Soviet BlackJack bomber in 1/72 scale: modelling report using the AModel Tupolev Tu-160
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[Russian AF photo]
Tupolev Tu-160 'Blackjack' is a supersonic intercontinental bomber of the former Soviet Union. It is now operated by Russia and the Ukraine. First flown in 1982, the Tupolev Tu-160 'Blackjack' is a counterpart to the American B-1B. NATO codename is "Black Jack". The Tu-160 is capable of maximum speed of Mach 2.05 or 2200 km/h and has a maximum range of 14000 km. The aircraft has a long blended wing-body design and a variable-geometry wing. It has 4 NK-32 afterburning engines in two fairings below the blended fuselage.
The Black Jack has four man crew that enters the cabin through the front gear bay. The cabin has K-36LM ejection seats. The Tu-160 has a conventional flight deck with 2 pilots and in the back there is the navigator/offensive weapons operator (left) and the navigator/electronic warfare and communications operator (right). Behind in the cabine there is also a galley and a toilet. The weapons are carried in lower central fuselage weapon bays and can comprise of six cruise missiles, or also 24 short-range attack missiles (SRAM) and bombs.
In front of
the windscreen a the retractable inflight refuelling probe is fitted.
wing has three positions: 20 degree sweep for landing, 35 degree for cruise
and 65 degree sweep for high speed flight. A rotatable wing portion/section
is fitted inboard, that forms a vertical plane adding some directional
stability when the wings are fully swept backwards. When the wing is swept
forwards this section is flat and closes the gap to ensure maximum aerodynamic
There are 30 racks with about 250 parts, decals and instructions, all bagged. The kit has many details including a nice cabin section and nice undercarriages. However, no missile/bombbay is supplied as this area is needed for plastic parts to enabling the wings halves to swivel.
Amodel has obtained more experience now with making clean moldings and the connecting gages are not so thick as with their older kits. The kit is not "short run" but also not a normal kit as the plastic is soft and needs cleaning up and sanding to get things to fit right. This makes the kit suitable for experienced modellers only.
NOTE: Trumpeter released a good kit in 2005!
Looking at various real pictures (see references ) , it can be seen that AModel did their homework, The many parts look like the real ones and the model certainly like a Black Jack. It is not a big surprise as AModel comes from Kiev in the Ukraine. With Russia, these countries only operate the Black jack. AModel had thus access to enough information. I rate the accuracy good.
OK, Lets start now!
How to tackle
Forward fuselage section
Some assemblies are seen below in
Major fuselage prep.
Next was preparing the major part like the glassfibre fuselage. It needs cutting and sawing out various lower sections to get wheel bays and the engine pods in place. This is quite a complicated and difficult task. I had to use a household drill to make holes to get a start. After that, a thick saw was needed.
Use a mask to protect your health here!
The wheel bays were cut open and also PART of the centre lower fuselage section. I did NOT cut open the entire length as suggested with the instructions. If you do so, you will loose a lot of strength here.
Only the crossed areas seen in the picture were opened.
The larger opening is only needed in order to fit the wing swivel mechanism, see Step .
Also cut open the engine intakes,
the fibre "triangles" should be removed. I did however NOT cut open the
engine fan slots as these can be fitted in from the rear. Also, the inner
rear engine fairing panels were opened for which parts #73+74 are supplied.
Also open up the wing rotating points.
Fit the swivelling mechanism inside.
After drying time, the main wheel
bays were fitted inside the fuselage.
Fuselage main joint
RedStar, Tu-160, Gordon.
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Created this page : April 4, 2005