If you grew up in the late 70’s or early 80’s, you probably remember when generic brands were all the rage. I recall a store called Jewel T had stacks of them- white packages, black lettering, simply labeled “Green beans” or “Corn” or “Paper towels”. The quality usually was good, and they cost far less than name brands.
If Eduard were to release their Weekend Edition 1/48 La-7 as a generic kit, it could simply be labeled “Awesome Little Airplane Kit”. That’s all you’d need to know. This is one sweet kit. (I did a preview of the kit a while back.)
The idea behind the Weekend Edition line of kits is pretty simple. Take one of Eduard’s kits, pull out the photoetch, the extra decals, and the fancy packaging and instructions. Put the painting and decal instructions on the lid of the box, the kit instructions are a simple single sheet, and sell it all for about US$13.00.
I don’t know about you, but I’d love it if all the manufacturers followed Eduard’s lead. To put it simply, I don’t think you can find a better combination of price and engineering anywhere.
The cockpit is simple, with simple sidewall detail, a few throttle quadrants and wheels, and a decent instrument panel and seat. I added some knobs to the throttle quadrants, and some P/E belts from the stash. Eduard does have a P/E set that can be purchased separately for this kit, so if you did want to kick it up a notch, you certainly could. Still, for this price, an OOB build is perfectly acceptable with the detail provided.
The cockpit floor is molded into the top of the single upper wing piece, a concept I really like. For one, it means virtually no wing root gap when you join the fuselage to the wing. And there’s no cockpit floor to fiddle with by trying to sandwich it between the fuselage halves, or to slide it up into the already joined fuselage. This concept should be noted by more model makers, as it just simply works.
The only area that needed a bit of attention was the aft bottom of the wing to fuselage join. There was a slight gap, and a small step. As the area was easily accessible, a little gap filling CA and some sanding made it disappear under a coat of paint completely.
The rest of the build went together quickly. Wheel well detail is simple but nice, and the gear struts are very finely cast. They’re actually so fine I’m a little worried how they’ll hold up long therm- but they look good. Clear parts are very thin and very nice looking. The decals are probably the nicest I’ve ever worked with, and are very colorful. One thing I really appreciated was Eduard included extra decals of each of the small stencils, so if something tore or folded up, you have a second chance.
To say I’m happy with the quality and fit of this kit is an understatement. And given the price, I’m downright giddy. I think if Eduard expanded the line a bit (the WWII line also includes a Yak-3 and Bf-108…. yes, 108) and tried to get it on the hallowed Walmart shelves, they might see the kind of product movement 21st Century Toys is. And that, ultimately, would be very good for the modeling world.
If you want to take a break from the super-detailed, after market quest for perfection, grab Eduard’s La-7 Weekend Edition. It’s the kind of kit that I loved to build as a kid- simple, good looking and fun. And, oh yes….. affordable.