Yak 3 Soviet Fighter
Soviet aircraft manufacturers, like all the other allied nations during World War II, quickly realized Germany had produced some very potent fighter planes. In response the Soviets produced some classic designs like the Lavochkhin La-7 and the subject of this review, the Yak 3. Resulting from refinements of its predecessors the Yak 7 and 9 series the Yak 3 was lightened and mated with a 1240 hp Klimov engine. The resulting aircraft out climbed and out turned its German opponents at the lower altitudes where most engagements took place in this theater. With a structure built largely of wood, the Yak 3 was a simple, rugged design typical of the Russian approach to military aircraft construction. Over 4000 were built during what Russians called the Great Patriotic War or GPW.
If you’re looking for a kit requiring you to buy all kinds of extra detail parts, look elsewhere. This kit is part of the “Profipack” series; Eduard has provided everything you need including colored photo etch parts and masks for the canopy, tires. The parts come on three sprues molded in brown and one in clear. Canopy parts are included for open or closed configurations. Decals are provided for five different aircraft.
- Guards Lieutenant Colonel Boris Nikolaevich Yeryomin, 31 GIAP, Prague, Czechoslovakia, May, 1945
- Lieutenant Semyon Ivanovich Rogovoi, 64thGIAP, 2ndBaltic Front, Fall, 1944
- Lieutenant Colonel Anton Dmitrievich Yakimenko, 151stGIAP, Czechoslovakia, May 1945
- General major Georgil Nefyodovich Zakharov, 303rdIAD, East Prussia, Fall 1944
- Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Vasilievich Maslov, 157 IAP, Germany, 1945.
The instructions are typical Eduard in booklet form with full color prints of all the marking options. All parts are up to Eduard’s usual high standards.
This is a simple build that goes together very quickly thanks
to the excellent color photo etch parts. The cockpit is adorned with a pre colored instrument panel and side consoles along with levers and placards. I painted the interior with a mustard yellow color which is the recommendation in “Soviet Air Force Fighter Colours 1941-1945.” This was apparently the primer coat used in wooden soviet interiors. It was really more a clear tinted varnish painted over bare parts. The top of the wing holds the side consoles and the seat which has a nice harness set. The airframe came together quickly after that. Since the real thing was made of wood, cleaning up joints is easy because there are no panel lines to restore. The only fit issues were the flat underside of the rear fuselage and the area where the cockpit sides fit over the top of the wing. Neither was a big deal to fix. I used a little putty on the underside and filled the cockpit gap with typing correction fluid. I find that last trick works well on small gaps.
I couldn’t resist building the red nose aircraft of Lt. Co. Anton Dmitrievich Yakimenko. The colors I chose where based more on the previously mentioned reference book then the colors in the instruction profiles. I settled on the following Model Master colors: Underside, Soviet color AMT-7-model master underside blue, top side light grey AMT-11 model master Underside Grey, top side dark grey AMT-12 model master Euro 1 grey (FS36081), red nose is model master insignia red. Painting sequence: after pre-shading with dark grey: airbrushed bottom first with AMT-7, then masked and applied lighter grey (AMT-11) then masked pattern and applied AMT-12 Euro 1 grey. The red nose was painted last. In retrospect I would have cut all the colors with white as I think they’re a bit dark for this scale. Future was applied in several layers to prepare for decals.
Decals and Details
As expected, the decals are printed in register and are very thin. My only gripe is the red in the stars looks a bit bright to me. No issues applying them for they come off the sheet easily and settle down very well with a little setting solution. The finished decal surface is glossy but since the whole model needed flat clear to knock back the future shine, it all worked out. Masks are provided for the wheels easing an otherwise tedious process. The oleo scissors are photo etch. Oddly enough the retraction mechanisms for the small gear doors are shown in the instruction drawings, but are not in the kit. Another nice touch is the armored glass and head plate behind the pilot’s seat. Canopy parts are very clear and thin. I used the closed version to cover the cockpit during painting and painted the open version using the provided masks. These are done in Tamiya type yellow tape and work very well.
Another winner from Eduard! I’ve built a few of their kits now and have never been disappointed. What’s really nice about these profipack kits is you truly get it all in the box. Perhaps the best part of this kit is the pre colored photo etch. For those of us with aging eyes, it provides the opportunity to build a very detailed cockpit without the eye strain. That said, this is not a beginners kit, the photo etch parts are very small in some cases. Anyone with a bit of PE experience should be able to handle this build. If you’re a fan of GPW era Soviet fighters, you’ve got to get a one of these. At this price you could afford a couple. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this kit a 9 plus, the discount for the light shade of red in the decal sheet. Very special thanks to Eduard for providing the kit and to IPMS for letting me fiddle with it.
- Soviet Air Force Fighter Colours 1941-1945
- Erik Pilawskii and Chris Banyai-Riepl
- Classic Publications, ISBN 1 903223 30X Published 2003