I have not really built many Zvezda kits. In fact, for actually branded Zvezda kits – this is my first. The only kit I’ve built that I know of is the Italeri Su-47 that I built some time ago. For clarity as well, I had bought the paints and model from Russia prior to the invasion of Ukraine…it literally arrived a few weeks before. Whether or not you want to try this kit will ultimately be decided by your own moral compass even before reading or watching my review – though it’s worth remembering that second hand kits (and ones already bought before the war) are not going to pass any money back so you should be safe there.
Anyway, let’s move on to the actual kit.
This kit is from 2011 and is a really interesting design. Zvezda seem to have become very determined to make click/snap together kits relevant again; I’m not mad at it either. These kits are fabulous for those who either don’t have ventilation or are perhaps very much a beginner rand want the extra guidance of a snap kit. I glued some parts, butt I don’t think I glued everything.
The kits sprues are well set out and make it very clear what you need to do – even without instructions. The cockpit is ridiculously detailed for what I’d view as an introductory kit! It’s honestly one of the most detailed ‘in box’ cockpits that I’ve ever seen. However…why is the pilot in 3 parts? It’s such an odd choice, feeling more like a way to ‘up’ the part count given that you can’t adjust the pose. Otherwise the details were excellent especially for a kit that goes for under €10 generally. The decals are also very crisp which just seals the deal.
I found the construction of the kit very simple. As the kit is designed to clip together it’s hard to go wrong as parts that aren’t meant to be somewhere just won’t clip in place. It really does make the kit more accessible as it is somewhat fool-proofed as a result. It was a nice change from kits that can seem overcomplicated for no reason (which I feel most brands are guilty of at the moment).
As for painting, I had a range of Zvezda paints that I had ordered from Russia with my kit (again prior to the invasion of Ukraine). The paints come in the worst containers almost ever due to their thin high nature…but the end result was pretty good! Of course, this review isn’t about the paints so I’d suggest checking the video below for more information on that.
The model once assembled does look very cute, especially in the grey scheme – a scheme I’ve always wanted to do as it’s so eye catching! I layered the paints a few times and then sealed them in with gloss before decalling. The decals went on effortlessly and were durable enough for me to move around with no risk of tearing. There’s only a few exterior decals and a cockpit decal for the instrument panel, but they all looked great once on the model.
Buy or Fly?
I wll keep this brief: if you have no issue buying Zvezda kits at the moment or can get it second hand then absolutely get yourself this kit. It’s a beautiful example of simplicity done well. However, if Zvezda is off the table for you either morally or in principle then it was never going to matter to you if this kit was good anyway…but maybe in the future it’ll be worthwhile for you.