Last I heard it was due out in November. I believe that I saw
one on Ebay a few days or so ago. Will it _DEFINITELY_ be hitting the shelves soon?
(sitting up here in the frozen northland with poorly supplied
hobby shops. Not their fault, bad wholesalers!)
It should be available. Maybe not yet in the States, but here in Italy
I think it is. I asked a couple of weeks ago at my local hobby shop
(some 10 km from Italeri factory) and the guy said that it was
available on order (as he decided not to stock it for now).
Anyway it should be the old Esci moulding without any change (when
they released the Backfire last year they changed only the decal
sheet). This means that with both the Tu-22m Backfire and Tu-22
Blinder some "surgery" is needed to make an accurate replica.
Esci did 2 versions: the "standard bomber" Tu-22B, that can be used
also to depict a Tu-22R (in fact export Tu-22Bs were converted
Tu-22Rs) and the missile carrier Tu-22K (with a bigger radome and an
underfuselage Kh-22 missile).
As the Italeri kit has decals also for an Irak Blinder it should be
the Tu-22B/R mold.
Btw, with some small changes, the Tu-22B/R could be converted to a
Tu-22P ECM aircraft. Some of these planes were used in Afganistan to
protect Tu-22m Backfires and sported some interesting fire breathing