An-12 Cub port side

Antonov An-12 Cub AviAnt, UR-21510

By Vladimir Kuligin, Ukraine
Roden, 1/72

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Building the An-12 Model - A Ukrainian Aviation Classic

For quite some time, I've harbored the desire to assemble a model of the An-12 in its civilian, commercial version—a stalwart aircraft with a rich history in Ukraine. My choice for this endeavor was a kit from Roden, complemented by photo-etching from ACE, decals from BS modelle, and the trusted Arcus Hobby Colors for that perfect finish.

About the Aircraft:

The An-12, known as "Cub" in NATO classification, emerged from the design offices of O.K. Antonov (Antonov Design Bureau). Conceived as a military transport aircraft for the Soviet Air Force, it took its inaugural flight in 1957. Over the years, the An-12 underwent numerous upgrades, resulting in 40 variations. A total of 1242 An-12s of different modifications were produced across three Soviet plants. China, under the designation Y-8, also manufactured 183 units. The An-12 stands as a high-wing monoplane of an all-metal construction, featuring a single vertical tail and retractable landing gear. Powered by four AI-20 turboprop engines, it boasts a range of 40 modifications and several specialized systems for safe flight and diverse operations.

History of An-12 UR-21510

Opting for a Ukrainian touch, I acquired decals from BS modelle, selecting the UR-21510 variant. Built in 1960, it served in the Soviet Air Force until 1989. Post the USSR dissolution, it found its way to the Antonov Design Bureau, eventually sporting the UR-21510 registration and flying with AviAnt (Antonov Airlines) until 2008. In February 2022, it was damaged in a Russian airborne attack on the Gostomel airfield, alongside the An-225 "Mriya" and other Antonov aircraft.

Antonov An-12 Cub after the Russian invasion of Gostomel Airfield, 2022
An-12 UR-21510 at Gostomel airfield after fending off a Russian attack. The photo shows traces of shelling, scattered fragments, the plane has damaged and missing nacelles. Russia has brought war and ruin to Ukraine.
Photo by the Security Service of Ukraine, Antonov An-12 Cub at Gostomel Airfield, 2022
Another photo of An-12 UR-21510, but from a different angle. This picture is courtesy of the Security Service of Ukraine.

The Kit:

Roden's kit offers versatility, allowing the construction of both military and civilian versions in various modifications. The completed model boasts impressive dimensions, posing a challenge for modelers both in assembly and display, measuring 47.9 cm in length and 52.8 cm in width.

Roden 048 Antonov An-12 1/72 scale model kit
Artwork of the Roden's An-12 kit with the civilian livery version.

Building Antonov An-12

Commencing with the cockpit and cargo hold elements, I painted them in a dark gray shade using Dark Sea Gray from the RAF palette, as Arcus lacked the original gray for this aircraft. Subsequently, major components like wings, stabilizers, and engine nacelles were assembled. The final assembly involved the meticulous painting of smaller details.

Painting Process:

After priming, a simple black preshading was applied to enhance details. Following the standard from light to dark, I started with the primary color—white. The lower part of the aircraft featured a light blue hue with a distinct purplish tint, accurately captured using MAP Azure Blue from the British palette.

Maintaining elements of the traditional An-12 livery, the dark blue cheatline ran along the fuselage and engine nacelles, matching the blue on the decal cheatline and other elements. For the cheatline, MAP Matt Blue closely resembled the color in the decals. To simulate the blackened areas on the wing behind the engine gondolas, Jet Black was applied.

The Antonov An-12's engine exhausts
The exhaust outlets of the turboprop engine. Black paint was applied to hide the exhaust tails behind the nacelles.

The front edges of the wings, tail, and stabilizer were of a shiny, unpainted metal. Shiny Aluminum from the Arcus palette served well for these parts. The An-12 livery featured bright red elements on wingtips, stabilizers, and the rudder, painted with German RAL 3000.

Final Touch:

After applying a glossy finish, decals were added, followed by another layer of gloss to ensure a neat appearance. A dark gray wash using RAL 7043 acrylic paint was then applied to the entire model. Excess wash was carefully removed, and the model received a final coat of semi-matte lacquer.

With the masks removed from transparent parts, tiny details attached, and the antenna thread in place, the finished model proudly took its place on my shelf.

Thanks to the folks at Arcus Hobby Colors for their fantastic paints—I've been using them for years and wholeheartedly recommend them to all my fellow modelers.


The Model:

The Antonov An-12 built scale model
The built model An-12 looks very elegant and gracious. The game was worth the candle!
Antonov An-12 model 3/4 port view
Because of its impressive size, the 1/72 scale An-12 model is quite difficult to shoot.
Elegant and mighty Antonov An-12
The model is quite heavy and the landing gear struts are quite thin. To prevent the model from falling on its tail, the ramp is made in the released position.
Antonov An-12 port side
On the starboard side I decided to open the cabin door and attach the ladder.
Antonov An-12 cockpit glazing
A close up of the cockpit glazing. It turned out to be quite complicated because of the large number of frames and rounded corners. It is also worth noting the glazing of the navigator's cockpit, as the airplane was originally designed for military needs.
Antonov An-12 propellers
The bright blue propellers with silver anti-icing elements are eye-catching.
Antonov An-12 starboard view
Starboard view of the An-12 model.
Antonov An-12 tail turret
The tail of the An-12 also clearly traces the airplane's military roots. You can see the tail gunner's position with a turret, the guns of which were removed, but the structure itself remained.
Antonov An-12 flares
The decoy flare assemblies clearly seen above the ramp were also preserved. Those helped defend against Stinger missiles in the Afghan skies.
Antonov An-12 Aviant ads with contacts
That's exactly how ads work. On the fuselage in a huge font are the contacts of the AviAnt transportation company.
Antonov An-12 wing leading edge
Close-up of the metal leading edge of the wing. I love the Arcus metallics, they look like real metal. No particles even if you look at it closely.
Arcus paints in front of the Antonov An-12 model
My little helpers. Colors used for the An-12 paintwork.
An-12 wing undersurfaces
Lower surfaces of the An-12 wing. Black areas behind the turboprop nacelles are clearly visible.
An-12 front landing gear strut
A close up view of the nose landing gear strut. It is also worth noting the huge bulb for radio equipment under the navigator's cockpit.
An-12 main landing gear struts
Main landing gear struts. As with the nose struts, the main landing gear doors are closed at the ground and are only opened when the landing gear is released or retracted.
An-12 loading ramp
A close-up view of the loading ramp. An-12s were usually loaded from the tail end of the fuselage.
An-12 tail
The tail of the An-12 is probably the most colorful and challenging element to paint.
An-12 engine nacelles
Though, the An-12 nacelles were the most difficult to paint.
Arcus colors used for painting An-12
Another team photo with paint and model. Many thanks to the folks at Arcus for their work.
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