Eduard 1/72 La-7
|PRICE:||$11.95 plus shipping|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Developed from the highly successful La-5, the La-7 was quite similar in general appearance to the earlier fighter, using many of the same airframe components. The big difference was in engine and armament. A new 1850 hp Shvetsov radial engine and increase in armament to three nose mounted cannon made for a very potent aircraft. In tests, the La-7 was nearly 45 mph faster than its major opponent, the FW-190.
First flying in early 1944, the La-7 was quickly deployed to the VVS's finest fighter regiments, where many of the Soviet Union's aces praised the aircraft for its increased speed, maneuverability and firepower over the slightly slower La-5. In order to improve performance even more, most La-7s returned to having only two cannon. Besides, by that time in the war, the presence of the Luftwaffe was being felt even less and less. Of the approximately 3300 La-7s produced the vast majority of the production run was of the two cannon variety.
The end of the war and the coming of gas turbine engines for fighters meant that the La-7 had a relatively short active service. The Soviet Union had purged them from all fighter regiments by 1947, having replaced them with La-9/11 aircraft or with the earliest Soviet jets. In those countries under Soviet influence or control, the aircraft lasted into the early 1950s.
Many years ago, Eduard released this kit in the Profipack boxing. This is the Weekend Edition without the multiple markings options, masks or photo etch. The parts themselves are all that one has come to expect from Eduard. The detailing is superb, they are totally free of flash, sink areas or ejector pin marks that will show. They are right up there with the big boys from what I can see in the box. A nice addition to this kit are their 'fabric' seat harness. I'm not sure if they peel off or have to be cut with scissors, but the instructions state to use white glue to attach them.
As you might expect from a fighter, there are no real options aside from the choice of an open or closed canopy. A nice touch is that the wheel hubs are separate so that you can paint the tires without worrying about slopping paint onto the hubs. Not used are the nose and upper cowling for the three cannon fighter as this is the most produced two gun version. However, it is nice to know it is there in case one wanted to do some research and produce an early La-7 model.
Instructions are well done with what appears to be Gunze and Humbrol paint references. Typical of the type, the aircraft are in AMT-11/12 on the upper surface and AMT-7 on the underside. I guess all Soviet La-7s had white numbers with a red outline and so it is here. Both options have a red spinner and forward cowling with one having red triangles just after the cowling. Decals are very nicely done and should provide no issues. The La-7 was flown in other nations after the war so you might be able to locate something a bit different if you look.
Prior to this kit, your only options in this scale were Frog, KP, and Hobby Boss. All three built into fairly nice models, but were no where near as detailed as this one. If you have them, build them, but if you want the best so far, this is it.
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