ESCI 1:72 TUPOLEV TU-22M BACKFIRE A
Reviewer: Derrick Winters (rec.models.scale) - kit made December '94
This is not a small kit and Esci again oversize the box. Nevertheless when you purchase it you really can't wait to get it open to have a look inside. You won't be disappointed because the parts are nice and crisp, light grey and brimming with reasonable layout of detail. Everything looks the right shape in the box. Panel lines are raised and there is adequate wheel well detail although nothing to pout over.
Esci kits are on the way out, which is a shame, because every one I have built I have been happy with (apart from the 1/72 Tornado IDS). This particular kit has been around for quite some time now although off-cuts have been distributed featuring several different versions to carry different weapons load. Strictly, this is the Tu-22M Backfire-A version although you may also be able to get the same kit reboxed as the Backfire C. Luckily I managed to pick this one up very cheaply to make the bargain well worthwhile.
There is a fair amount of cockpit detail although much of this is hidden once encased inside the fuselage and includes sticks, panels, seats etc. I gave the interior a wash with a mixture of blue and green (that is often found on internal russian aircraft parts) with dark grey seats and black panels. The fuselage halves were subject to a number of small sub assemblies in itself and a bit of putty is recommended to help mate all the parts together. Once constructed the fuselage halves go together quite nicely. Fit of other major components is also pretty good and surprisingly little filler is called upon for a model of this size. The wings are moveable although be careful that you don't accidentally get glue into the cogs that allows the wings to swing.
Pylons were attached to the fixed wing glove and particular care is recommended when detaching the pylons and affixing them to the aircraft - if you mix them up then you have call upon your own knowledge and skills to determine which goes where. From what I can envisage in spite of not having this problem there is a potential for some odd looking pylon positions otherwise. The kit comes with 4 Cruise Missiles of the AS-15 Kent variety, or so they appear to try and replicate. They are inaccurate in shape and scale size but close enough to most resemble the Kent ALCM.
The undercarriage posed a few problems, mainly requiring a fair bit of attention to get to sit correctly but other than that worked to be very nice replications. I painted the struts aluminium with green hubs matching a fairly clear photo reference from an early Air Forces Monthly magazine.
On mock up the kit looks very good and certainly looks nothing other than a Backfire. I left a couple of the aerials off while I finished it in gloss white undersides and semi-gloss blue-grey upper. I am not convinced of my choice in blue-grey colours but with a bit of weathering pastels it seems to fit the bill nicely. A couple of options are available on the decal sheet with only the serial numbers telling the choices apart - naturally in the former Soviet air force markings. The register was good and the decals conformed quite nicely.
This kit measures up well to reference comparisons although I tend to think that Esci molded the kit while a number of data specifications were still 'estimated'. Nonetheless it is still properly to scale lacking only in a couple of millimetres if one was to be nit-picky. I enjoyed this kit immensely and would encouragingly recommend it to those interested in this particular aircraft subject.
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This is a Tu-22M Backfire-A featuring the bland style air intake and wing trailing edge fairings without glove