The aircraft designer Vladimir Mikhailovich Petlyakov and his team were in prison when the design for the Pe-2 Peshka was developed as a high altitude twin engine fighter. It was intended to work as an escort for the TB-7, the four engine heavy bomber that Petlyakov was the chief designer. Ironically he and his team were accused of slowing down the development of the TB-7 and sent to prison. The prototype Peshka received the designation VI-100, but as things go, Petlyakov was ordered to redesign the aircraft as a dive bomber. So the VI-100 was re-designated the PB-100. The redesign from high altitude fighter to dive bomber was significant. Out went the pressurised cockpit, in came a shortened canopy, the fuselage and engine nacelles were re-designed to incorporate bomb bays, external bomb racks and air brakes were also added. The PB-100 made its maiden flight on December 15th 1940 and subsequent flight trial showed impressive results. The Pe-2 was rushed into production and deliveries started to front line units in the Spring of 1941. With the success of the Pe-2 came the release of its chief designer and an aircraft named in his honour.
Although the prototype was very promising, it was found that the early production aircraft suffered from poor building workmanship, the turbocharger was swapped for a compressor and bombs had to be carried externally. All of which led to lower operational performances. The rather lack lustre defensive armament meant that most of the early missions had to have fighter escorts.
I have a fondness for the normally rugged Soviet aircraft of WWII, but the Peshka is a particular favourite as it has an elegance that you donít normally associate with Soviet WWII aircraft designs. The elegance possible stems from its earlier design as a high altitude escort fighter. Turning it into a light bomber has not affected the beauty of the initial design too much. Like all good airframes there were lots of development and operational types: photo reconnaissance, night fighter, standard bomber, trainer, etc.
As you will probably know if you pay any attention to the news here on Aeroscale, the plastic parts originate from Zvedza. Zvedza released their kit just a couple of years ago to rave reviews. See Dominick Soldano review of the Zvedza kit here.
The box is pretty well packed, some of the longer sprues just about fit inside. I was a little disappointed that all the sprues are in the same bag. Thankfully the clear plastic parts are packed separately. First impression is how good the engraved detail is and the amount of rivets on the skin of the aircraft is interesting, but it is subtle.
The interior of the fuselage has a good amount of detail; unfortunately there are also some sunken ejector marks. Most can be ignored, but some you may want to spend some time filling and sanding. The amount of parts to detail the interior is impressive in quality and quantity. Iím not even going to try to count them. Then there are the pre-coloured photo etched parts to enhance the cockpit and there are harnesses and belts for each of the seats. If you donít fancy using the photo etched parts for the instrument panel, then there are instruments printed on the decal sheet. Other plastic parts that are nicely detailed include self-defence armament, ammo belts and boxes, bulkheads, navigation and radio equipment. There are a couple of crew members included, and these have separate arms and heads so you can position them as you like. One of the figures has a choice of two heads: goggles over the eyes or resting on the flying helmet. The attachment point for the main wing to the fuselage is cleverly thought out. I was expecting a single piece lower wing, but the use of spars will help provide a strong join. They also form part of the bomb bay which can be displayed open. There are four bombs that can be placed in the bomb bay and what looks like a couple of fuel tanks. There are also a couple of larger bombs that are attached to racks under the wings.
The clear plastic parts are impressively thin and detailed. The inclusion of the resin clear part for the dorsal window allows the modeller to produce a post 359th production batch aircraft. The plastic window is swapped for the resin window. Oddly the resin window has been missed by the folk creating the building instructions. It is obvious in the painting guide and there are masks for both types of dorsal window. The plastic dorsal widow is in two parts and can be modelled open or closed. Thankfully there are masks for all the various panes of the cockpit canopy.
The main wings have separate ailerons and slats. The nacelles have some detail in them, but like the fuselage the surface is somewhat spoiled by ejector marks. The left hand nacelle can be displayed open and there is a fine looking representation of the Klimov M-105 V12 engine, bearer, radiator faces and pipe work to install. Again the detail is very good indeed. Eduard has created resin spinners and propellers for this Special Edition release. The spinners are beautifully cast and the props are nice and thin and well-shaped. The tail surfaces have separate control surfaces and they display some slightly saggy if unrealistic fabric surfaces.
The legs for the undercarriage are well detailed and are built up from several parts. You have the option of using the plastic wheels or the superbly detailed weighted resin wheels. The resin wheels even have the makers name on the sidewalls. Masks are included to help you paint the wheels.
The decals have been designed by Bergermont and printed Cartograf. As you would expect from Cartograf the decals look superb. The artwork looks simplistic, but it does represent the real thing very well.
There are five in all including:
●Pe-2 later (post 359th) production batch, flown by Senior Lieutenant E. Sedov, 40th Bomber Air Regiment, Soviet Navy Black Sea Fleet Aviation, August 1944
●Pe-2, later production batch, serial number 3/220, 161th Guards Bomber Regiment, 2nd Guards Bomber Air Corps, VVS RKKA, Winter 1943/44
●Pe-2 post 205th production batch, 36th Guards Bomber Regiment, 276th Bomber Division, VVS RKKA, Leningrad front, December 1944
●Pe-2, later (post 205th) production batch, Generalmajor I. Polbin, CO of the 6th Bomber Aviation Corps, VVS RKKA, Germany, 1945
●Pe-2 later (post 359th) production batch, 1st Guards Bomber Air Division, VVS RKKA, Germany, 1945
This is a highly detailed kit with a high number of parts, so not one for a beginner. But in the hands of an experienced modeller this kit will shine. I canít see this limited edition hanging around in stores for long, in fact Eduards website shows that this kit is now sold out. The plastic parts from Zvezda are very good and Eduard has brought in some excellent after-market products to the party. So Highly recommended.