The Beriev Be-6 (USAF/DoD reporting name "Type 34", NATO reporting name "Madge") was a flying boat produced by the Soviet Beriev OKB. It was capable of accomplishing a wide variety of missions, such as long-range maritime reconnaissance, coastal and supply line patrols, torpedo/bombing strikes, mine-laying, and transport operations. The aircraft was of all-metal construction except for fabric covering the rudders and ailerons. The fuselage was divided into eight watertight compartments to improve survivability. The engines were installed in the bends of the wings, with the floats on an under wing cantilever rack. Each float was divided into four watertight compartments.
The Be-6 was built from 1949 to 1957 at the Beriev plant in Taganrog. The aircraft had 19 variants through its production cycle, and 123 aircraft were eventually built. Since requirements of Soviet naval aircraft did not change rapidly, the reliable Be-6 remained in service until the late 1960s. Some aircraft ended service as civilian unarmed transports in Arctic regions. One survivor is preserved at the Ukraine State Aviation Museum in Kiev, Ukraine. Beriev Be-6s operated by the Peoples Republic of China PLANAF proved useful in patrolling the long coastline and huge territorial waters off China's coast. During the 1970s the original Shvetsov radial engines began to wear out with no replacements available, so several aircraft were re-engined with Wopen WJ-6 turboprop engines, in new nacelles, for a new lease of life and were redesignated Qing-6.
The Trumpeter kit comes in a tray
type top open box made from thin corrugated cardboard and has nice
artwork on the top cover. Inside we find six sprue frames molded in a
medium gray color and one large and two small sprue frames of clear
parts. All sprues are contained in their own plastic bags and in
addition the clear parts have thin foam wrapped over the most delicate
parts. Trumpeter gets high marks for packaging. The parts feature
recessed panel lines which are a lot finer than has been the norm of
late for 1/72 scale kits. There are some raised details where
applicable but no rivets recessed or raised and with Trumpeter that is
usually a blessing. The surface finish is matte and feels smooth to the
touch but when seen close up appears to have a slight graininess to it
but from experience this will disappear under a coat of paint. Parts
are molded cleanly and free of flash. I found no surface molding
blemishes on any of the airframe parts in my kit. There are numerous
ejector pin marks on the inside of the fuselage but there is no molded
structure which will make them easier to fill. This is a bit surprising
considering the amount of interior detail supplied in the kit. They
seemed to have avoided this issue on the interior parts themselves by
use of extra molding tabs around the outside of the parts. I did fine
one small sink mark on one of the interior bulkheads but it will not be
visible enough to bother fixing it. The first sprue shown below
contains the fuselage (hull) halves and much of the interior detailing
parts. The instrument panel has a good level of detail for the scale
with both raised and recessed detail. Also included is one of the guns
, a couple turret parts and exhausts and intakes for the engines.
The clear parts are moderately thin and clear but are small so seeing all the supplied interior detail will be difficult.
The decals are thin, glossy, in register and have minimal clear film except for the large numbers. No stencillings are supplied. An instrument panel decal is supplied but I don't think there is anyway it would fit over the raised detail on the panel without removing most of it. Water line stripes are supplied but look like they would be challenging to apply as a single piece. Markings are supplied for two aircraft, one in Soviet service and one in Chinese service. My experience with Trumpeter decals has been mostly good.
The instructions are contained in an A4 size booklet in the landscape format and stapled at the spine. The front page has basic assembly and decal instructions and an icon chart. Page two is a parts map. Assembly diagrams start on page three and continue through the end of the booklet with 23 assembly steps. Some color call outs are scattered through the instructions referencing Mr. Hobby paint colors. Call outs are a bit hit or miss and a good reference would be helpful. A separate painting and marking guide is supplied on a glossy sheet printed on both sides in color and it features a color chart which crosses Mr. Hobby colors to Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol but not all colors have cross references.
After Market Goodies
I have not run across any yet.
This looks to be a very nice kit and all reports I have read state that the fit is very good. I have had good luck with all of my Trumpeter builds and found them to be most enjoyable so will recommend this one. I would like to find some in depth information on the aircraft itself.
Links to kit build or reviews
I found one in box review here
The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft by Bill Gunston
the Flying Boats page