Soviet Fighter LAGG-3
The Lavochkin-Gorbunov-Gudkov LAGG-3 was an important fighter aircraft for the Soviet Air Force at the time of the German "Barbarossa" invasion in 1941, and a technological parallel to the British Hawker Hurricane, French Dewoitine D.520, and the American Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk of the time. With a mostly wooden construction and a relatively powerful engine and adequate firepower, it held the line while giving the Russians time to develop more advanced combat machines to fight the Luftwaffe.
This model kit is part of Zvezda's "Art of Tactic" wargame model series, which also includes ground vehicles and figures as game pieces. In that role, this kit is engineered more for ease of assembly and sturdiness than surface detail, although it does quite well in that regard for the size and scale.
The aircraft consists of only eight pieces: the fuselage unit, the wings unit, the two tailplanes, the propeller, the canopy, and the two main landing gear legs. The landing gear have two sets of parts, so your choice is to build it as an airplane parked on the ground or with its wheels tucked and in flight. I chose the retracted gear setup on mine. The propeller blades were bent out of shape on my example, so I cut them off. On advice I found on a wargamer's forum on Yahoo, I found a pack of transparent plastic sequins in the costume department of Hobby Lobby to use as propeller disks. The one on my model is 2 cm in diameter and matches perfectly/
The canopy was the only problem with assembly; everything else fit very well without glue or much trimming of parts. I needed to snip off the locator post in the cockpit for the canopy because the canopy was more likely to squish it down than accept it. A little Testors Window Maker to tack it down was all I needed there.
Paint was kept very simple. Testors standard Flat Gray for the undersides, Flat Brown for the exhausts, Flat Black for the wheels and other details, and Model Master Guards Red for the propeller hub. The main color is just the plastic the kit came in with a coat of Testors Acrylic Dullcoat on it. The kit comes with a set of generic Soviet Air Force red star insignia and formation numbers. My example was about a millimeter out of register, so I'm looking for alternatives, although my spares box has no lack of such markings.
The display base is two pieces of black plastic that fit snug and come apart just as easily for stowage in a gamer's figure case. Scale for the aircraft is fairly close to 1/144: 67mm wingspan and 62mm length.
This model is a very nice and simple weekend project or an "I can do it" model for novices. Highly recommended. Thanks to HobbyTown USA, Hobby Lobby, IPMS/USA, Peter Bos, Mike Driskill, Paul Francis and Robert Vancel.