PZL 23 Karaś was the most important light bomber of the Polish Air Force at the outbreak of war. IBG have just released its first variant, the "A", which in 1939 was used mostly in the flying schools.
The kit is moulded in beige styrene on two bigger sprues and few smaller (which sometimes contains just two parts). Of course there is also a separate sprue with clear plastic parts for cockpit glazing, windows or landing lights lenses. What is more, producer have included also a small PE fret with interior details of the radio frame, bombardier seat and gun-sights. Surprisingly there are no seatbelts on the fret which detail is also omitted on the plastic parts.
Parts are moulded very nicely. Ejector pin marks are located outside the parts or in places which will not be visible after assembly. Delicate joint lines of the moulds are visible only on few parts: wheel tyres, bombs corpses and engine nacelle. These imperfections should be easy to remove after short sanding and polishing, however on the engine nacelle it runs in the place separating the Townend ring from the nacelle so you will also need to re-scribe the demarcation line between them.
Details are really nice, sharp and subtle where there should be. Engraved panel lines are accompanied by raised rivets or bolts heads, very delicate anti-skidding surface on the wing and fabric covering of the landing gear nacelles. This is a very strong point on the kit. Also there is a very good level of smallest details. Fuselage halves are moulded with the interior details including ribs and frames, some pouches and radio/electrical devices which I liked very much. Careful painting and highlighting details will surely do a good job if you wish to build the model just out of the box. As far as I have heard some of the customers are a bit dissappointed with a simplified engine replica because the pusher rods are moulded together with the cylinders. For me this detail is good enough as it will be barely visible through the front cover. Those who will decide to remove the covers will anyway need to use some resin aftermarket set, which provides much better level of details in comparison to any plastic injection kit. What, in my opinion, is a bit to much simplified is the pilot instrument panel. The plastic part is just a plain insert fitted into a fuselage. All the dials and gauges are printed on the decal, however the decal is also very simplified. The only hope is to scratch this detail or supply it from some PE or resin leftover from other sets.
The kit represents the PZL 23A variant, which was initial production version built in the number of about 40 examples. Most of the planes seen in line in late 1930's were “B's” which had some improvements and changes in comparison to its predecessor. IBG
declares to release another kit with the B version later this year so let's just focus on the kit which is available today. The A type was produced with wing slats near the fuselage. These details are moulded in the kit together with the upper wing halves and represent only “retracted” configuration. Cutting, sanding, and scratchbuilding will be required if you wish to make them opened. A great feature of the kit is a multiple option of the landing gear configuration. You can assembly it with or without nacelles (which were often removed in field) and in few variants seen on photos (differing with the presence or absence of small formation lights) so you will not need to cut or scratch anything to build your favourite option.
Instructions are plain and easy to follow. Drawing are 3D renders. Before printing producer have ommited two steps and messed up a bit with numbering of parts in comparison to the sprues so you will need to check the errata added as a separate sheet. All descriptions are bi-lingual, Polish and English, so it's easy to catch up what is wrong and how to fix it.
Painting scheme is printed in colour and clearly shows the camouflage of the particular plane details and sections. Although you can see just one plane on the scheme there are two options for finishing, differing with few details in stenciling and emblems. The plane represented in the scheme is “white 8” used in the Cadet Flying School in Dęblin and you can finish it as seen in September 1939 oraz earlier.
Decals are pm a small sheet with national marking, individual plane markings and stencils. It was printed by Techmod, which is a well know Polish decal producer. Decal film is very thin with sharp details and contours of markings, printed without any register or misalignment of colours.
Finally, after almost 40 years of waiting since we saw the PZL 23 kit released in 1:72 scale by Heller, we got a brand new model kit of this beautiful air plane, designed and moulded according to the current standards. Its build straight from the box should be a great pleasure. If you wish to make a more detailed version just take a bit more patience and wait for the aftermarket improvements. It will be another great pleasure to see the scale representatives of this significant Polish air plane on the model festivals or internet scale modellers forums.
“Polish Wings No.17: PZL.23 Karaś; PZL.42/PZL.43; PZL.46 Sum” by Stratus Publishing
Many thanks to Mercurius for providing the review sample.
Link to item on supplier website