IL-2 Modelling Guide

Discussion in 'Painting Questions, Tutorials and Guidebooks' started by Venganza, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. Venganza

    Venganza Member

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    #1 Venganza, Jan 27, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
    Editor's Note: In the ensuing year and a half since I first posted this, further research has revealed that the medium brown color was never used on the Shturmovik - it should be black.

    IL-2 Single-Seater

    General Information

    The Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmovik, designed by the Soviet engineer Sergei Vladimirovich Ilyushin, was a single-engined, armored ground attack airplane that was produced in greater numbers than any other warplane in history – 36,163 according to Soviet sources, and was instrumental in helping defeat the German forces on the Eastern Front. The single-seater was the first IL-2 or Shturmovik to go into production, in 1941 (Shturmovik was a general term for Soviet ground-attack planes, like the term “Stuka”, it became associated with a single plane, in this case the IL-2). One thing to remember about the IL-2’s in general – there never were any official designations other than “IL-2”. Designations such as “IL-2M” or “IL-2m3” are Western constructs, although they have gained wide currency in the West and are even seen in Eastern publications and model descriptions. The single-seat IL-2 was unofficially known as the “Gorbak”, which means “humpback” in Russian, because of the raised cockpit position. There were three main variants of the single-seat IL-2, which differed not in shape or planform, but in construction. One of the variants was all-metal, with an all-metal surface covering (except the control surfaces, which were metal structure with fabric covering). This version, although represented in the Toko and Academy kits, was not very common. Much more common were the versions with the wooden rear fuselage, either in combination with the metal-covered outer wings (as represented by the nice Smer kits), or with wooden-covered outer wings (as represented by the very hard-to-get DakoPlast kits). Both of the wooden rear fuselage versions were commonly used, and can be told apart in photographs by the small balances near the wingtips of the metal-covered wing versions, which were never present on the wooden-covered wing versions. Below are drawings of the three main production variants of the Gorbak:

    All-metal:

    [​IMG]

    Wooden-fuselage, metal wing (note the anti-flutter balances near the wingtip):

    [​IMG]

    Wooden-fuselage, wooden-wing:

    [​IMG]

    In the winter of 1941-42, some IL-2’s were fitted with retractable skis. Although the installation worked surprisingly well, with only a 7mph speed penalty, it was soon found that wheeled IL-2’s could land perfectly well on packed snow, so no further ski-equipped conversions were made and the ski-equipped versions were presumably re-equipped with wheels. Below are a drawing and photograph:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In an attempt to provide some rear protection for IL-2’s, which were suffering severe losses to the Luftwaffe, there were field modifications to provide a rudimentary rear gunner position. These modifications consisted of nothing more than a hole cut immediately aft of the canopy, and a gun mount salvaged from some other plane, such as an R-5 reconnaissance plane or SB bomber. This gun position could mount one or two SHKAS machine guns (7.62mm - .30 caliber) or less commonly a single Berezin machine gun (12.7 mm - .50 caliber). Over a thousand such modifications were made in the field and HR, a Czech manufacturer, has a nice conversion set available in 1/72nd scale (unless otherwise noted, when I mention kits or decals, I’m referring to 1/72nd scale). Below is a drawing of the field-modified version with a single SHKAS:

    [​IMG]

    All of the above drawings and photograph come from the Russian magazine Voena V Vozdukhe.

    Painting

    The standard early WWII (or GPW in Soviet parlance) camouflage was black and green over sky blue. The topsides were painted with alternating bands of black and green, although there doesn’t seem to be any standard application of these bands.

    Pictures are from the Modelling the Aircraft of the VVS site – http//:vvv.hobbyvista.com, an excellent resource for anyone attempting GPW aircraft.

    Here is a depiction of the common green and black over blue camouflage, also from the Modelling the Aircraft of the VVS site:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Like many GPW planes, during the winter a temporary white finish, sometimes called distemper paint – evidently some kind of whitewash, was applied over the normal camouflage. Here is where things get even more complicated. There seems to have been no real standards as to how the white was applied. Although it is common to see the white applied to the entire topsides, this was by no means always done, and if done, was done with different results. Sometimes the white was applied relatively evenly and can be represented with a white overcoat in a model, with perhaps some of the underlying green and black, or green and brown showing through in spots. Other times the white was applied very roughly, with the normal camouflage showing through in many places. As with any paint schemes you attempt on the IL-2, consult photographs where available. There are a lot of beautifully done color profiles and three-views of the IL-2, many of them wrong, or just guesses. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is on many of the IL-2 versions, you’re going to have to do some guessing on how exactly the paint was applied. Below are examples of the IL-2 in color profile, including some in winter camouflage:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    These profiles are from the airwar.ru site, who evidently obtained them from some unknown Czech source.

    Insignia

    The standard Soviet insignia was of course the red star. The star was always applied to the undersides of the wing, but not the topsides (except pre-GPW), and could appear on the fuselage or the tail, or both. The star appeared in several different versions. The pre-war and some early GPW IL-2’s had a star with a thin black outline. These were not that common. Much more common were the stars with the white outline, sometimes referred to as “Victory Stars” if they also had a red outline around the white outline. Some stars apparently had a thin yellow outline, instead of white, although it’s very hard to tell from the black and white photographs (I’ve seen hundreds of photos of IL-2’s, but I’ve never seen a wartime photo in color). A fancier version, based on the stars appearing over the Kremlin, were not surprisingly called “Kremlin Stars”. Below are versions of the different types of stars:

    [​IMG]

    This is a scan of the Eagle Strike Productions decal set.

    In addition to the stars, most Soviet planes had a tactical number (called a “bort” in Russian) either on the fuselage or on the tailplane, or both. These could be in black, white, yellow, red, or even in silver (I don’t believe the silver numbers were very common).

    Individual Markings

    As might be expected with an airplane that was produced in over 36,000 examples, the number of individual markings is tremendous. There doesn’t seem to have been any specific prohibition against personal markings, and they were very common. As with the paint scheme and insignia, the best bet is to try and find a photo of the aircraft you want to do. Common markings were patriotic slogans such as Za Rodinu! (For the Motherland!) and Za Stalina (For Stalin!). Below are a few examples of some of the more interestingly marked (and camouflaged) Gorbaks:

    [​IMG]

    These drawings are from AML’s excellent decal set for the single-seater.

    I will continue to update this posting as additional information comes to light, including any corrections and additions readers of this post may come up with. Comments are certainly welcome and I hope this little guide will be of some use to you as you enter the interesting and sometimes frustrating world of modelling the Shturmovik.

    Text All Rights Reserved Copyright JNM 2009
     
  2. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Very good beginning.:D
     
  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Nice work V. Given me a good insight into Russian aircraft of the period, thank you.
     
  4. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Not a modler but still an interesting read.
     
  5. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    Very nice!
     
  6. Venganza

    Venganza Member

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    Thank you, everybody! Catch22's helping me with the images, so once I get them loaded it will be a proper posting. I think you'll like the pictures.

    Venganza
     
  7. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Ok. :D Waiting.
     
  8. Venganza

    Venganza Member

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    There you go, Wurger. All done (for now).

    Venganza
     
  9. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    I see you got the pictures in, very nice work!
     
  10. Venganza

    Venganza Member

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    Thank you, Catch! Thanks for the help.

    Venganza
     
  11. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    No problem!
     
  12. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Bl**dy nice work! looking forward to the next installment. Please do include, if you can, bits and bobs for 1/48....:oops:
     
  13. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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  14. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    great job Venganza
     
  15. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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  16. Venganza

    Venganza Member

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    Thanks all! And Lucky13, I specifically said the models and decals that I mentioned were 1/72nd scale because I didn't want to get your hopes up. I will try and include some references to 1/48th scale kits and decals - that's not too hard as the only game in town is the Accurate Miniatures kits and their repackagings by Eduard and Italeri. I don't know if you've seen the kits, but they are very good. On the Modelling the Aircraft of the Soviet VVS site I mentioned, they have some very nice built-up 1/48th scale models of the Accurate Miniatures kits, which I believe cover two variants of the IL-2 - the single-seater (which kit I have somewhere), and the arrow (two-seater with swept-back wings). Here's the link - Modeling the VVS: Il-2 Models in 1/48th Scale.

    Venganza
     
  17. 109ROAMING

    109ROAMING Active Member

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    Very good info here!

    Thanks for the hard work!
     
  18. Venganza

    Venganza Member

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    Thanks, mate! I should soon have the 2nd installment up regarding the IL-2 two-seater with straight wings.

    Venganza
     
  19. Venganza

    Venganza Member

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    #19 Venganza, Feb 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
    Editor's Note: In the ensuing year and a half since I first posted this, further research has revealed that the medium brown color was never used on the Shturmovik - it should be black, or more normally with the two-seaters, the aircraft was finished in green, tan, and dark grey over light blue.

    IL-2 Two-Seater (Straight-Wing)

    As originally designed, the IL-2 was a two-seater, with a rear gunner enclosed in the armor shell that protected the pilot and engine. Indeed, the first prototype first flew as a two-seater (TskB-55). The first prototype was modified as a single-seater (TskB-57) and as a single-seater the IL-2 entered production in 1941. During operations in 1941 and 1942 however, it soon became apparent that the IL-2 was especially vulnerable to attacks from the rear, where lacking a rear gunner, German airplanes could sneak up on the Shturmovik unnoticed and shoot up the unamored and often wooden fuselage. Efforts to rectify this led to field modifications, as outlined in the section above, and soon Ilyushin was asked looked at how to tackle this on the production line. Instead of the fully enclosed and fully armored position of the TskB-55 prototype, in an effort not to cause too great a disruption on the production lines, Ilyushin settled on a relatively straightforward modification of the single-seater, in which the rear gunner had rear and back armor, a semi-enclosed glass covering, and a simple strap to sit on, with a single Berezin 12.7mm heavy machine gun for defense. This version passed state trials and went into production in 1942, at first being produced alongside the single-seater before replacing it completely in the three factories where the IL-2 was being produced at the time (Zavod 1, Zavod 18, and Zavod 30). An important point to remember if you wish to do a version with the 37mm cannons is that these were apparently only produced as two-seater straight-wingers (an example of which you may see in the color profiles below), although there is a Zvezda kit which includes the cannons with a swept-wing version – this is incorrect. (There were a handful of experimental single-seaters with a different 37mm installation that did see some trial use combat use, but these never went into large-scale production). There is some controversy over the outer-wing covering. Some sources state that the outer-wing covering was always wooden, whereas at least one source, The Ilyushin IL-2 and Ilyushin IL-10 Shturmovik, by Yefim Gordon and Sergey Komissarov, states that Zavod 18 may have always produced their airplanes with metal-covered outer-wings. The photographic evidence is usually inconclusive regarding this (although I have seen one photo which clearly shows a straight-winged two-seater with metal-wings) and each modeller will have to consult with their reference material to determine how to finish their model. It would appear, however, that most two-seat IL-2 straight-wingers had a wooden outer-wing covering and it may be safest, if the evidence is inconclusive, to go with the wooden outer-wing (which means sanding off or filling in the panel-lines if your kit represents a metal-winged version).

    Below is a drawing of a wooden-wing two-seater:

    [​IMG]

    In examining photographs of a two-seater that crashed into Lake Balaton in Hungary in 1945, I have come across evidence that the metal covering extended further out than normally thought, at least in this example. Below are pictures of the Lake Balaton IL-2, and a drawing showing the revised panel lines:

    [​IMG]

    Photograph from Airliners.net | Airplanes - Aviation - Aircraft- Aircraft Photos News.

    Drawing with revised panel lines:

    [​IMG]

    The two-seater drawings are from IL-2 Shturmovik Guards Units from WWII (the addition of the revised panel lines is my invention), by Oleg Rastrinin.

    In this example, the metal panelling extends outward from the strap that normally marked the division between the metal and wooden-covering. As far as I know, this extended metal-covering has never been noted before. If you look at the photograph, the outer-wing structure is gone, except for the wing spars, indicating that the outer structure consisted of metal spars, with wooden ribs, stringers, and covering (somewhat like an La-7). The spars themselves, from the corrosion pattern appear to be of steel and aluminum. Unfortunately, at this time I am unable to reconstruct the paint scheme for this particular example.

    Painting

    The two-seat straight-winger was normally finished in the early black and green over blue, or in a green, tan, and dark grey over blue paint scheme, the so-called "3-color scheme". In addition, as with the single-seater, white distemper paint was applied over the normal camouflage in winter. Also note the profile of the 37mm armed example.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    These profiles are from the airwar.ru site, and are from some unknown Czech source.

    Insignia
    (see section on IL-2 - Single-Seater for examples.) The two-seater would have used all of the same stars, except for the pre-GPW black-surround stars.

    Individual Markings

    See the color profiles above for some examples of individual markings. As with the single-seaters, many two-seaters carried individual markings.

    Text All Rights Reserved Copyright JNM 2009
     
  20. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    Very nice, I need to get going on the next part of mine.
     
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