Most modelers enjoy seeing new kits come out. It gives us something new to build, maybe even a new subject not kitted before. If it’s from an existing company, we often know what to expect, while kits from a new company can be a question mark- will it look like the real thing, or just be a big blob of plastic?
I had never heard of Modelsvit before, so when I received the kit from scale-model-kits.com, I was looking forward to seeing which category this company’s 1/48 Yak-1b fell in to.
While the box art really has nothing to do with what’s inside a kit, it is a good way to strongly market the kit. Modelsvit’s box art was a bit plain… it really looked like a screenshot from an older flight sim. But the side of the box showed four very interesting color profiles.
Opening the box up showed much promise on first inspection. The kit has 93 parts, including two clear parts, and two vinyl tires. (Don’t stop reading on that point…. keep going, trust me…) The parts are cast in medium gray plastic. The plastic itself is more typical for what you see with many Eastern European short-run kits. It’s a bit soft looking, but still feels and looks like what you’d see from the higher quality short-run manufacturers.
The detailing on the parts is quite nice. Not quite as sharp as what you’d expect from Tamiya, etc., but it is very fine and nice looking. The parts do have a bit of flash here and there, and in places the plastic has a bit of texture, but nothing that a fine sanding stick own’t quickly polish out. There is a good representation of the fabric, wood, and metal portions of the exterior, with appropriate rivet detail in places.
What really jumped out at me was how detailed the kit is. The fuselage interior has nice internal rib structure, even in the tail wheel area. The cockpit is very detailed, with more than just your standard seat/IP/stick/rudder pedals. The various tubular frames and associated side panels are nicely reproduced as separate parts, and when built up, it looks like it will really make a fine looking interior.
The kit includes vinyl tires as I mentioned earlier, but thankfully, injection molded tires also. I’ve never been a big fan of the vinyl ones, so it’s nice they make both available.
An interesting option for the kit is the possibility of opening up the cockpit sidewalls. I assume this was a feature of the actual aircraft. Extra parts are given allowing you to cut away the sidewalls on both sides of the fuselage in the cockpit area, and pose the additional parts open. This allows an excellent view of the very detailed interior parts.
However, the canopy itself is a one-piece affair, so while opening the sidewalls will give a great view, a closed canopy doesn’t work out as well for showing off the interior. Of course, if you are brave, you could cut open the kit canopy, or crash mold a new one. It might also work if you have a spare canopy from another Yak-1b kit to see if it would fit. It might work pretty well to cut off the aft portion of the kit canopy, sand the frame smooth on the forward portion, and then use an aft portion from another kit. YMMV, of course. And not having built the kit (yet!), I’m only offering possibilities.
Four very nice decal options come with the kit. Two are in the green/black camo scheme, and two are in winter white. One fo the winter schemes has some very interesting variations to the usual all white or all white with some red. A nice gull gray tail with yellow trim, and some cool fuselage markings make for a very unusual looking scheme. While the manufacturer of the decals is not noted on the sheet, they look very good, being very thin, in register, and having the tiniest margins of carrier film around the edges.
The instructions are very clear and well printed, and the illustrations look as though they will be very easy to follow. Color callouts are from Humbrol’s line of colors, though converting them to other lines present no problems using online tools such as The Ultimate Model Paint Conversion Chart . The painting and decal guide is printed in full color.
I haven’t been able to find out much about Modelsvit. They are from the Ukraine, and this kit is their first kit. They also make an Antonov An-124 in 1/72 scale, so that must be a monster. If anyone knows about the status of this company, please let me know.
Overall, I really like this kit. The only complaint I have is the lack of an option for an open canopy build. With all of the nice detail they’ve packed in side, it seems a shame to miss out on showing it off without going to extra measures. But that is such a small nit-pick… everything about this kit is really, really nice. And the price- US$20.60- is even nicer.
I guess the best endorsement for this kit comes from a fairly well known member of several modeling forums. I won’t mention his name, but suffice to say he’s known for being critical of nearly every kit that comes out. Despite the heat he takes for this, I do find his notes interesting. His thoughts on this kit?
“Modelsvit’s new Yak-1b is the best model of a 1/48th WWII fighter I have seen… …Ever.”
That’s quite an endorsement. Of course, that’s one man’s opinion, but it surely speaks highly of this kit!
I would like to thank Alex at scale-model-kits.com for providing this review sample. Look for a full build report in a few weeks, as I’ve already moved this kit to the next one in line at Castle Bromwich South. (Yes, something other than a Spitfire!:) )