Kit No. 72001
Decals: One version
Comments: Engraved panel lines, photo-etch parts for cockpit, landing gear, and bombs
The famed Ilyushin Il–2 Sturmovik is a well-known Soviet attack aircraft of the Second World War, but what is less well-known is that the Sturmovik had an effective competitor throughout its WWII career on the Eastern Front, in the form of a product of the Sukhoi Design Bureau. The Sukhoi Su-6 was an armoured ground attack aircraft employed as a strategic back-up in case of trouble with the Il-2.
In 1938, the OKB Ilyushin and Sukhoi agencies were commissioned to create an armoured attack aircraft. During the development stage, Sukhoi made use of its previous experience in building the Su-2. The engine for the new attack aircraft was the new, double-radial 18-valve, M-71 designed by A.D. Shvetsov producing 2000 hp. The Su-6 prototype was a sturdy monoplane design with massive armouring of the front fuselage and engine. The plane was a single-seater only because its anticipated role was the protection of interceptors. The Su-6 was armed with two 23mm anti-tank cannon and two 7.62mm machine guns. A towed glider version was completed relatively soon, but there were significant problems with the untested M-71 engine. Test flights of the SU-6 began in January 1941, at a time when the Il-2 Sturmovik had already been approved for production. For that reason, the Il-2 was introduced as the standard Soviet Air Force attack aircraft, with the Su-6 being designated as an “emergency” attack aircraft — a back-up to the Sturmovik.
In 1942, the Soviet State Defence Committee ordered a competition between two-seater versions of the Il-2 and the Su-6. The Su-6 was redesigned as a two-seater with a rear gunner’s position and a movable UBT 12.7mm machine gun for rear defense. In addition, two heavy wing-mounted 37mm anti-tank cannon were installed, while the existing 7.62mm SKAS machine guns remained in the wing. The type was designated Su-6 (2A). Although the Commisison for State Testing was keen on the performance of the Su-6 and the plane surpassed the Sturmovik in speed, climb and manueverability, the Il-2 won the competition again in its Il-2m3 version, due mainly to the fact that there were efficiencies to be had in keeping the Il-2 line in production with minor changes.
In 1943, a new bid was put out for an attack aircraft. Sukhoi again entered competition, this time with a re-designed airframe equipped with an in-line 12-valve AM-42 engine produced by A.A. Mikulin and capable of 2000 hp. Full metal wings were combined with lighter, more efficient Volkov-Jarcev 23mm anti-tank cannon, and the overall weight of the plane was reduced. This gave the Su-6 AM-42 the ability to carry an increased bomb load of up to 60 kg (132 lbs.). However, the winner was Ilyushin again with its Il-10, whose technological, aerodynamic and fighting properties were qualitatively higher than Sukhoi’s Su-6 AM-42. Again, the Su-6 AM-42 did not go into production and only six prototypes were tested and flown.
Valom’s Su-6 AM-42 is molded in grey and consists of 44 injection molded parts, plus two vacuform canopies and a photo-etch fret with parts for the instrument panel, gunsight, seat straps, bomb brackets and fins, and components of the landing gear. The cockpit has a separately molded seat, control stick, and rudder pedals. There is a film for the instrument panel, and as the kit represents a prototype, the decals consist only of red stars.
Overall one gets the impression of a fairly detailed kit of a would-be competitor to the Ilyushin line of Soviet attack aircraft. Highly recommended.