Montex 1/32 Yak-1b

KIT #: RMA3206
PRICE: $179.95 MSRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver
NOTES: Resin kit


      Of the many types of warplanes used by the Soviet Air Forces during the Second World War, the most celebrated, successful and widely-used were the series of fighters by the design bureau led by Alexander Sergei Yakovlev. Though they lacked the refinements found in British, German or American fighters, they nevertheless commanded the respect of their enemies.

     Design of what became the Yak-1 commenced in 1938 in response to an official requirement for the development of a new sing-seat fighter as the result of a design competition, as the Soviets belatedly began updating their military equipment in the shadow of German aggression.  The then-little-known Alexander Yakovlev entered the competition with the I-26, which was adjudged the most promising of those submitted. The prototype I-26 was built of wood, and powered by the M-105, a license-built version of the Hispano-Suiza 12Y, and first flew in March, 1939.  The aircraft received the designation Yak-1 shortly thereafter and work began on a pre-production batch of fighters for further development.  Most of the defects testing discovered had been rectified by early 1941 and was cleared for mass production in June 1941.  , The development of the Yak-1 was so successful that it earned Yakovlev the 100,000-ruble Lenin Prize and a Zis automobile on April 27, 1939. 

     Due to the German attack and the need to remove the factory from Moscow to the Urals in the fall of 1941, appreciable numbers of Yak-1s did not begin to reach operational units of the V-VS in worthwhile numbers until the Spring of 1942. 

     The Yak-1b, powered by the M-105PF engine producing 1,200 h.p. and distinguishable by a cut-down rear fuselage and all-round vision canopy, began production in late 1942. The Yak-1b was for many years known in the West as the Yak-1M. It is now known that the Yak-1M designation was given to only two airplanes, the prototypes of what became the Yak-3 series.  The twin Beresin UBS 7.62mm machine guns of the Yak-1 were replaced by a single Beresin UBS 13mm machine gun, with the 20mm hub cannon retained. This aircraft was introduced to combat in 1943, as was produced alongside and served beside the earlier version, as well as remaining in production and service use while “later” versions entered production.

     Simple to build in quantity, rugged, and possessing superlative flying characteristics, the Yak fighters were superior to anything else at low to medium altitudes. The series was built in larger numbers than all other Soviet fighters used during the war combined, with a total production in excess of 30,000 between 1941 and 1945. Due to the inadequately power of the M-105 series of engines, which left much to be desired in terms of altitude performance, the Yaks were lightly armed by either German or Allied standards.  


     This Yak-1b is the sixth all-resin kit produced by Montex, and furthers the company’s reputation for excellence in design and production of an all-resin kit.  In fact, these resin kits are serious competition to those released by Fisher Models for design and production quality.

     The kit has separate control surfaces including flaps, and the overall design is such that it is nearly a “snap-tite” kit, with fit tolerances so close that only minimal effort will be needed to deal with seams.  The fit of the inner lower wing to the upper wing part is particularly remarkable. 

     As with the other kits, a very fully-detailed cockpit is provided.  The three-part clear resin canopy is also very remarkable for its crispness and clarity.

     Decals are provided for three different aircraft, two of which are in the green-black-light blue camouflage, one with the nose in red, while the third is in the dark grey-green/light grey/light blue later style of camouflage.


     Another winner from Montex.  For what you get, the price is very reasonable.  As they say about a good movie, “it’s all up there on the screen.”  The design is so good that a modeler could only screw up the kit by throwing it against a brick wall or dropping it out of a window onto concrete.  This is the kind of model that will make an average modeler good and a good modeler great.  Anyone who has done at least one or two all-resin kits will have no trouble with this kit.

Thanks to Montex for the review kit.

Tom Cleaver

March 2009

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