|KIT:||Eduard 1/48 La-7 'Weekend Edition'|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Lavochkin La-7 (Лавочкин Ла-7) was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II. It was a development and refinement of the Lavochkin La-5, and the last in a family of aircraft that had begun with the LaGG-1 in 1938.
By 1943, the La-5 had become a mainstay of the Soviet Air Force, yet both its head designer, Semyon Lavochkin, as well as the engineers at TsAGI ("Central Aerohydrodynamics Institute") felt that it could be improved upon. The LaGG-1 had been designed at a time when it was felt necessary to conserve strategic materials such as aircraft alloys, and had a structure built almost entirely of plywood. With Soviet strategists now confident that supplies of these alloys were unlikely to become a problem, Lavochkin began replacing large parts of the airframe (including the wing spars) with alloy components. Various other streamlining changes were made as well, increasing performance further. The prototype, internally designated La-120 by Lavochkin, flew in November, and was quickly put into production, entering service the following spring.
The La-7 earned itself a superb combat record by the end of the war, and was flown by the top two Soviet aces of the conflict. Turning a full circle took 19-21 seconds. The aircraft was also used as a test bed to explore advanced propulsion systems, including a tail-mounted liquid-fuelled rocket engine (La-7R), two under-wing pulsejets (La-7D), and two under-wing ramjets (La-7S). None of these variants proved worth pursuing, and turbojet technology quickly overtook them.
The La-7 was the only Soviet fighter to shoot down a Messerschmitt Me-262, by Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub on one occasion over Germany on February 15, 1945.
Total production of the La-7 amounted to 5,753 aircraft, including a number of La-7UTI trainers. Those aircraft still in service after the end of the war were given the NATO reporting name Fin. The follow-up model, La-9 despite its outward similarity was a complete reworking of the design.
You have probably all heard about the Eduard 'Weekend Edition' kits. These are older Eduard kits, but are about as standard, plain jane model kit as you can get. Pretty much like most everything else out there. No photo etch, no resin, no canopy or wheel mask and no multiple options (like the La-7 would have them anyway).
The kit itself is really very well molded. There is no flash and I only found sink areas on the intake trunking that goes in the wings. There were some ejector marks, but those were small and will be easily filled or sanded down. There is good cockpit detail and while no engine is provided, it would be invisible behind the fan anyway so no loss. There are also no exhaust ports with that area covered by a slip of plastic. The canopy is in three parts so you can show the interior should you wish to do so.
That's about it. The instructions are also rather bare-boned with a single sheet on which are drawn the construction steps and a parts diagram. Colors are in Mr.Color and rather generic. Means you'll have to do some research though the aircraft looks to be in the later war AMT-11/12 upper surface colors. Decals are well printed and for the box art aircraft of Maj. Amet Khan Sultan. The decal placement and painting guide is the box.
When one thinks that this kit used to retail in the $30 range, having it available at nearly a third that price is a real bargain and one doesn't see many nowadays. It seems to me to be a way for Eduard to either sell off excess kits or to help amortize the cost of the molds, either way, we win on this as one can rarely find a kit of this quality at this price. I'm sure Eduard hopes we will spring for the various photo etched sets to spruce it up! As to it being a weekend build, well, not from this kid!
Wikipedia and Google
I can't believe I paid retail, but I can't pass up a bargain.
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