Eduard 1/72 L-39 Albatros Dual Combo

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

Overview

The Aero L-39 Albatros is the most widely used jet trainer in the world today, a rather impressive record for a plane designed in the early 1960s. The L-39 was also the first turbofan-powered trainer, and it can be found in the air forces of over 30 nations worldwide. It is also quite popular among civilian pilots, with quite a few seen on the air show circuit. A search at some of the popular aviation photo sites such as jetphotos.net or airliners.net will result in quite a few photos of these diminutive jets, offering up some excellent reference material and exhibiting the wide range of color schemes the L-39 wears.

The Kit

About the only thing that could improve the Eduard kit of the L-39 would be to have two in the box, and with this Dual Combo release, that is exactly what they did. Molded (twice) in tan plastic, this kit features nicely recessed panel lines, simple construction, but plenty of detail. Toss in a pre-painted photoetch set, and you’ve really got everything you need. The decal sheet in this release is equally impressive, with enough choices to make you buy two or three of these Dual Combo kits.

So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at what you get. The first thing that jumps out is that Eduard gave you too many instrument panels on their photoetch. The reality is that they have done their homework and in fact provide the proper panels for the different L-39 variants. This means that you will have to do your own bit of research if you choose to build an option not on the decal sheet, to make sure you use the right panel. Once you decide that, though, the cockpit should go together quickly. With photoetch instrument panels and side consoles already painted, all that is left for the modeler is to paint the basic tub and put all the pieces together. The seats are a nice combination of plastic and photoetch, with the end result rivaling a nicely cast resin seat.

The finished tub fits nicely into the fuselage, and along with an engine face and an exhaust piece, the fuselage can be closed up. There is no mention of nose weight in the instructions, but you might want to drop a bit in there, just in case. There is not much room in front of the cockpit, but there is behind the rear bulkhead, and it is likely that not much will be needed anyway. With the fuselage together, all that’s left for that assembly is to put the air intakes on, which have separate splitter plates, and add the stabilizers.

For the wings, they come in two pieces, a full-span top and bottom piece. This incorporates a large section of the lower fuselage as well, which will make assembly simple. Take care, though, to make sure that the wing is positioned properly, as it would be all too easy to get the alignment slightly off, an end up with the finished model looking lopsided. For underneath, the kit comes with two drop tanks and two rockets for underwing stores. The landing gear is simple, much like the real thing. Do note that the gear doors are molded closed, which is correct for the L-39. Those doors only open when the gear is extending or retracting. Some additional antennae and the canopy are all that’s left before it is time to throw paint down on this kit.

For markings, there are no less than eight options included in this kit. As there are two kits in the box, that still leaves quite a few left over (which is why you should buy several of these Dual Combo releases). If you like small air forces, this kit is a virtual treasure trove, with Iraq, Cuba, Algeria, Libya, Cambodia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Ghana all included. Additionally, there are stencils included to finish both kits with lots of tiny markings. Here is a brief description of the eight options:

L-39ZO, Iraq, 1986: sand & olive uppers, blue gray lower
L-39C, Cuba, 1988: green & olive uppers, blue gray lower
L-39ZO, Algeria: sand & olive uppers, blue gray lower
L-39ZO, Libya, 2006: sand, olive & green uppers, blue gray lower
L-39C, Cambodia: sand & green wraparound camouflage
L-39ZA, Nigeria: sand & olive uppers, blue gray lower
L-39ZA, Bangladesh: sand & olive uppers, blue gray lower
L-39C, Ghana: brown & green uppers, blue gray lower

All but the Cambodian example have high visibility yellow or red markings, mainly on the wings (with the Nigerian and Bangladesh examples also having red noses). The individual markings vary, with some including badges and serials, while others having little more than the national insignia. The decals are nicely printed and aside from choosing which aircraft to do, they should pose no problem in application.

Conclusion

This is an excellent kit of an attractive aircraft, and with two in the box you will have twice the fun. My thanks to Eduard for the review sample.

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