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Build Report: Alanger’s 1/48 Yak-7V

alanger-1-48-yak-7v

The Yak-7 line of fighters has an unusual history. Originally designed to be a two seat trainer, flight tests of the Yak-7 showed that it was a more capable aircraft than the Yak-1, and it immediately began to be produced as both a two seat trainer and a single seat fighter. The -7V was a fixed-gear version of the fighter, specifically for training pilots as they transitioned from simpler trainers to the faster fighters.

Alanger’s Yak-7V is a rebox of the ICM kit. The parts are well cast, and have nice surface detail. The single piece canopy is very thick, and has overly heavy framing. Markings for a single aircraft are provided.

The construction of the cockpit requires planning. The cockpit consists of a solid floor piece and tube-framed sidewalls. There isn’t a clear indication in the instructions or in the fuselage halves as to where the framing should be placed exactly. I found it easier to tape the fuselage halves together, insert the floor piece in place from underneath, and then test fit the sidewall placement by sliding them in through the cockpit opening. Once I was happy with where they should go, and that they would not interfere with the floor, I glued them in place on the fuselage sides.

Additionally, I realized through more test fitting that it would be easiest to put in most of the remaining cockpit parts after I had the fuselage assembled and inserted the floor in place. I did glue the forward seat, stick and rudder pedals to the floor, but the sidewall detail, instrument panels, and rear seat and stick were all inserted in after the fuselage was together.

Eventually, it all goes together, but it takes lots of patience and test fitting.

The rest of the parts- wings, cowl, etc., were much the same story. Test fit, test fit, test fit, glue, putty, sand, putty, sand. It wasn’t awful- no really huge gaps- but it did require some minor attention to every seam and join. Also, I built the model without the engine at all. Prior to closing the cowl up, I glued some sheet styrene inside the exhaust ports holes, so later I could simply glue the exhausts themselves right to the plastic sheet. Not building the engines certainly simplified the build.

Once it was built up, the painting was easy. I used Akan paints for this build, as they seem to have the most accurate colors for WWII Russian aircraft. The undersides were painted AMT-7, a light blue color, and the uppers were AMT-4 and AMT-6, which are an olive-type green and black, respectively. Weathering was accomplished with various applications of artist’s oils for panel washes, streaks, filters and stains, and a Prismacolor silver pencil was used for chipping. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the decals went down, as I’ve not had good success in the past with ICM-heritage kits.

As mentioned previously, the canopy was overly thick and had very heavy framing. I went ahead and used it, but in the future, I’ll probably give a go at a vacform canopy for the Yak-7B model, which is essentially the same kit. (Yes, the canopy is bad enough that I will actually opt for a vacform replacement!)

Overall, this is not a bad kit, if you make sure to test fit and plan ahead. And it certainly builds up into a very unique piece of Russian aviation history… the trainer that beat the fighter!

 

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