The big turboprop reigned supreme for a short window of time, between the last piston-props and the first jets, and orders for them suffered accordingly, at least in the West. In the Soviet Union the Ilyushin IL-18 outshone its Western opponents and amassed a production run that was five or six times higher than all of the L-188 Electra II, Bristol Britannia and Vickers Vanguard combined. In 400 scale it hasn't been anywhere near as loved, with only a handful of releases, but Yu ModeLs has shown an interest in bringing back Soviet-era metal, reinvigorating old Aeroclassics moulds long out of production. Following on from their pair of Tu-154s their third model, from early this year, was Chairman Mao's Coot.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
Yu ModeLs has so far utilised Aeroclassics moulds and has a JC Wings IL-86 upcoming. The problem with this strategy is that it does depend on the quality of the outsourced moulds you are using as to how good the end result is. Fortunately when it comes to prop-liners Aeroclassics has an excellent and reliable back catalogue.
The base IL-18 mould is very nice and I have few concerns about the overall fuselage shape. The nose and cockpit region look great and the fuselage itself excellent. The vertical stabiliser is well shaped and correctly squared off. It could meet with the roofline a little more sharply at the front but that is nitpicking.
The mould is a cradle mount but the seam line is very small, far superior to that on earlier Aeroclassics props like the Viscount and Constellation. The wing and the rear portion of the engines are one piece and have a lot of good detailing.
The forward portion of the engines slot into the rear portions creating something of a seamline, albeit one that is manageable. The props and spinners are accurate.
My only real criticism of the mould comes at the nosegear. While all the gear sets are well detailed, and the nosegear illustrates the unusual tyre position well, it just seems ever so slightly too short. This gives the aircraft a slight nose down attitude that it didn't have in real life.
I can't get enough propliners and Aeroclassics are almost the last home of them nowadays. It is grand to see the under-used IL-18 get a run out and the mould remains a good representation of the big Coot.
SCORE - 8
PAINT & LIVERY
This aircraft was delivered to China in 1964 and used as Mao's personal transport until July 1967. It is perhaps a little questionable to own a model such as this when Mao was such a tyrant and responsible for millions of his own people's deaths through such nonsense as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. However, as a historical document it is interesting and as a record of this shameful period from long ago I see no harm in it.
Unsurprisingly, given the faux austerity of Communism, and the busyness involved in going about causing the death of between 15 and 55 million people due to a famine of your own making, then following it up with a programme to create an ideological civil war, painting a pretty livery on your personal jet wasn't a high priority!
To that end this is a very simple scheme consisting of the standard but thin Aeroflot style cheatlines, the PLAAF logo and the rego on an otherwise largely blank tail. The aircraft is nowadays preserved at the Beijing Xiaotangshanzhen Aviation Museum, presumably in the original scheme. Original photos in service are not easy to come by and the model represents the aircraft as on display now.
It is such a simple scheme that there isn't much to get wrong and pleasingly I can see no errors in the replication aside from the size of the anti-glare panel being a little small. Small details are present - such as the red wingtips, red tipped blue props and the dark blue tailtop.
SCORE - 10
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
The IL-18, unlike modern airliners, isn't covered with aerials and huge amounts of opportunity for fine printing detail. The model comes with everything it needs and I can't see anything missing. I do admit though that I'm not 100% sold on the size and shape of the cockpit windows, which I feel could be taller and wider, but it doesn't have a drastic affect on the model.
Build quality is good except that the prop-spinners are rather loosely attached meaning that the props themselves tend to wiggle back and forward too much.
From the side both sets of maingear forward wheels don't quite touch the ground, although this is almost un-noticeable looking at the real thing 1:1.
SCORE - 8
I'm really enjoying Yu ModeLs unusual releases and look forward to both the IL-76 and IL-86. It is also great to think that they have paved the way for more IL-18 releases by getting the mould back up and running. Will Aeroclassics release more IL-18s? I am sure they will very soon. Considering it was 2014 since the mould was last seen that is very welcome.
FINAL SCORE - 26/30
I'm Richard Stretton an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale models. On this page I take a detailed look at new releases.
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