I’ve always enjoyed building Accurate Miniatures kits. They are nicely detailed, assemble reasonably well, and always result in a good looking model. I hated to see them go out of business, but I was glad to see MRC pick up their name and toolings. While we won’t see any new Accurate Miniatures kits, we can continue to enjoy the ones that were produced!
I think one of their best kits was their Yak-1. It came in a few different boxings and variant, but all were good fitting, easy to assemble kits. If their kits had any shortcoming, it was lack of decal options. This kit was no exception- one option. And while their decals are great, sometimes you want to do something a bit different.
Thankfully, Linden Hill Imports and Lift Here! Decals came to the rescue.
Lift Here! Decals is in Serbia, and specializes in markings for Yugoslavian aircraft. I came across their line of decals as I browsed Linden Hill Imports website, who is the US distributor for Lift Here! Decals. I found a great selection on some very interesting and unusual markings for not only Russian WWII aircraft, but for Spitfires and Hurricanes as well. Enough to let you build some very interesting and different models. (They also make decals for more modern subjects as well.) Of course, the real question is- how do their decals perform? More on that later!
The cockpit for this kit is very detailed out of the box. While aftermarket detail sets are available, I found the level of detail to be satisfactory without addition, with the exception of some seatbelts. I painted the interior in Akan A-14 steel gray, picking out details here and there with black, white and other colors. Some simple drybrushing and oil washes helped bring out the detail.
Assembly of the kit presented no problems. The fuselage actually consists of three parts- a left and right half, and then a top half. The top half allows the same fuselage sides to be used for the highback and lowback versions of the Yak-1. The fit was very good, and thanks to the top fuselage piece, there was no seam to clean up along the top.
The fit of the wings was good, with just an application of Mr. Surfacer, “sanded” down with a Q-tip soaked in alcohol needed to fill a few tiny gaps.
As I normally do, I waited until the end of the building and painting process to add the landing gear. In retrospect, I think it would have been better to add those parts prior to painting, even though it would have meant handling it much more carefully, and would have been a bit trickier in the painting process. The landing gear do no mount as most kits do in a hole in the gear bay ceiling, but rather in an opening in the rear spar. A retractor arm is then glued in place, also in the rear spar, and the other end attached to the gear leg itself. It’s not difficult to accomplish, really, but it would have been far easier to do before painting. So my next build I’ll try it that way.
Painting was with Akan paints, using the AMT-7/11/12 scheme. One the basic paint was in place, I started adding various streaks and stains with oils. Once that was completed, I gave the model a gloss coat, and added the decals.
I’m happy to report that the Lift Here! decals performed flawlessly. They are very thin, reacted nicely to Solvaset, and I would certainly have to rate them as some of the better aftermarket decals I have used. I would definitely recommend them to any modeler. (And I will be using them again!)
After the decals were on, I added another gloss coat, and then a panel line wash, some post-shading and fading, and a flat coat of Vallejo Matt Varnish.
Overall, I was very happy with the way the kit turned out. It’s not often you see models in Yugoslavian markings (at least here in the US) so it was fun to do something out of the ordinary. I can certainly recommend both the kit and the decals to any modeler.