The Tu-124 was the world's first turbofan engined airliner. It was developed to replace the piston-engined IL-14 on Aeroflot's domestic routes. The Tu-124 resembled a 75% scale replica of the Tu-104, but there were minor differences besides the engines; the inboard trailing edge was not swept, the flaps were double-slotted, and it had a large “barn door” airbrake located in the lower fuselage between the engines. Initially equipped with 44 seats, it entered service in October of 1962. The improved TU-124V was equipped with 56 seats. It never achieved much success, but did serve as the basis for the design of the very successful Tu-134 which succeeded it in service. The Tu-124 was retired from Aeroflot service in 1980.
This is a nice kit, which is definitely not for the beginner. The panel lines and shapes are nicely done, and the parts count is low. The paint scheme is relatively simple and the decal contains all the elements of the colour scheme with no need to custom mix paints to match. The upper fuselage blade antennae and landing gear doors are not included in the kit. They must be fabricated from plastic card. The parts arrive neatly heat-sealed in a 3 part bag (except for the nose glazing piece, which is unaccountably separate). The instruction sheet is very basic, no more than an expolded diagram and detail drawings of the carving and drilling necessary in the intakes and nose wheel well. The decal placement drawing is a port side drawing only, but contains enough information for all the decals, the starboard side being a mirror image apart from the baggage door, which on the -124 is on the port side aft. The only thing lacking is placement of the wing registrations, leaving the modeller no choice but to seek other references. This drawing
shows the placement.
The fuselage is one solid moulding from behind the nose cone to the tailcone. The nose glazing is a separate moulding, as are the chin-mounted radar and nose wheel well. These last two parts were missing from my kit. I've put in a request with Bra.Z for replacements. Bra.Z responded quickly with a promise to send the missing parts. There is no recess for the nose wheel well; it will have to be carefully carved out and the well inserted. Bra.Z suggests that nose weight should not be required, but as long as you're digging a hole, it can't hurt to put a bit in. The kit nose wheel well looks fairly short, but in pictures the nose wheel doors are approximately the length of the strut. I suspect that the actual well is longer than the kit well, meaning that some more carving and scratchbuilding would have to be done in order to make it accurate.
The wings and engines are one solid moulding from tip to tip. They are slightly warped, and will need to be soaked in boiling water and held flat to regain their proper anhedral. This should be done one wing at a time otherwise the wings will go flat from tip to tip, which is incorrect. The wings have a saddle piece moulded in which wraps around the lower fuselage. When they are glued in place, it will force the wings into a dihedral, so they must be bent down at the roots to fix the correct anhedral in place. It may be necessary to saw the wings partially through to get them to set at the correct angle. The engine inlets must be carefully drilled out and replaced by the inlet/turbine face parts. The leading edges are rough where the pour stub has been removed. They will need sanding and smoothing off. The pen-nib fairings behind the engines need a little judicious bending to ensure they mate with the fuselage properly.
The tailplanes and vertical fin are one piece mouldings. They need drilling for locating pins. They cannot be left off before painting, but luckily the cheatline passes underneath the stabiliser.
The landing gear struts and wheels are finely moulded and nicely detailed. The struts are moulded in a black resin which is presumably stronger than the dark grey/green used for the other parts of the airframe. There is quite a bit of flash on the struts, but it appears as though it will clean up easily. The wheel hubs are nicely detailed. Take care not to confuse the nose wheels with the main wheels; they're nearly the same size. This may be an early production kit. The Bra.Z website
advertises that the current issue comes with white metal struts.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it will look like a Tu-124
Decals and Markings
The decal sheet provides markings for one Tu-124V in Aeroflot's pre 1973 colour scheme. They are laser printed by Fdcal, so will benefit from a clear coat to protect them and should be trimmed closely as they are printed on a continuous film. All the coloured elements must be applied to a white background. To that end, Fdcal advise that the model should first be painted gloss white overall, and provides masking templates for the cheatlines which they suggest may be cut out and soaked in milk before being placed on the model and allowed to dry. The milk glues the paper to the model, yet after masking the upper fuselage and painting the remainder of the model metallic silver it may be soaked off. Fdcal advise us that French wine labels are traditionally glued to their bottles with milk. The things one can learn from modelling!
The real thing
visiting Stockholm on a frosty day in January, 1967.
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