by: Wiggus [ ]
Originally published on:
The PZL.37 was an all-metal, twin-engine medium bomber designed by the national Polish aviation company (PZL) for the Polish Air Force. It was first produced in 1938. The first 10 were built with a single vertical stabilizer, but thereafter were produced with twin stabilizers. This was added, I presume, for better…stability? Or perhaps just so that it would look sooooo bad-ass. I prefer to believe the later.
They were powered by two 860 BHP Bristol Pegasus radial engines which increased in power as time went on. They were manufactured in Poland under license from England. A full crew was four men; pilot, commander-bombardier, radio operator and a rear gunner. It carried plenty of bombs, and punched way above its weight in this category. It also had three defensive machine guns; one the glass encased nose, one rear dorsal, and one rear ventral. Despite this, the PZL.34 bomber groups suffered heavy losses, not due to its inferiority, but due to an adequate lack of fighter escorts. In fact, no PZL.34 survived to this day. There is a replica on display outside the PZL Mielec factory.
In The Box
1 clear sprue
11 sprues – some sprues are bagged together
1 PE fret
B&W instructions, with color painting and decal guide
This is the third offering of a kit based on this 2018 tooling, the first being the single tailed PZL.37. The others are of the twin tailed version with slight variations, and it looks like a Romanian version is on the way. There are in the neighborhood of 130 grey styrene parts divided amongst 11 sprues. Some of the sprues are very small, like the one with only the engine cowlings, or just the control surfaces. There is some flash present on the runners, but none at all on any parts. Care went into the layout of the parts to achieve IBG’s usual quality. The plastic is heavy. I’m not sure how else to describe it; it has a heft to it. Like other recent IBG kits it has a fine pebbly finish to it, but I’ve not experienced any troubles from it in the past.
The instruction book is 12 pages, A4 sized. The main build pages are B&W. There is are color pages showing painting guides, which are so simple that it is really not necessary. The top is Polish Khaki. The bottom is light blue-grey.
The build steps are illustrated by 3D illustrations which are quite good, if a tad dark. The instructions are frustrating though at times as you must navigate a sea of triangles (see photo). Triangles are used to indicate previous sub-assemblies, current step assemblies, paint colors, and decals. Pointed upward, they are either new or old assemblies, or paint colors. Pointed down they indicate decals. They are all dark grey and the same size, sometimes with black lettering…sometimes white. You are better off just color coding the sheets yourself with hi-liters. The instructions are the worst part of any recent IBG kit. There are other shapes out there in the world that could be used. I wish they would just look at any other manufactures instructions for ways to improve. And also, some parts are mislabeled. For instance, seatbelt PE-14 is labeled PE-13 in a closeup.
The decal sheet doesn’t have a printer credited, but the registration is perfect and small stencil lettering is clear even under magnification. There are markings for three different Polish planes. All three share the same paint scheme, only the markings change.
Photo-etch parts represent the engine ignition rings, seat belts, yoke, external details, and much of the landing gear bays. They are as good as any I’ve seen.
In standard fashion the build starts with the interior, which is generously detailed and includes photo-etch yoke, seat belts and gun sights. The entire length of the fuselage walls are covered with ribs and control panels. The floor is one long part which includes bomb bays beneath, and pilot, gunners, and radio areas up top. When built up the pilot seat and yoke are perched way up top (see photo). If there are any kit-bashers reading this, this would make a great base for some kind of “Mad Max: Beyond Aeroscale” assault buggy. Turn the bombs into repurposed fuel tanks, grab some rockets from a Douglas Skyraider kit, some armor plate from a tank kit, and perch a giant diesel engine behind the pilot and you’d be well on your way to a dystopian hellscape.
After closing the fuselage and attaching the tails the wing and engine assembly begins. The engine detail is good but almost none of it will be seen through the heavy Polish cowling. The gear bays are built entirely from photo-etch parts, and I have to say that just from looking at the instructions I can’t see any real benefit to using PE over plastic. The PE doesn’t have any real detail on it. The only benefit is that it is thin, but I don’t think you will end up seeing the wall thickness anywhere except on two support braces. If you hate PE, you are just going to have to endure this step.
Now for a downside: the landing gear looks sturdy and it is cemented to the bottoms of the engine nacelles before the wing halves are glue together. For better or worse there is no way around having the landing gear exposed for the rest of the build.
Once the completed wings are attached to the fuselage you are almost home. Only some exterior detail and doors are left to install.
This is a great kit of an unusual and unsung medium bomber. I love the looks of the Polish warbirds from WWII like the PZL 23 light bomber and the P.11 gull-winged fighter. This is the third IBG kit that I’ve reviewed and the molding and engineering continues to be really great. If they can just design clearer instructions they will stand right along side the best makers in the industry. Don’t let that deter you though; they will get you though to the end. Montex does make a pre-cut mask set for the numerous panes of glass and five wheels found in this kit. That might be money well spent. And many years ago Techmod made a decal sheet with Polish, Romanian, and German marking for this plane.