A-Model 1/72 Yak-21




$19.00 (OZ bucks)


One aircraft


Mark Fordham




There was almost no information about the Yak 21 on the net or in any of the reference books I have mainly because this plane falls slightly outside my reference era so here's all I could dig up. The Yak 21 was a two-seat conversion trainer version of the Yak 15. It used the fuselage and wings of the Yak 3 fighter, but  was powered by a jet engine, which was installed in the nose with the exhaust under the wing. It was fitted with conventional undercarriage. In this way the pilots had an easy introduction to jet engines and kept the local fire fighters busy putting out the runway fires. The engine itself was a copy of the German Jumo 004 as used in the Me 262.



The Yak 21 is typical of Amodel’s short run moldings, with the part being a little soft in detail and some flash and sink marks in the wings. Small fine detail parts little wheels and instrument panels being usable despite needing a fair amount of work needed to clean them up. Instructions are well drawn and have the usual multi-lingual support with the primary language being Russian, The Russian – English translations make for some interesting reading and the English history of the aircraft make no sense what so ever!.

 Decals are supplied for one aircraft and are the same as supplied for the  single seat Yak 17 with a couple of fuselage numbers thrown in for the Yak 21, the decals themselves looked thin and for he most part well printed although two of my stars had little nicks in them.


Construction starts with the usual short run kit cleanup with all the major parts being removed from the sprue and lightly sanded and all edges trued up. Panel lines are recessed but are a little soft so they were rescribed as needed. Cockpit detail as supplied consists of a floor, seats, and control panels. I added some sidewall detail courtesy of my home cast side panels a couple of rudder pedals and some seatbelt webbing from tape. Not much more is needed in 1/72 scale as once the thick canopy is glued on most of the detail will be hidden.

 Fit of the fuselage wasn’t that crash hot but the plastic is thick and soft so hiding the join lines was a snap. One point to watch out for is the fit of the nose cone, I didn’t pay attention to the alignment and discovered after everything had dried that the nose cone was off center arrrgggg!!. The main wings were attached at this point and the joins filled and sanded again thankful to the thick soft plastic that sands nicely. the trailing edges were thinned down and lost panel lines re-scribed The separate flaps were added at this point.

 Turning to the underside of the jet engine, Amodel have moulded the rear of the “jumo” with a separate tail cone and panel that just doesn’t fit, the best idea is to trim the rear insert to fit and fill and sand until it flairs in with the rest of the fuselage. The rest of the construction is straight forward with only the cleaning up and paring back typical of short run kits such as these. The canopy needs a lot of work to flair into the fuselage so after masking of the lines Tamiya putty was applied to the gaps and smoothed off with nail polish remover to minimize sanding. 


Russian aircraft of this vintage have some of  the easiest paint jobs of all camouflaged aircraft and would be a suitable candidate for spray cans.  The upper surfaces are all over Green with the undersides that lovely shade of pale Blue. All paints are enamel as I loath acrylics with a passion so Humbrol 105 was used for the top with Humbrol 65 following up after a slightly tricky masking job forward of the wings. Once dry a couple coats of Future was applied in readiness for the decals, East European decals are a real “pig-in-a-poke” as they range from shocking to good. Thankfully the Amodel's decals fall into the latter bracket and went down nicely with no silvering  using my home brewed decal softener. I did screw up one of the “B” marking and ended up tearing it.

 A few days later the excess decal softener was washed off and a couple coats of Humbrol MattKote sprayed on to sealing the decals. Some light weathering was post shading was done and the jet exhaust stain added. The pitot tube was made from a sewing needle and the radio aerial added from invisible thread once the undercarriage was painted and added that as they say is that.   


Well a nice little model of a very cool looking plane, Amodel kits are defiantly NOT “shake and bake” kits but if you’re a prepared to put in a bit of effort you will end up with a collection of interesting subjects that will stand out at the next model club meeting amongst all those P-47s and P-51s. If you are looking for a change and want to add some interesting aircraft to your collection don’t overlook the Amodel range.

One of the most enjoyable models that I have done in a long long time, recommended.


Good luck. (Actually, there is a very nice reference on early Soviet jet fighters  that includes a goodly amount of info on the Yak-21. Ed)

Mark Fordham

March 2003

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