Build Report: Aaron Long’s Zvezda 1/48 Yak-3

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Aaron Long shares another of his great builds with us, this time Zvezda’s Yak-3. It’s a stunner, Aaron!

I really enjoyed Zvezda’s little Yak.  I was surprised to find that it is smaller than most of the fighters that I have built.  Smaller than Eduard’s new 109 of course (hahaha), but joking aside, it’s a tiny little fighter.  I appreciated how Zvezda kept the leading edges and other surfaces sharp and crisp, giving it the feel of the diminutive fighter that it is.  I also really appreciated the design of the engine bay.  You can fit a nicely detailed engine, OR a plastic front end that fits wonderfully.  No fussing with framing and ill fitting cowling covers.  I wanted to build the engine showing, but in the end, preserved the sleek lines of the plane and used the closed nose.  I still intend to build the engine on a stand to place beside the Yak3 on the shelf.

I was worried about the fuselage fitting to the wing.  It’s similar in design to the Eduard Yak and La-7.  The wing is one piece and the fuselage fits down over the wing.  I worked out nicely in the end, and I didn’t use any filler in that area.  Please note, there is a seam line that is not supposed to be a panel line.  I didn’t research that too closely as it didn’t matter to me, but just a warning for those who want to address that.

Two more areas that I really enjoyed about the Yak were the snug fitting gear legs.  They have a very strong connection and positive lock.  So much so that I recommend not getting any paint in the join.  Detail of the struts are bulky, but reasonable.  I added brake lines and PE oleo scissors.  The other “nice” area is the canopy.  I like when canopies can be posed open without stretching them wide apart.  Zvezda provides two rear sections, open or closed.  I thought they fit pretty well and with a dip in future were very clear.

I used a cheap Eduard PE set made for the Eduard Yak-3.  Not all pieces fit, but it does provide belts and other details to help make it pop.  The PE set for the Zvezda kit is hugely expensive for me.  The set I got was $7 something on Ebay.  Please note, the eduard IP is much wider than the Zvezda IP so you can’t use the PE IP.

The only kit area that I wasn’t too hot about was the prop and spinner.  The prop blades are molded to the front of the spinner cone and the join is not a natural panel line.  I think in the end it would have looked fine, but I thought it would be easier to make and finish to get the Vector resin prop and spinner.  For a resin piece, the vector prop was easy to use!  I love easy to use resin.  Even the pour stubs were a piece of cake to remove and fit was great.  I recommend it for this build, but I don’t think it’s completely necessary!

The Yak was sprayed with AKAN acrylic paints from Russia.  AMT-7,11, and 12.  The interior was steel gray.  I assume they are the best color matches out there.  They look the part.  Regardless, they were AMAZING to spray!  They are my favorite paints to spray!  Yes, more than Tamiya.  I sprayed them straight from the bottle and got wonderfully tight, controllable lines.  I was shocked.  For post shading and lightening, I found they played very nicely with Vallejo products like thinner, glaze medium, and vallejo colors for modulating.  They cleaned up best with Vallejo’s airbrush thinner.

I tried out three new techniques on this build.  Masking for the markings, oil filters, and AMMO streaking products.  Montex mask were used for all the markings.  I like the results, but I don’t like the process.  The stars were especially difficult for me because of the thinness of some of the masks.  I will be more restrained in the use of Montex masks, especially complicated markings.  Yet, I see the benefit of using masks for large items, especially over detailed surface area.  The oil filter was to “bleach out” and blend the colors and I borrowed the MIG AMMO streaking products from my Panzer build to added the oil streaking on the belly and fuel ports on the wing.  I really like the AMMO products.

I hope you enjoy!  Please check out Brewer Models on Facebook.  Jason Brewer took these pics for me.  He is a very talented builder and photographer.  I am honored to learn from him, he is a master.