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Eduard's 1/48 Yak-3

By Tom Cleaver

 

THE MODEL

The Yak-3 is Eduard's second attempt at a non-First World War subject, and is several orders of magnitude better than the previous Tempest V. This kit is close to being a Tamigawa "shake 'n' bake" in terms of engineering and ease of assembly. The kit we did was the Profi-pack version, with photo-etch detail for the cockpit.

ASSEMBLY

The wing comes in two parts, upper and lower halves, with the wheel wells molded into the lower half and the cockpit floor in the upper. I sanded the interior of the trailing edges just a bit in insure that the trailing edge would be suitably thin, but could have gotten away with leaving things as they were.

The cockpit is not as well-detailed as the Accurate Miniatures Yak-1, but certainly more so than the ICM Yak-9, and likely more so than the upcoming ICM Yak-7. With the photo-etch for the various levers and the control panel, the cockpit made up easily into the second-best Yak cockpit available. I did not use the photo etch seat pad, which looked nothing like any seat pad I had seen before.

The only big problem is in the landing gear legs, which seem to have been molded in the extended (i.e, weight off) position. Admittedly the Yak-3 sits at a higher angle than either the Yak 1 or Yak-9 series, but what was there was too much. I solved this by cutting the legs at the upper limit of the oleo strut, shaving off 1/16", then drilling out the main leg to let it connect back better. I tried using the photo-etch oleo scissors, but these were too thin, so I settled for sanding the plastic ones thinner and using them.

PAINTING

I painted my Yak with my patented method of masking off one color with drafting tape that has the edge raised by running thread 1/16" in from the edge to raise it an allow a bit of scale overspray.

All Yak-3s came in the camouflage scheme of blue undersides, and light grey and darker green-grey uppers. The Red Air Force did not have a particular scheme, with airplanes being painted in whatever pattern the factory worker with the spraygun chose that time. Eduard, however, provides four different patterns for the four different aircraft, and when I was done with mine, I realized I had chosen the markings for this airplane by the pattern I had followed.

Once painted, I gave several light coats of Future. Red Air Force fighters were covered with a heavy coat of polish at the factory which stood up remarkably well to field use, so a glossy finish is what you are going for here.

DECALS

Eduard provides four markings alternatives with this kit. One for "White 4" a Normandie-Niemen regiment Yak flown by Robert Marchi in 1945; "Red 12", an overall light grey "Red Hawks" airplane flown by Hero of the Soviet Union S.W. Nosow of the 150th Guards Fighter Regiment; "Yellow 15" flown by Semyon Rogow of the 1st Guards Fighter Regiment; and white 1, flown by Hero of the Soviet Union General Georgi Zakharov, commander of the 303rd Guards Fighter Division in 1945. Both "Yellow 15" and White 1" have interesting side art, and the decals are well-done (hooray- they're Aeromaster!).

As stated above, after dithering over which airplane to do, I discovered I had done "Yellow 15," since that was the camouflage pattern I had followed. How accurate these patterns Eduard has provided is unknown, but since I had been unable to make up my mind before, I decided to acquiesce to force majeure.

The decals adhered nicely with a bit of MicroSol, and the white areas were suitably opaque so as not to let the underlying colors show through.

FINAL ASSEMBLY

After cleaning off the model and shooting another coat of Future over the now-dry decals, I assembled the landing gear. I found that, having shortened the gear legs, I had to separate the two outer gear doors, but they now looked right when placed in position, according to a photo.

The cockpit is commendably thin, and comes in two options: a single-piece closed canopy and a three-piece canopy which can be opened. The glass is clear enough that with a coat of Future the closed canopy could be used and still allow a good view of the cockpit interior. I opted for the open version, and the sliding portion fit perfectly over the rear portion.

It is amazing to realize that the Yak-3 is even smaller than either the Bf-109 or the Spitfire. Even so, there is a Russian ruggedness about it. The airplane looks good, and seems to enjoy sitting between my Accurate Miniatures Yak-1s and my ICM Yak-9. With this and the upcoming ICM Yak-7, and the Czechmaster Yak-15, a modeler can do all the major versions of the most widely-used Soviet fighter of the Second World War. And only a year and a half ago, you could do none!!

Thanks to GreatModels Webstore for providng the kit for review.

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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

TacAir Publications

PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM
87199-0933
USA
(505) 881-9621

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