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Ilyushin Il-2 Stormovik

by Ian Robertson


Ilyushin Il-2 Stormovik


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The IL-2 Stormovik has the distinction of being the most-produced aircraft in the Great Patriotic War, with almost 40,000 leaving the production line.

The single seat version began production in early 1941 and became a feared ground attack aircraft for the Russians against Hitler's invading armies during operation Barbarossa. Nevertheless, the Germans soon exposed the single seat IL-2's vulnerability to fighter attack, resulting in heavy losses for the Russians.

Mounting losses of pilots and machines led to the development of the two-seat versions (with rear gunner) which accounted for the majority of production IL-2 aircraft. These too were vulnerable to fighter attack, but as air superiority tipped in Russian favor the Stormovik was a devastating weapon against ground targets.



Accurate Miniatures' 1/48 Scale Il-2


Accurate Miniatures released three versions of this ungainly yet historically important aircraft: a two seat version, a single seat version with wheels, and a single seat version with skis.

The ski-equipped version is readily available in stores and on eBay, and contains all the parts needed to make the wheeled version.



A minor adjustment to the landing gear is required for the wheeled version, although this information is not included in the instructions. In brief, for each main landing gear delete part 56 and to part 93 remove the horizontal brace where the wheel attaches. Be sure to leave stubs of the horizontal brace in order to click the wheel into place. For the tail gear replace part 53 with part 103. Consult with the instructions from one of the wheeled versions if further clarification is required.





My model is the ski-equipped version with modified landing gear as outlined above.

A number of other minor external modifications were made to the model. (1) The sand filter on the starboard wing leading edge was removed because according to Squadron's "IL-2 In Action" the filter was uncommon on single seat IL-2s. (2) Styrene strips were used to simulate external strengthening ribs on the upper and lower fuselage between the cockpit and tail. These ribs were added on many early IL-2s for reinforcement of the wooden fuselage. Later IL-2s had the ribs installed internally while on the factory line.

During construction the cockpit, wheel wells, and landing struts were painted a bluish-gray-green.



Using Polly Scale acrylics I mixed 3 parts Soviet green, 1 part navy blue, and 1 part RLM66 (dark gray).

After completing the model I came across an article that suggested a dull aluminum color would be more likely for the IL-2, whereas the blue-gray color I used would perhaps be better suited to aircraft constructed primarily from wood (e.g., Yaks, Lavochkins).

The etched metal seatbelts are from Eduard.


Painting and Markings

Winter Camouflage

My model represents a war-weary aircraft from the Russian front during the winter of 1942. To achieve the effect of field applied winter distemper I painted and weathered the model in four steps:

Step 1 - Basic Camouflage. After pre-shading the model with black paint, I painted the undersides light blue (Polly Scale acrylics: 75% Russian underside blue, 25% RLM65). The upper surfaces were then camouflaged using Testors Russian Armor Green and Polly Scale Black-Green with a small amount of black to darken it further. The camouflage was sprayed freehand to create soft edges. No weathering was applied at this point.

Step 2 - White paint was applied with a 3mm wide flat-edged brush to the areas I wanted covered with distemper. No effort was made to paint the white evenly on the model. I broke all the rules of painting with a brush, and at this point the model looked terrible.

Step 3 - Next I airbrushed white paint over the areas that I had roughed-in with the brush. I made sure to leave a hint of the uneven coverage produced by the brush (otherwise why not just skip the brush step, mask the model, and apply white paint evenly with an airbrush?).

Step 4 - Weathering. To remove the "clean & fresh" look of the white paint I sprayed a highly thinned mixture of black and burnt umber paint over the model's surfaces. Once the paint had dried I used medium and fine grain sandpaper to scuff the distemper and in some places expose the camouflage beneath. Greatest attention was given to the wing roots and fuselage near the cockpit. A Micro-mesh 4000 grit sanding cloth was then used to smooth and polish the surfaces prior to the addition of decals.



The undersurface of the wings was weathered lightly with mud, particularly behind the wheel wells. The tires were blotched with dark brown paint as well as some white for snow and ice. I then applied a patchy gloss coat to the tires to give them the appearance of being wet.

Decals and Final Touches

The model was sprayed with Future floor wax prior to the addition of decals. I opted to apply the decals after adding the winter camouflage even though in reality distemper would have been applied around the aircraft's markings.



Small amounts of dark green paint were hand-brushed around the stars on the fuselage and tail to give the appearance of distemper that had been applied in the field. Exhaust stains were sprayed with highly thinned black paint. The model was then coated with a 50:50 mixture of Polly Scale clear flat and clear satin.





A wooden cutting board was used as the base for the diorama.

Celluclay, a papier mâché product available in craft stores, was used to make the basic ground cover. Celluclay powder was mixed into a paste with water and white glue and then spread thinly over the cutting board. The cutting board had previously been treated with clear lacquer to prevent warping while the celluclay dried.

While the celluclay was wet I added fine sand and dull green static grass to simulate areas of dirt and grass. Some patches of celluclay were left bare to simulate areas of snow.

Areas of grass, mud and snow were painted appropriately once the celluclay had dried thoroughly. The taller vegetation is represented by various dried mosses.

Clear gloss epoxy resin was poured onto the areas that I wanted to appear wet.





All images were taken outdoors on an overcast day (for mood) with a SONY digital camera set at its highest picture resolution (2048 x 1536 pixels).



Other camera settings were as follows:

  • 200 ISO film speed (yes, it's an option on my digital camera)

  • 100-150th/sec shutter speed

  • F-stop 8.0, and fixed focus distance of either 20 or 30 cm.

Images were cleaned up using Adobe Photoshop 6.0 for the Macintosh. Specifically, the interface between the base and background were merged using the software's "blur" tool, and edges in some photographs were sharpened using the "sharpen edges" tool. Sharpening images in such a way helps to restore some of the clarity lost during image compression.



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 24 February, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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