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Ilyushin Il-2m Stormovik

by Ian Robertson


Ilyushin Il-2 Stormovik


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The single seat IL-2 Stormovik began production in early 1941 and was an effective ground attack aircraft for the Russians against Hitler's invading armies. However, a serious shortcoming of the IL-2 was its complete lack of rear defense.

The need for a two seat variant with a rear gunner was obvious; however, Stalin insisted that any modifications could not interrupt production. The IL-2M was the first production series of a two seat stormovik (note - some makeshift field conversions preceded the IL-2M). For the IL-2M only minimal changes were made to the aircraft's structure. The rear glazed canopy of the single-seat IL-2 was cut off to make room for a rear gunner's compartment.



The gunner sat in cramped quarters on a padded canvas seat suspended between the cockpit walls, with a rear-facing machine gun installed on armor plate. Installation of the gunner's position substantially increased the Stormovik's weight, primarily behind the aircraft's center of gravity. Consequently, the handling characteristics of the IL-2M were poor.

Performance improved greatly with the introduction of the IL-2 Type 3, a two seat variant which had the outer wing panels swept back 15 degrees to compensate for the rearward shift in center of gravity.





Accurate Miniatures released both the single seat IL-2 (including a version with skis) and the two seat IL-2 Type 3 (listed on the box as an IL-2m3) in 1/48 scale. I decided to build an IL-2M using the fuselage from the two seat kit and the unswept wings from the single seat kit.

Additional modifications included scribing panel details on the rear fuselage (to match the single seater's fuselage), using only two rocket rails beneath each wing, deleting the aileron balance weights, installing a short antenna mast (the IL-2 Type 3's antenna mast was taller), and using the large tail wheel supplied in the two-seat kit.

Luckily, the Accurate Miniatures IL-2m3 kit includes the proper early-style canopy glazing (Part 153) for the IL-2M's rear gunner's position.


Apart from the conversion details, I repositioned the control surfaces on the tail, and I added etched metal seatbelts from Eduard as well as a brass ammunition belt from Reheat for the rear gun. The plastic edges around the openings of the various intakes and scoops on the fuselage were thinned out.



Painting and Markings


Winter Camouflage

My model represents an aircraft from the Russian front during the winter of 1943. The base camouflage is Testors Russian Armor Green and Polly Scale Black-Green over Polly Scale Russian underside blue (faded slightly with RLM65 for scale effect). The camouflage was sprayed freehand to create soft edges. Winter distemper and weathering was applied using the technique I describe in a companion article on the Accurate Miniatures IL-2 single seat Stormovik



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 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. A dull coat made from a 50:50 mixture of Polly Scale clear flat and clear satin was applied as a final step.



Model Base


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. Clear gloss epoxy resin was poured onto the areas that I wanted to appear wet. The taller vegetation is represented by various dried mosses.





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 03 March, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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