Hobby Boss Romanian IAR-80

One of three major aircraft manufacturers created and subsidized by the Romanian Government between 1923 and 1932, Industria Aeronautică Română (IAR) is the only one that still survives to this day in the same location at Braşov.

The IAR-80 single-seat low wing fighter came about during a period of Romanian Air Force (ARR) history when Polish PZL designs were always favoured. IAR put up a number of designs in competition during the pre-war period which saw the acceptance of the IAR-80 in 1937, when work on the prototype began. A nice looking aircraft, the original design featured an open cockpit and powered provided by a 870hp IAR K14-III C32 14-cylinder double-row radial which was a work of art in its own right. Work on the prototype was carried out at a steady pace and the fighter did not make its maiden flight until April 12, 1939. Performance was good, although lagged behind the Supermarine Spitfire and Messerschmitt Bf 109 but was, however, equally as manoeuvrable. The prototype was subjected to a number of modifications, the most significant being a 930hp version of the same K14-III engine, designated as the C36. A heavier unit, the aircraft need to be extended in the rear fuselage to ensure the centre of gravity returned to its rightful place. The roomier rear fuselage could now accommodate an extra 100 –gallon fuel tank, thus increasing range. The downside to this modification was that it did little to improve the pilot’s visibility, a common problem in big tail draggers which was partly rectified by raising the pilot’s seat and installing a bubble canopy.

Once complete, the final prototype was tested against the Heinkel He 112 which was in the frame for a large order from the ARR. However, the ARR plumbed for the IAR-80, ordering 100 in December 1939 compared to just 30 He 112s. A further 100 were ordered in 1940, 100 more in two batches in 1941 and April 1942, another 100 in May 1942, 35 IAR-81C in February 1943 and a final 15 in January 1944. The IAR-80 remained in front line service until 1944 and in the second line until 1945 when Soviet types took over.

This Hobby Boss kit is a very nice representation of this aesthetically pleasing fighter and is a new tool from late 2016. Once the typically tight-fitting lid has been released of its grip, the purchaser is greeted with four carefully bagged sprues, two of them with extra foam protection, a small sheet of PE and a very nice, crisp set of decals. A standard black and white A4, eight page instruction booklet is provided, guiding the builder through twelve stages. The build is traditional, beginning with cockpit which benefits from a five pieces of PE, four of them being the pilot’s straps. A dry fit of the fuselage halves is encouraging and the lower wing section gives the perfect low dihedral of just two degrees. The twin-row engine deserves some exposure if the aircraft is presented on the ground, although, personally, the IAR-80 looks no better with everything tucked away, fully clean in its natural airborne environment.

A nice and busy decal sheet provides everything from the cockpit instruments to some vibrant ARR markings which was the only air force the IAR-80 served with. A separate double-sided colour sheet presents two examples of the IAR-80 in Romanian service, one of which displays the four-leaf clover (decal included) of Grupul 6, circa 1943.  

This is a cracking, uncomplicated kit of an unusual subject that your traditional warbird builder should consider as part of his/her collection. Highly recommended and thanks very much to Creative Models for our sample which is available from www.creativemodels.co.uk


Product: Construction kit

Ref: 81757

Scale: 1/48

Parts: 59 + 5 PE

Price: £23.99 (Creative Models)

Manufacturer: Hobby Boss

Website: www.hobbyboss.com