Review: Valom 1/72 Polikarpov TIS (MA)

History

The Polikarpov TIS (Tyazholyy Istrebitel’ Soprovozhdeniya) project started out in 1938 as the Soviet Air Force (VVS) requested a heavy fighter capable of escorting bombers. Due to the workload at the Polikarpov Design Bureau (Polikarpov OKB) work on the TIS (internal designation TIS (A)) didn’t start until late 1940. After work has started and the first prototype was built it was discovered that the engines used were not reliable enough and suffered from vibrations at high altitude. Again, due to the workload and the engine suppliers inability to solve the problems the project was halted.

The project was restarted again in 1943, now with new engines that would hopefully solve the engine reliability problems. The second prototype was built and received the internal designation TIS (MA). It is this prototype that is depicted in this kit. This prototype suffered from similar problems and the project was abandoned shortly after the death of Mr. Polikarpov.

Valom

Valom is a small Czech manufacturer of short-run kits and their subjects are often prototypes or vehicles that haven’t had a lot of attention from the mainstream manufacturers. This includes the ill-fated Dutch Fokker T-5 bomber, the Heinkel He-119A and many, many others.

The kit

The kit itself comes in a nice, sturdy box with some beautiful artwork on the box. Inside we find a nicely printed instruction sheet with a brief overview of the aircraft in Czech, English and German. The instructions are well-printed, if a bit busy. But this isn’t a complicated kit and the sheet only has a few steps.

Then on to the hardware. This kit has it all: plastic, resin and PE, and unfortunately some loose parts in the box. No damage done to any part so it’s not really a big deal. But you might not want this kit to be handled by your tame FedEx driver..

But I digress. The plastic looks pretty good; not a lot of flash, reasonably well-defined panel lines and some nice detailing and very little flash. There are however large ‘towers’ on the wings, leftovers from the extraction pins. But they are easy to remove and are hidden anyway. On closer inspection you will notice the complete lack of locating pins of any kind. This means you will have to be extra careful when gluing the parts together. But after dry fitting various parts they all lined up very well with no visible steps and just very minor gaps. So no need to stock up on fillers.

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Resin and clear parts

These include the two front wheels of the landing gear, the pilot’s seat and two propeller hubs. These parts are very well molded and require little to no cleanup, apart from the cleanup required after removing the parts from the ‘sprue’. And now on to the clear bits. The canopy and front window are vacuformed clear plastic and they are ok.  But they might not be for a beginner, the instructions don’t tell how and where you need to cut the excess plastic off, which can be a bit of a problem for the beginner and intermediate modelers that hasn’t worked with vacuformed canopies before. (like me). You might want make a copy of the clear parts just in case. I know I will, after learning how to do this.

PE Parts and decals

The PE consists of seat belts, engine intake covers, instrument panel and the rudder pedals. These parts are quite manageable even by PE hating people like me. Not a lot of folding is involved, you only have to drape the belts around the pilot’s seat. The parts look well made, and the kit comes with a plastic film that has the cockpit dials printed on it.

The decals are a bit sparse, just a few Red Stars and nothing more. They are however well-printed and in register with a normal looking carrier film. I don’t think these decals will give you any problems. I just wish there were more decals. (Now thats a complaint you won’t hear much from me!)

Conclusion

This is a kit for the more experienced modeller, the lack of locating pins, resin and PE parts could pose a challenge to anyone just starting out in this hobby. If you have worked with resin and PE before this kit looks like it will be a breeze to build.

Score

8/10

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