The former Yugoslavia's IK-02 can most charitably be described as obsolescent at the time of its first flight, but trials against a Hawker Fury biplane revealed that the IK-2 was superior on all counts and the Royal Yugoslav Air Force accordingly ordered 12 examples of the IK-2 production version that differed from the second prototype only in minor details.
Twelve aircraft made by Ikarus AD were taken over by RYAF between October 1938 and April 1939, and saw limited service up to time of Yugoslavia's defeat by Germany in April 1941. In the beginning IK-2 served with 6th Fighter Regiment in Zemun and from October 1939 with the 34th Fighter Group, 107 Fighter Squadron of the 4th Fighter Regiment in Zagreb. At the start of April war in 1941, eight of the fighters were still in service. First baptism of fire IK-2 received on April 9th when German Messerschmitt Bf109 attacked Rovine Air Base near Bosanski Aleksandrovac. During the combat one IK-2 and two Hawker Hurricane I where lost in exchange for two Messerschmitt. Aircraft were operated mainly in the ground-attack role. Some serviceable IK-2 where burned by there crews at end of the war, the three (four?) surviving IK-2 were then pressed into service with NDH Air Force.
This is the first time I've had a chance to examine a CMR kit and I'm very impressed indeed. In many ways it reminds me of a Planet Models kit - which is high praise, because they ar among my favourite resin models.
The IK-2 arrives in a sturdy end-opening box, packed like many Czech short-run models with the parts sealed in polythene pouches. The kit comprises:
46 x resin parts
2 x vacuform canopies
7 x etched parts a film for the instrument panel
Decals for 13(!) x colour schemes
The casting is almost perfect throughout, and I found just one or two tiny air bubbles to fill on the leading edge of the stabilizer. The casting attachments are nice and thin, so clean-up should be quick and straightforward. The surface finish is excellent, with very neatly scribed panel lines, embossed fasteners, and lightly raised ribs and stringers on the fabric surfaces. The trailing edges of the flying surfaces are nice and sharp and basic test fit shows the fuselage halves line up well and the full-span wing slots in positively, promising quite a simple build.
The kit's design is well thought out, with the fuselage halves featuring some delicate interior detail, and there's a choice of wing styles for the second prototype and subsequent aircraft. The majority of the parts are cast in familiar beige resin that is easy to work with, while the the wing and undercarriage struts are produced in a denser black resin to bear the weight of the finished model.
A few details
The cockpit is simple, but should look very effective. Along with the integral detail inside the fuselage halves, there are a resin floor, seat and control column, etched seat harnesses and rudder pedals, and a choice of either resin or etched instrument panels.
The wing/undercarriage struts are quite a complex affair, so take a little extra time familiarising yourself with the layout before assembling them. The kit includes a choice of plain or spatted mainwheels and a nicely detailed tailwheel.
The propeller comes as separate blades and, again, a choice of spinners - plain, or with a cannon. Smaller details such as the stabilizer struts and aileron mass-balances are all beautifully cast and, finally, there's a pair of vacuform canopies provided, so you don't need to worry if you slip up trimming the first one to size. The clarity is pretty good, but I'd still recommend a dip in Future/Klear, and the canopy frames are crisply defined.
Instructions and decals
The assembly diagrams are very well drawn and easy to follow. The resin parts aren't numbered, but the kit is simple enough to make this no problem. Along with the exploded diagrams, there are "info views" of every stage, which are particularly useful in making sense of the strut arrangement. Construction notes are all in English and include a list of colour suggestions for the interior.
Although only about a dozen IK-2's were ever built, a high point of CMR's IK-2 is a truly comprehensive set of colour schemes for 6 aircraft at various stages of their careers:
A. Ikarus IK-02, second prototype, October 1936
B. Ikarus IK-2, first series production aircraft, with wheel spats removed, RYAF, late 1938
C. Ikarus IK-2, first series production aircraft, with wheel spats fitted, RYAF, June1938
D. Ikarus IK-2, s/n 2111, "Black 3", 6th Fighter Regiment, RYAF, Belgrade-Zemum airbase, September 1939
E. Ikarus IK-2, s/n 2112, "Black 4", 6th Fighter Regiment, RYAF, Belgrade-Zemum airbase, September 1939
F. Ikarus IK-2, s/n 2104, 4th Fighter Regiment, RYAF, Zagreb-Boronaj, 1940
G. Ikarus IK-2, s/n 2103, RYAF, as captured by the Germans under overhaul at the Ikarus Zemum factory
H. Ikarus IK-2, s/n 2111, RYAF, as captured at Bosanski Aleksandrovac airfield
I. Ikarus IK-2, s/n 2903 (ex RYAF s/n 2111), Croat Air Force, Rajlovac-Sarajevo, 1942
J. Ikarus IK-2, s/n 2901 (ex RYAF s/n 2104), Croat Air Force, Luca Rajlovac, 1941-42
K. Ikarus IK-2, s/n 2902 (ex RYAF s/n 2103), Croat Air Force
L. Ikarus IK-2, s/n 2904 (ex RYAF s/n 2113), as captured at the Ikarus Zemum factory
M. Ikarus IK-2, s/n 2904 (ex RYAF s/n 2113), Croat Air Force, Rajlovac-Sarajevo, 1942
The aircraft are in a mix of silver dope, RYAF and Croat camouflage, and the painting guide gives F.S. matches for each colour.
The decals are very well printed with a silk finish. The registration is spot-on and carrier film is trimmed tightly around the items. A nice touch is that the serials are provided both integrally with rudder stripes on the pre-war schemes, and separately for those who prefer to paint the stripes.
CMR's Ikarus IK-2 looks a real little cracker of a kit. It's straightforward enough to make an ideal kit for anyone looking looking to try their hand at a resin model for the first time, and it's such an attractive and unusual subject, it really deserves a place in any collection of WW2 minor types. Highly recommended.
Many thanks to Rob Stevens of West Coast Hobbys, the Canadian distributors of CMR kits, for arranging the sample.
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