|NOTES:||Painting masks included for the wheels, canopy, and engine cowl. Eduard photoetched seatbelts used.|
Paraphrased from the kit instructions: The La-7 ranked among the best Soviet fighters used in the later days of WWII. It was developed at the CAGI Institute from the La-5 model on the basis of aerodynamic refinements. It was proposed to increase the internal rigidity of the entire structure, to completely enclose the landing gear, to move the oil cooler from under the engine to the fuselage under the cockpit, and to move the carburetor intake to the wing roots. These refinements resulted in a significant increase in speed and rate of climb. The new model was designated La-7, and its production started in May, 1944. In addition, it was proposed to add three Berezin B-20, 20mm cannons. However, their development was not completed before the end of the war, so the number of La-7s armed with three guns reached 368 aircraft only. A total of 3,877 aircraft had been built in Europe before the end of the war, of which 2,957 were allocated to the VVS (Soviet air force), and 198 to the Soviet Navy. Production continued until the end of 1945, and a total of 6,158 machines were produced. The La-7 had excellent performance and was used by a number of Soviet air aces; among the most prominent ones being the double Hero of the Soviet Union I.N. Kozhedub.
This kit originated in the 1990s. Released by Gavia and produced by Eduard under contract, it has engraved detail, painting masks, and comprehensive decals. The parts count is low with only 70 plastic parts and 5 more clear parts. The engraved detail is good, but not as extensive as that of an Eduard Bf 109 kit. There is minimal flash, and the clear pieces are thin and of good clarity. The kit decals are thin, opaque and in register. Cockpit detail is adequate but not up to modern standards. It is on the basic end of the spectrum with shallow side wall detail. When released, Gavia’s La-7 effectively shelved the Hobbycraft/Academy La-7. The Gavia kit is better in accuracy, fit, detail, ease of assembly, decals, etc. If you are looking for an easy “weekend” build, look no further!
Per the usual, construction began with painting and detailing the cockpit. First, Poly Scale Israel Gray was painted throughout. I then brush-painted the cockpit details and gave the interior a thin black wash. Once the wash had dried, I drybrushed the interior with a slightly lighter shade of gray. Next, I added the photoetched seatbelt for the pilot’s seat. I then closed up the fuselage. My only issue here was getting the tailwheel solidly mounted. The rest of the airframe was a breeze. The fit was terrific, requiring minimal putty and sanding.
As the final step in preparation for paint, I added the canopy. The kit canopy comes in three parts, allowing one to pose the canopy open or closed. The clear parts were dipped in Future prior to assembly. I used the kit supplied canopy masks to mask the clear parts.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
I decided to use the kit decals to model I.N. Kozhedub’ La-7. Lt. Col. Ivan N. Kozhedub was the ‘Allied Ace of Aces’ with 62 “kills” to his credit. There are well many circulated black & white photos of Kozhedub’s “white 27”. There are also countless interpretations of the camo scheme ranging from white to solid gray to two-tone gray. In one very good close up photo of the fuselage side, there is a clear demarcation line in the light gray (AMT 11), dark gray (AMT 12) finish indicating that this bird sported the standard, two-tone upper camouflage.
Poly Scale Israel Gray was sprayed on the canopy framing first. I then used Polly Scale acrylics U.S.S.R. Dark Topside Gray, U.S.S.R. Light Topside Gray, and U.S.S.R. Underside Blue for the airframe. The camo pattern was sprayed freehand. The red nose was also masked and sprayed at this time.
At this point I used pastels to emphasize the panel lines and dirty the airframe up a bit. Since the wings were covered in plywood, there is minimal detail on them. I tried to keep things subtle, adding just enough shade variation to enhance detail. I then sealed everything with a coat of Future in preparation for decals.
decals were a bit sticky, but I was able to get them in place without too much
trouble. Once in position, the decals responded well to an application of Micro
Sol. I had several photos of the plane I modeled and I noticed that the red
triangles on the nose had white borders. I added these with some leftover kit
decals. I also noticed that the “27” on the fuselage sides did not have a red
border. Since I don’t possess a decal printer, I decided that I could live with
the thin red border on the kit-supplied decals. Other than the aforementioned
issues, the markings are correct and in register. After weathering the decals, I
gave the plane a final flat clear coat.
The landing gear and other final bits were added at this time. Final detailing was then completed.
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