During World War Two, the Yugoslav Aircraft industry was, for the most part, looted and destroyed during the subsequent occupation by Germany. Many skilled personnel lost their lives, but before the end of 1944 a determined effort was being made to resurrect the industry and the Ikarus, Rogozarski and Zmaj concerns were soon undertaking overhaul work. An ambitious program was initiated for the design and construction of various types of training, liaison and sport aircraft as well as a fighter, designated the S-49A. Some urgency-was attached to this type as, following its break with the Soviet bloc, Yugoslavia had been thrown upon its own resources for weaponry. In only 11 months the S-49A, based on the IK-3 construction and mixed with the YAK-3 VK-105 PF 2 powerplant, was developed. In June 1949 the first flight of the S-49A took place and 48 aircraft, including the prototype, were delivered to the 204 and 117Regiments in Zemun. In 1953 all the S-49A fighters were transferred to the Nis and Skoplje where they remained until 1957 when they were withdrawn from the use.
The S-49A relied heavily on the IK-3, with the fuselage being used almost in its entirety. The canopy was changed to one similar to the Yak-3 and the radiator was moved further back. The undercarriage legs were also modified. In fact, 45 Yak-3 engines were used to power the S-49A, adding some 27km/h over the IK-3. Armament also changed, using the 20mm SVAK cannon and two 12.7mm UBS machine guns. Construction consisted of wood and metal structure, covered with plywood, dural and fabric.
The S-49A fighters played their role as a workhorse of the Yugslav Air force at a very critical period in Yugoslav history. One Ikarus S-49A, No 2319/19, is in the Yugoslav Aviation Museum collection and is awaiting restoration.
This is a complete resin kit, with vacuformed canopies (one spare is included). The detailing on the surface is fairly well done, and features finely recessed panel lines. There is a strong feel of mold release on the parts, so you’ll definitely want to wash these things down before attempting to paint anything. The fuselage is split into right and left halves, with a one-piece wing, one-piece stabilizer, and separate vertical tail & rudder. Construction will be very straightforward.
The cockpit is Spartan, with a seat, instrument panel and stick. No color is provided and you’ll probably want to add one just to make sure everything is lined up right. Some sidewall detailing is provided, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. Some generic detailing, maybe even using a 1/72 Yak-3 brass detailing set, would work well here.
The rest of the construction is simple, with the two fuselage halves going together, the wing going on, and the tail surfaces being added. The landing gear will be a bit of fun, though. Instead of providing resin landing gear struts, Gremlin has included sections of steel tubing. You’ll have to cut these to length and glue them to the wheels. This will be much stronger than resin struts would be, but you’re going to have to be very careful in cutting them to make sure each side is the same length.
Coloring is given as "pidgeon blue gray" on the upper surfaces and light blue lower surfaces. For markings you’re given a set of decals for the roundels and numbers, as well as a set of masks allowing you to airbrush the roundels on. Also there is a vinyl canopy mask for use as well. While the inclusion of the roundel masks is a nice touch, neither in the mask or the decals is the rudder markings consisting of red/white/blue bars with a star superimposed over them. This will have to come out of your spares box.
This kit won’t be a weekend builder, but it should go together quite well, with no obvious hidden problems. The simple construction will allow you time to work on the weak areas like the landing gear and cockpit without feeling like you’re exerting lots of time on the kit. If you have the Formaplane or Aviation Usk IK-3 kit, this will make for a very nice addition sitting next to it.