Quite a while ago, I bought a plastic model kit. More correctly, a box of several identical plastic model kits; it was a package deal. I knew that it would be useful someday, and that day has finally arrived. These weren’t just any plastic model kits, though. These were models of the Antonov An-24 produced by the Krugozor Toy Factory in Moscow. That’s right, straight from the Soviet Union circa 1970. Like all good Soviet products, this one was centrally planned. The package identifies it as Article MG 085-01-6873 with a price of 1 ruble and 60 kopecks. And just in case you weren’t sure what it was for, it helpfully explains that this is a toy for children from ages 10 to 15. There was none of that “8 and up” crap in the Soviet Union. You would get your plastic model kits starting when you were 10, and they had all better be finished by the time you turned 16. And no one would even think of pulling one over on the Krugozor Toy Factory, either. They had agents everywhere making sure that Article MG 085-01-6873 was used only by children from ages 10 to 15. If you think the Vast Soursop Conspiracy is frightening, just imagine getting a visit from Krugozor’s enforcement team.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, children from ages 10 to 15 no longer had any interest in building plastic models of the Antonov An-24, even at the low price of only 1 ruble and 60 kopecks. Thus, these plastic fantastic flying machines made their way throughout the world. After I acquired the box of these kits, I decided that it would be only fitting to construct one for that supreme Soviet experience.
Fortunately, the kit came with clear instructions:
All of the parts came in a plastic bag, including a tube of glue, which was completely useless after several decades in a Soviet storehouse:
The bag containing the parts features a carefully concealed cameo by Cheburashka (we’ll talk more about him another time):
After much gluing, filing, and painting, the mighty Antonov An-24 flies again:
The quality and construction of this model probably rivals that of a real An-24:
This was only a model of an Antonov An-24 (which was inexplicably given the NATO code name “Coke” during the Cold War), but I have no doubt that with a sufficiently large green plastic stand, a full-size An-24 could return to the skies in all its Bakelite glory.