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Revell Antonov An-225 Mriya

Review of the 1/144 scale airliner kit with great decals that fit perfectly
RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT | AIRLINER
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The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a strategic airlift cargo plane designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in Ukraine in the 1980s. Powered by six turbofan engines, the single finished Mriya is the heaviest aircraft ever built with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tons and a 290-foot wingspan. Even in 1/144 scale, it is a big airplane — over 2 feet in wingspan and slightly less in length — so set aside some major display space.

Packed in a large box, the parts are nicely molded with fine panel lines and little flash, however, there are some sink marks on the main fuselage. The upper and lower wing parts are fragile near the trailing edge, so be careful handling them.

The kit also provides two sheets consisting of 55 decals each. Good thinking, Revell.

There’s also a 31-page instruction booklet with 94 steps, some of which might not be used, depending on what version you build. However, there are helpful color-coded guides to help builders differentiate between the four build versions.

Version 1 is the in-flight build and is the quickest and easiest. It saves you 32 wheels, 20 gear struts and six doors along with the loading ramp assembly. I built version 2, with wheels down and cargo bay closed. Version 3 has the nose door open to reveal the detailed cargo bay, and version 4 has the door open with the aircraft kneeling forward and the ramp extended.

Inner fuselage assembly goes well through Step 6 but must be aligned exactly so that the outer fuselage pieces fit while leaving the least amount of gaps to fill. You may have to sand or slightly file parts 60-63 on the outer surfaces to get the outer fuselage pieces (10, 11, 18, and 44), to fit properly with no large gaps. This was the build’s most difficult segment. I used rubber bands to hold the four outer fuselage pieces to the inner frame so I could tell where I needed to adjust fit.

In Steps 28 and 29 I had to adjust the fit of the wing before cementing so there would be no gaps. A little sanding of part 16 did the trick. There is no need to add nose weights as the model sits nose wheel down with no problems. If you are building an open-door version, I suggest putting parts 80, 81, and 82 in at Step 6 to make the build easier.

I also assembled, painted, and put decals on the engines and rudders before attaching them to the airframe. There are a lot, so pay close attention to pages 28-29 in the instructions.

I then used Testors Model Master semigloss white enamel, over sprayed with Pledge Floor Gloss (PFG) to help when applying decals. I started with nose decals, first cutting a small extra slice between the ones that were already on the sheet to make it easier and better to aid in wrapping the decal around the curve of the nose piece. That was followed by Micro Set and Micro Sol.

For the rest of the long pieces, I followed the side view of the decal instructions exactly. The decals were thick and didn’t fall apart, although some did silver from not applying enough PFG.

I then masked the bottom of the fuselage, taking care to keep a white gap line between the dark blue decal that almost runs the fuselage’s full length. For masking, I used removable clear wall-safe tape to keep the decals from lifting, which still happened in spots. A big thank you to Revell for the spare decal sheet. It was needed.
I then applied Testors gloss light blue (RM11081) enamel to the plane’s underside.

Overall this build took about 55 hours, but there still may be some gap filling needed in spots on the fuselage.

The kit is well engineered and produces  an impressive model. Photo-etched ladders and ramp details would help if you were to build the open-door version and the An-225 would be an excellent diorama subject. I recommend this kit for experienced builders. 


Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2019 issue.

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