Accurate Miniatures 1/48 Yak-1

KIT #: 3424
PRICE: $35.00 SRP
DECALS: One option


Lydia Vladimirovna Litvyak was born in Moscow on Aug 18, 1921.  When she was young she showed a strong interest in aviation and learned to fly at the age of 14, soloed at 15 and became a flight instructor.


When the Great Patriotic War began, she tried to join the Soviet Air Force but was turned down because of her inexperience.  She exaggerated her flight experience to join the all female 586th Fighter Regiment of the PVO Strany (Soviet Air Defense Force) where she learned to fly the Yak-1 fighter.


In Sept 1942, she was assigned along with other female pilots to defend Stalingrad as part of the 437th Fighter Regiment which was all male up to that point.  There is some controversy about who scored the first kill by a female fighter pilot.  Some authors say she did when she shot down a Ju-88 and a Bf-109F in the middle of Sept, but there are discrepancies in the records.  Her male counterparts noted that she was a very aggressive and good pilot.  She used that aggression and flying skill to shoot down several German aircraft over Stalingrad which earned her an Order of the Soviet Union, a promotion to lieutenant and the privilege of being a “Free Hunter” in which pairs of elite/experienced pilots attack targets on their own initiative.  The Soviet Press dubbed her the “White Rose of Stalingrad” based on her exploits as a pilot.  Her most notable kill was of a heavily defended observation balloon which was directing very accurate artillery fire on Soviet positions and protected by a ring of AA guns except from directly behind it.  Lydia was turned down for this mission but insisted she fly it.  She outfoxed the Germans by flying a roundabout route that took her deep behind German lines and attacked it from behind.  She was successful in shooting it down.


According to some authors, she had 11 individual kills and 3 shared kills and others claim different totals.  Based on information from German records, Lydia shot down 7 planes including 3 aces.


Lydia and her fellow female pilots were transferred from regiment to regiment mostly due to the fact that they were only allowed to fly Yak-1 fighters.  When the males were given newer fighters like the La-5, the P-39 Aircobra, etc this made maintenance of the Yak-1 difficult as the logistics of maintaining two separate parts depots was too much of a headache so they were transferred to units that still flew the Yak-1.


On Aug 1, 1943, Lydia Litvak was shot down and killed (or captured depending on who you read) while flying her fourth mission of the day escorting Il-2 Sturmoviks on an attack mission.  She attacked some German bombers and then was subsequently attacked by a pair of Bf-109s.  Her wingman last saw her going down in flames being chased by eight (or so) Bf-109s.


There are some stories that she was captured by the Germans and survived the war.  In 1979, a Soviet commission was established to determine the fate of Lydia and examined many possible crash sites in the quest to find out Lydia’s actual fate.  They found the remains of a female pilot who survived a crash near the village of Dmitrievka but died from a head wound.  The commission identified that this was Lydia and closed the books on her fate.  In 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev made Lydia a Hero of the Soviet Union (posthumously.)





See Scott’s preview/review of the similar Accurate Miniature Yak-1b kit.




The Accurate Miniatures kit instructions are reasonably straight forward, but there are some inaccuracies.  One thing apparently wrong with the cockpit is the cockpit color.  According to some Soviet experts, the cockpit color should be a blue grey, not the Soviet version of RLM02.  At the time, I might have done something about it if I had known.


The cockpit was assembled quickly following the instructions and inserted into the fuselage, but I had some fit issues with the underside engine cowling and razorback as the fit was not all that good.  The gaps were filled with Mr Surfacer and the excess cleaned off using lacquer thinner and Q Tips.


As mentioned in other reviews of this kit, the wings were a pain to deal with.  I learned from my previous builds so I trimmed the inserts of the upper wing till they fit snug and without large gaps between the fuselage and the wing.


The underside wasn’t as easy to sand due to the detail.  I chickened out and left the seam as is with only mild sanding and only a small amount of filler.  I masked off the cockpit and landing gear wells in preparation for painting.




First, the Yak was preshaded flat black along the panel lines except where it was going to be black.  Once dry, the underside was sprayed two or three thin coats of PolyScale USSR Underside Blue.  The black pre shading was supposed to show through, but this plane was built when I was learning to airbrush better so I made the mistake of not taking into consideration that PolyScale dries opaque (ie:  less is more.)  I took my time to let it dry as still curing Testors acrylics don’t play well with Gunze paints. 


The topside paint scheme for a mid WW2 Yak fighter is typically “Soviet” Green and Black.  Considering that “Soviet” Green ranged from olive drab to bright glossy green due to the breakdown in the bureaucracy caused by Operation Barbarossa it shouldn’t really matter what shade of green one chooses to use.  When I built this one, I used Gunze H330, Cold War Dark Green used on British planes. 


For the black I used Gunze flat black.  I thought about using paper masks, but I had just gotten my Badger 150 and wanted to feel comfortable spraying out the pattern using low air pressure.  It worked pretty good for a first try.


The canopy parts were masked and painted at the same time.


Once the paints were dry, I sprayed on Gunze gloss coat in preparation for the decals.


I used the kit markings for Lydia’s Yellow 44, the plane she shot down two confirmed Bf-109s in (allegedly she shot down five planes with Yellow 44, but three of the kills do not correspond with German records.)  The decals went down smoothly with little or no silvering and a bit of help from Solvaset and MicroSet.



A dark brown watercolor wash was used for the underside and a bit topside.  I kept the topside weathering to a minimum on the basis that the ace’s planes got more careful maintenance.  The excess was removed with moist Q-Tips and Gunze Flat Coat was sprayed on for the final coat.




I added the landing gear, pitot tube, RS-82 rockets and fuel tanks (used PolyScale Acrylic Silver.)  The landing gear was a bit of a pain to install despite the instructions.  An even bigger pain was the exhausts as the tiny parts kept flying out of my tweezers.

The clear bits were glued on using Micro Kristal Klear glue.


The last thing to add was the prop which was a bit of a pain to install as it required a bit of force to get it on.



The (late) Accurate Miniatures Yak-1 is a nice kit and makes for a good build, but it has some fiddly areas that need some careful assembly.  Overall, it is personal favorite of mine as I’ve built three of them over the years and I recommend them for any level of builder or anyone interested in Soviet Aviation during World War 2.


I have also included an additional pic of a previous Yak-1 build with skis and winter distemper camouflage.



Info from wiki

Dan Lee

July 2012

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