Tuesday, 30 May 2023

1/72 - PZL TS-11 Iskra by Arma Hobby - Iskra Bis DF 'Expert' set build (part 1)


The PZL TS-11 Iskra (or 'Spark') is a Polish jet trainer and light strike aircraft, developed and manufactured by aircraft company PZL-Mielec. It first flew in the year of my birth, 1960, with an imported British jet engine and was notable as being the first domestically-developed jet aircraft to be produced by Poland. The Iskra was designed to meet a requirement by the Warsaw Pact countries for a basic trainer. Although it lost the contract to the Czechoslovakian L-29 Delfin the Poles kept it and put it into service. It is a real Cold War relic, having flow with the Poles for over 50 years. Some went to India. Up until recently examples of the TS -11 flew with the Polish AF Biało-Czerwone Iskry aerobatics display team. This kit was one of Arma Hobby's first injection molded 72nd scale products. This 'Expert' set comes with photo etch and acetate film for the instrument panels and masks.

A few of my photos of the Iskra on display at the RAF Manston History museum. This machine was previously owned by TG Aviation (ex-Red Arrows pilot Ted Girdler) at Manston before being bought by the museum in 2013 and repainted in the Polish aerobatic team colours.  

with thanks to "Tommy" -I couldn't have got this far without referring to your build!
Starting with the ejection sheets, these have a couple of details that should be replaced with PE, most notably the foot rests. The assembly instructions aren't very helpful to say the least. I just couldn't figure out how the etch should work - in the end I decided that the plastic parts looked just fine! 

 This is an "old-school" method of getting dials and other details - no prepainted PE here. A printed sheet of acetate that is painted on the reverse - although that is not stated anywhere on the Arma instruction sheet, and, again I doubt I'd have realised that without referencing Tommy's build!  But given that this image is about 3x actual size it is impossible to see anything anyway! Note film is supplied for the (gun)sight in the front cockpit and the 'screen' that blocks off the two cockpits.

Despite having a tray of greys I didn't have any 'Dark Ghost Grey' for the cockpit walls so used 'Light ghost grey' instead. Apparently the 'Dark' version was made by adding black to the lighter colour. Although the ejection seats can be left out until near the end of the build I preferred to put them in the cockpit. The instrument panels will 'balance' ingeniously in the 'cut-outs' on the sills. I didn't use the PE seat belts as I much prefer to use wine-bottle foil. 

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