Trumpeter 1/72nd Tu-95 MS "Bear H"
reviewed by Steve Jantscher
Trumpeter continues to pleasantly surprise me with great subjects, well presented. This recent kit continues their trend toward excellence. My one very light criticism is that if anything, they are too eager to give the modeler optional flying control surfaces. I know, we'd complain if we didn't get dropped flaps. I guess there is no pleasing the modern modeler, but these additional parts contribute significantly to the final cost. I mean, do we really need separate position able ailerons and rudders, in addition to dropped flaps?
Did I say this was a big model? This will top out to over 27 inches long when fully assembled, with an equally large wingspan to match. The plastic seems a little soft, but the recessed panel lines are nicely cut, if a bit deep. All the surface detail is very nicely represented by either recessed or raised plastic.
This is an excellent kit, and looks to be an easy build with the possible exception of the engine/landing gear nacelles. These might just represent some opportunities to putty, but until one starts building, I wouldn't want to guess. Of course, the big bugaboo about the Bear is the natural metal finish so many of them were seen in. This does represent a special challenge for many modelers, but Trumpeter has done as much as they can to make your job easier by providing nicely polished plastic pieces to work with. There is no noticeable surface irregularities. With sufficient care paid to seam work, there is every expectation that this kit will make up into a nice looking model.
The clear parts are nicely done, and the decals appear thin and in register, even if they are a bit simple. Trumpeter provides a four view color twin page spread of the two birds whose markings are provided, a Ukrainian Air Force bird, as well as a Russian one. Those who fear a natural metal finish should grab one of the better references on the Bear aircraft, the most recent issue of International Air Power Review, Vol. 6 (IAPSC006), which features a 35 page full color focus on the Tu-95 / 142 "Bear". In it one may find numerous examples of a light gray over white paint scheme that is quite striking.
My one gripe about the kit, which is even more remarkable given the penchant Trumpeter has with providing extras in a kit, is the lack of any external stores. In my younger life as an F-14 RIO, I was mainly concerned with the Bear H, and the formidable anti ship very high speed cruise missiles it could cary. Why Trumpeter didn't include at least one AS-4 "Kitchen" missile I don't know. I've been trying to get the guys at Loon Models, to make up one for us Bear fanatics. The Bear is a striking aircraft. A Bear with a big honking missile slung under the belly, is even more so. A Bear without a missile underneath, looks as out of place as a B-58 without it's pod.
Having said all that, I believe we are
lucky to have this excellent kit. Thank you Trumpeter!
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