the wingroot to a lesser extent) if you line up the nose, or the exhausts if you start at the tail.

Scaling down the quoted dimensions from the instructions, the starboard half seems to be almost exactly the correct length. The disparity seems to occur in the cockpit area, which is a really awkward place to do any surgery as it will mess up the wing roots. I think the "simplest" place to make a correction is at the panel line immediately ahead of the tail section, taking out a thin slice of the port half. This will mean minimal rescribing and minor reshaping of the port wing root fillet.

Turning to the rest of the model, the wings in the sample kit are no problem at all. They are moulded nice and straight and just need the trailing edges thinning for a better appearance. The wingroots are a good match for the aerofoil, but the full-span lower section is an extremely tight fit as moulded, so some filing and filling are going to be needed. The tailplanes are pretty good – the chord and airfoil match nicely, just requiring a touch of work to get the best fit.

A few details
The cockpit is quite nice and busy, with over 60 parts in a mix of mainly styrene, with etched and resin details. The main instrument panel is excellent with multi-layered metal with film inserts for the instruments, so it's slightly surprising that a similar fascia for the side console isn't provided. A nice set of harnesses are included for the pilot, along with a sling-seat for the gunner. One of the highlights must surely be the resin gun for the rear cockpit, which is beautifully modelled and cast.

The inside of the canopy is detailed with tiny etched grab handles, but many modellers will be disappointed that it's moulded firmly closed, so much of the interior detail will be hidden. Still, it's nice and clear, with crisply defined framing.

The wings feature boxed-in bomb-bays and wheel wells. If previous short-run kits are anything to go by, be prepared to do a bit of work making sure they don't interfere with the fit of the wing panels. The main undercarriage looks straightforward with sturdy gear legs and extremely well detailed wheels (the hubs and tyres are outstanding). The tailwheel is again quite nice, but where to attach it is vague to say the least. The info-view provided shows the gear-leg only touching the lip of its well, so I'll definitely add an internal mount for a stronger joint.

4 x bombs are provided, each comprising a styrene body with etched brass tail fins. I found a small sink mark on one bomb-half, but the overall effect with the delicate fins should look very good. The brass fret comes into play again for the exterior of the wings, since the original engraved panel lines are for the B-33 variant. Therefore these must be filled and new etched access panels applied. Obviously, the original kit's detailing was flush with the wing surface, but the metal is quite thin and flexible, so the new panels shouldn't sit too proud, and may actually add to the beefy look of the airframe.

The propeller features separate blades with locating pins to ensure they are set at the correct pitch on the backing plate. The spinner is cleanly moulded with a fitting for an external starter and looks a good fit to the nose.

Instructions & Decals
The instructions are clearly illustrated as a 2-page A-5 booklet, with the construction broken down into 18 stages. The sequence is logical and Gunze Sangyo paint matches are keyed to most details.

Decals are provided for 4 colour schemes, illustrated in black & white in the instructions. Colour versions of the diagrams are available online:
A. Il-10, "White 2", unknown unit, VVS, 1945.
B. Il-10, "Blue 6/Red 18", unknown unit, VVS, 1945.
C. Il-10, 108th Guards Assault Aviation Regiment, VVS, 1945.
D. Il-10, "Red 1", probably 2nd Assault Aviation Regiment, VVS, 1950.

The decals are beautifully printed in perfect register by Aviprint.

Special Hobby's Il-10 looks quite a challenging kit due to the problem with the fuselage. Modellers used to earlier short-run kits will probably take this in their stride as just part of what you sign up for in such kits, but I less experienced builders are likely to struggle to get a neat result. Overall though, I'd say it'll definitely be worth the effort, and the Il-10 is guaranteed to stand out in a collection of the more common Sturmoviks, particularly in its wartime camouflage, which I have to admit I find far more appealing than the post-war schemes for the B.33.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Cleanly moulded and well detailed. Excellent resin and etched accessories, and high quality decals.
Lows: The fuselage halves are slightly mis-matched, meaning a bit of surgery is needed.
Verdict: Special Hobby's Il-10 will be a challenging build, unsuitable for beginners, but ultimately rewarding for modellers with experience of short-run kits.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: SH48109
  Suggested Retail: 40.50 EUR
  PUBLISHED: Dec 16, 2010

Our Thanks to MPM Production!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


I agree with Warren - the 2 fuselage halves don't match (nor are the same length!) and yet it still gets 75% and an overall "recommended"? You should not have to pay this sort of money for a newly tooled kit and then start deciding which parts of it you need to chop up and insert plugs etc. just to get it right. Surely that was the design team's job? Remaining on that topic, I can't believe no one at the company test built the kit before release and having done so, they clearly thought "Oh well.....it will just have to do." That is quite an arrogant and breath-taking attitude to adopt to your potential customer base; especially given our access to sites such as this and others on the net. There are far too many great kits (and so little time) to even consider buying a kit that has clearly been seriously bodged. Gary
DEC 19, 2010 - 08:32 AM
Hi all, I don't have a problem with the review and I think that 75% is more than fair. Rowan's average rating is 85% so this is way below than usual for him. There is one big problem with the kit and it has been pointed out. I think the readers can decide for themselves if they will buy the kit or not and that's the most important aspect of a review. Personally I think Rowan and Steffen Arndt (but you have to read german) write the best aircraft model kit web reviews and I'm always happy to know what they are thinking of a new release. They do test build the kits (it has to be done at least to do the instructions) and no they are not arrogant at all. I can assure you of the latter fact! Their kits are designed by freelance people (mostly modelers) and produced with technologies which require plain old craftsman skills and are not computer generated toolings like the Tamigawa or even Eduard designs. When I visited their factory early this year, a test build of their Breda Ba.65 kit was laying around half build so I have asked them how the fit was. I expected to hear that it was their best kit to date, the usual bla bla, but I was told in a very frank way, that the kit was not perfect and that there were fit issues! Surely not an arrogant way to praise their kits. While they do their best to produce the best possible kits, it is simply not possible with the technologies they currently use. Does this mean they shouldn't bring them on the market? I don't think so as it would reduce the list of aircraft available as plastic model kits in a dramatic way! I don't think it is "seriously bodged". It seems as if the correction is not beyond the capabilities of an experienced model builder for whom such short run kits are designed for. But you are right, there are indeed many kits that are far better than this one and building them all would take several lives... but sadly no 1:48 scale Il-10... Jean-Luc
DEC 19, 2010 - 08:16 PM
Cheers guys It's nice to see a Review trigger a bit of a discussion. Too generous? Well, everyone says I'm a generous type of guy but, seriously, every time I thought of a score, I kept coming back to the 70-75% region. I feel to have marked it lower would be to ignore the positive aspects of the model. My outlook on such kits is probably influenced by my experience building vacuforms and early short-run models 20 or so years ago, where far, far worse problems were commonplace and sorting them out was just par for the course. As I said in the review, expectations of the quality of such kits have risen massively - perhaps slighlty unrealistically in my view. Really? I don't think I used the word "recommended" anywhere in the Review, not even to say "recommended for experienced modellers only". But I'll go back and check, because I didn't intend to. They always say a picture's worth a thousand words. This is the extent of the problem - not what I'd exactly call the end of the world, or anything that's beyond most experienced modellers: Anyway, I actually think the IL-10 is a kit that begs to be built. (OK - call me a masochist! ) If I can get some time at the workbench in the New Year I'll tackle The Beast - a fitting name, if ever there was one! We'll see if I stick by my 75% by the end... It's funny that Jean-Luc should mention the Ba.65... that's my next Review. I found the basic test-fit very good - except for some nasty gaps at the wing-roots. All the best Rowan
DEC 19, 2010 - 11:28 PM
Hi Rowan and Jean - Luc, Clearly chaps I think we will have to agree to disagree on this topic but that's what having a forun and debating chamber is all about isn't it. Firstly Rowan - I accept you never used the (actual) word "Recommended" in your review and I am sorry if you felt misrepresented - sorry! That said, a 75% grading and the words "definately be worth the effort" consititutes a "recommendation" in my book not just for a model kit but for pretty much anything else! I accept the 'limited run' argument to a degree ......but Special Hobby are not charging a 'limited' price at EURO 40 are they? And for a kit where they cannot even get the 2 fuselage halves the same size. If it were, say, half that price I would say 'fair enough' but if they are going to charge Tamigawa prices for a large(ish) 1/48 WW2 aircraft model, then I think modellers are not being unreasonable asking them to at least get the basic kit part measurements right! Bottom line, people can vote with their wallets irresepctive of our individual submissions and in any event Rowan, thanks for the review and saving me 40 Euro by identifying this issue before I bought it. More money now redirected to the "Wingnuts Fund"! Best regards. Gary
DEC 20, 2010 - 05:50 AM
Hi Gary Well, I think the kit will be worth the effort - I've seen some fantastic finished builds of the previous B-33 - but whether that counts as a "recommendation" is something we'll have to agree to disagree on. I only try to give readers the information they need to form their own opinion of a kit, so if my review has saved you 40 Euros on a kit you'd have been disappointed with, I'd call it a job well done. All the best Rowan
DEC 20, 2010 - 11:52 AM
If the excess left fuselage lenght, as shown in Rowan's picture, is the only "fit" problem, then lambasting this kit because you have to saw shorter the left fuselage is not warranted. The instructions should point this out to warn the modeler, but perhaps it is too embarrassing for them to do it... In these kinds of things you have to get beyond appearances and look at the actual substance of the problem: It is an embarassing-LOOKING error, but look at other manufacturer's mistakes: They may "seem" better, but are actually quite troublesome in their own right: Accurate Miniatures Il-2s build consistently to me with a anhedral to the wings, that is, the wings are not a straight line accross the top from wingtip to wingtip: Unless someone can prove to me the wingtop surface does point down a little towards the wingtips, I have to say this completely screwed my Il-2s TWICE, and I see no solutions at all in the kit's very peculiar and inconvenient wingroot design and complex three-piece bottom wing... Also the AM kit's IL-2 spinner is very far from bulged enough, and the propeller blades are ridiculously thin and pointy... Note I still consider the Il-2 to be, by far, Accurate Miniature's most accurate 1:48th post-1942 WWII kit... I don't think much of the accuracy of their Avengers and Dautlesses and especially their Yaks... I did find the Squadron price for the SH IL-10s to be very high, but if one fuselage half lenght, without other symmetry issues, is all that prevents you from building an accurate model, a lot of other companies have been doing a lot worse than Special Hobby and are getting high praise for it... I could go on with Tamiya's P-47s here, but I'll leave that for later... I have the SH Barracuda, and it is very accurate in both fuselage outline and cross -section, unlike several drawings of the subject I have seen, and it is in fact one of the better 1:48th kits I have seen, barring the fact I did not start it as of yet... While the mismatching fuselage halves length is an embarrassing error, the perspective I have on this is always: How good are the clear parts? People often go on about errors that are sometimes easily fixable, but serious clear part errors are never easily fixable, and any such error (like on the much-vaunted Tamiya P-47Ds, or even worse on the AM Avengers) is actually much harder to fix than almost anything on a worse-seeming kit that has got at least the clear parts right... Gaston
DEC 21, 2010 - 04:37 AM
Please don't bother, you have bored me enough already. Andy
DEC 21, 2010 - 06:28 AM
Hi Gaston and Rowan. Rowan - Cheers mate! Gaston - Some fair points and all I am trying to say (maybe not too well?) is that someone at S.H. must have been aware of the fault...so why not just fix it? A single (for me significant) fix that detracts from maybe an otherwise good package must surely have been within their abilities? I'm not a rivet counter nor do I fuss about angles being off by fractions of degrees nor scale inches etc - but perhaps i'm just being old fashioned in expecting the kit parts that mate to BOTH be of the same size? On a final note, if the mismatching halves are no deal breaker, then perhaps S.H. may like to point it out on the outside of the box or in their advertising literature? We both know the answer to that! I'm just glad we modelers can learn of these things on well run and informative sites like this one rather than reaching for the liquid poly and exclaiming "W.T.F ?" ... AFTER we have parted with out hard-earned folding. A good chat and no rants or nasty comments - thanks to all involved! Gary
DEC 21, 2010 - 06:41 AM
Hi Gary, I think the simple answer is that it would be too cost effective to correct this (small?) fault. We are speaking of kits which are produced in the 2000 to 5000 exemplar range (maybe even less for this boxing). Give me the name of one manufacturer who do this? According to Gaston, Accurate Miniature should do it for most of their kits, Tamiya for their P-47 and Storch and Italeri should have published a list for their 1:48 scale Reggiane 2002 or their Arado 196. Trumpeter could do the same for most of their 1:32 scale stuff and even in 1:48 scale (Hellcat!). Does Revell write on their box that the kit inside is an old mold from the 60' with raised panel lines, loads of rivets and no interior detail whatsoever? We don't receive samples directly from Tamiya, Hasegawa, Italeri, Trumpeter and Revell. But we receive some from MPM (Special Hobby) for review. So maybe they don't write the faults of their kits on their box, but at least they send them away for review so that they are pointed out by qualified model kit reviewers. So we are back to the topic: the purpose a review which is to inform the reader of the quality of a kit. In this case I think it worked well. By the way, I too think that this is an interesting discussion... Jean-Luc
DEC 21, 2010 - 09:04 PM

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