Romania’s Aeronautical Industry answer for the need of a modern low-wing fighter was IAR-81. When it entered service it was a very modern plane that could easily stand side by side with other planes such as the Me – 109, Hawker Hurricane, P-40, etc. 450 were built in two versions: IAR-80 and IAR-81. The differences between the two were minor such as armament, dive bombing, radio equipment, etc. Both models used the same engine – IAR-14K, which by 1943 was already obsolete compared to what the Allies were throwing in combat. Thus, it was gradually removed from fighter missions and transferred to ground attacks where it was less vulnerable. After WWII it was used until 1955 when it no longer appears in Romanian Military Air Force registers. No original was preserved. Today there are only 2, not very great, replicas at the Military Aviation Museum, Bucharest.
Azur-Frrom IAR-81 is a short-run kit molded in a grey plastic, which is neither too soft, nor too hard. The most important thing is that the transparent cupola of the IAR-81 is, for the first time, correctly done. All the other models in 1:72 or 1:48 scale, except for the Icaraerodesign, have been done wrong. It is also a highly detailed kit, which makes it a very good representation of a 1:32 scale IAR-81. With little work and patience it can become an eye catching IAR-81 model, without using any aftermarkets.
Kit details: item number – FR8001; scale – 1:32; manufacturer – Azur/Frrom; total number of parts – 95; resin parts – 5; photo-etched parts – 15; number of transparent parts – 5; length is ~ 29 cm; wing span – 34,5 cm
The producer offers markings for 5 different IAR-81. 4 were used, by IAR-81, during the Eastern War, from June 1941 to September 1944. One can also find in the kit box one roundel marking, used by Romania between 1944 and 1947. The marking belong to the 61st, 62nd and 67th Squadrons. The Instruction sheet, which is a colored one, offers 16 pages of minute description of every step of assembling the model. So I don’t think that assembling will be a problem for anyone. The producer recommends Gunze color paints, but you can feel free to use Humbrol or Revell equivalents. As a conclusion we can say it is a great model of a IAR-81. The price is a little high, but it’s a rare and interesting subject for this scale, so we highly recommended it.