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In-Box Review
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by: Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]



The Tu-154 is a 3 engined medium range jetliner that was first introduced into service in 1970. It was seen by Westerners as a copy of the then-popular Boeing 727, but in fact it is slightly larger, more powerful, faster and can be used on unimproved airstrips where the 727 is confined to hard-surfaced runways. The Tu-154 was the workhorse of Aeroflot, making up the bulk of its medium range fleet. It was also an export success, and found its way into the national airlines of many of the Soviet Union's client states. Its noisy engines have prevented it from serving Western Europe in recent years, and with the advent of more fuel-efficient aircraft, the remaining Tu-154s still in service will cease flying by 2016.

First impressions
Details are very crisp and the panel lines are delicately engraved. The plastic is very slightly pebbly, which is something of a trademark for Zvezda. If you're doing a natural metal aircraft it could benefit from a polishing. Since most TU-154s are painted, the texture should not be too much of a problem as it will be dealt with when the primer coat is applied. When I first opened the box I couldn't resist getting out the glue and putting some sub assemblies together. Therefore I will have to resort to borrowing the sprue picture from Zvezda's website.

The fuselage is in two halves complete with the fin and #2 engine intake. This kit is the first airliner kit to offer a complete S duct for the centre engine. It is moulded in two halves, which means that there is a seam to clean up but it is far superior to the gaping void found in most models. The cockpit is in the Heller style, including a portion of the fuselage top. Clear windows are provided. Masking them will be a challenge due to their small size. 3 clear under fuselage windows are provided for the “Open Skies” aircraft. Their locations will have to be opened up before the fuselage is closed if this option is chosen. If the windows are to be left clear, the inside of the fuselage should be painted black to prevent it from looking like a toy. Zvezda recommends 20g of nose weight but there is no bulkhead to keep it confined. The nose wheel well is a separate part which is devoid of detail. AMS sufferers will have some fun in there.

Each wing is offered in two pieces with a choice of plain or the later extended tips. The inboard-most flap hinge fairing is a separate piece; all others are moulded as part of the wing bottom. The fit is good, but not quite good enough to allow the wings to be attached after painting. The lower wings are not full length, and need just a bit of tweaking to fit flush with the portions moulded into the upper wings.

The tailplanes are a one piece moulding which includes a portion of the fin cap. They will have to be glued on before painting, which makes for a tricky masking job.

The #1 and #3 engines are offered in 6 parts which include most of the pylons. There is a portion of the pylon moulded as part of the fuselage which will make cleaning up the seam a little tricky. The intakes and exhausts are one piece, which eliminates the very hard to clean up seams that plague these areas in other models. The #2 engine exhaust and turbine wheel are separate parts which must be attached when the fuselage is closed. The #2 intake fan is given to close off the S duct. It will be partially visible through the intake when viewed from the proper angle.

Landing gear
The landing gear struts and wheels are very nicely moulded. They could benefit from a little extra detail, but they'll look good as-is. As is common with all 1/144 plastic kits, the gear doors are overly thick, and may be replaced if desired. They have fairly large tabs which will make the glue joint stronger than if they were butt-jointed. The kit offers an option for retracted landing gear, plus a clear display stand.

I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it will look like a Tu-154

Decals and markings
This kit offers markings for an Aeroflot aircraft from the early 1990s just prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, an Aeroflot aircraft in the silver and blue scheme it wore through to retirement in 2009, and one from the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre. This last aircraft served as the training aircraft for Buran pilots and also for photographic interpretation and observation from altitude. Later on it was used in the “Open Skies” verification flights. These taskings required cameras to be mounted in the lower fuselage, thus the optional windows in the kit. The decals are matte-finished, reminiscent of early Hobbycraft and ICM decals. I have not used them so I don't know how they will react to being applied. A number of aftermarket schemes are available in case the kit decals don't work. Window decals are not supplied so they will have to be sourced separately if desired. Draw Decals does a sheet.
Highs: The most accurate TU-154 in injection plastic.
Lows: Pebbly texture needs polishing out. A couple of tricky seams to clean up.
Verdict: This kit will build you a very nice Tu-154. If you collect airliners or Russian/Soviet aircraft it's a must-have.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:144
  Mfg. ID: 7004
  Related Link: Sprue photo from Zvezda's Website
  PUBLISHED: Aug 01, 2011

About Is a secret (Jessie_C)

Copyright ©2021 text by Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.


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