Modelsvit 1/48 Yak-1B

KIT #: 4801
PRICE: $30.45 from
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit


The Yakovlev Yak-1 was a World War II Soviet fighter aircraft. Produced from early 1940, it was a single-seat monoplane with a composite structure and wooden wings.

The Yak-1 was extremely manoeuvrable, fast and well armed, and, just as importantly, it was easy to maintain and reliable. It formed an excellent basis for subsequent developments from the Yakovlev bureau. In fact it was the founder of a family of aircraft, with some 37,000 being built. As a reward, the designer was awarded the Order of Lenin (Russian: Орден Ленина, Orden Lenina) - the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union - a 100,000 rouble prize, plus a Zis motor car.

The Yak-1b - ("b" was an unofficial designation; after October 1942, all Yak-1s were built to this standard). This was the second production version. New bubble canopy with lowered rear fuselage, increased armor, ShKAS machine guns replaced with a single 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Berezin UBS, electrical and pneumatic firing of the weapons instead of the mechanical system, new control stick based on the Messerschmitt Bf 109 design, new gunsight, airtight fuselage, retractable tailwheel, improved engine cooling, Klimov M-105PF engine with better low-altitude performance. The first flight (aircraft No.3560) took place in June 1942, with aircraft entering production in August. A total of 4,188 were built.


Here is another start up model company from Ukraine. I have not heard of them before and have to say that I'm rather impressed by what I see in the box. The kit is very well molded with superb detailing, including some very fine rivet and screw work. I'm also impressed with the realistic fabric covering that has been done with this one. No overt frame work and no hills and valleys, either. Details on the parts are very good with some particularly petite sections for the interior. There is also a lot of additional interior detailing I've not seen on any other 1/48 Yak kit. Something quite different is that the kit can be built with the metal side panels around the cockpit opened up so you can see this detail from the outside. Separate panels are provided for you to use in place of the ones you'll need to cut away.

Because of all the detail, some might think the kit is a bit fiddly. Perhaps, but at least we don't have to deal with an engine and panels that don't fit as on some other Yak kits. Some of what might be taken as parts for parts sake is the separate exhaust stubs and individual reinforcements above and below the stubs.

It is obvious that there are other Yaks in the works as the kit comes with landing gear and prop spinners that won't be used. The kit also comes with separate tires; both in plastic and in rubber. Most should go for the plastic ones as rubber has this tendency to split after several years. However, it is quite nice to have it as an option and I'm sure many will go this route. The kit is so designed that the landing gear pieces can be install near the end of the build. This helps when it comes to painting. For clear bits, there is a one-piece canopy (which is a shame as one should have the ability to open up the canopy to show that interior detail), and separate clear wing tip light lenses.

The instructions are superbly done in 3-D style that is quite clear. Color information is with Humbrol paints and there is a full color camo and markings guide for four planes. Using the above image we have: 31 GIAP, Major BN Eroyomin from August 1943 in the usual green black over light blue;  427 AIP Capt Chuvilev at Kharkov in August 1943. This one is in the same black/green/light blue camo but with a red forward fuselage and white stripes, both of which will need to be painted.  In light grey with a dark grey tail section and red spinner is 2 GIAP's Capt. V. Pokrovskiy's  plane from 1943. Finally, in winter white with a light blue underside, we have a 31 GIAP plane from Stalingrad as flown by Major B.N. Eryomin in December 1942. All of the painting information is provided using Humbrol references. AMT colors would have been nice as well for those who can get AMT standard colors. The large decal sheet is well done and matte. It is produced by Decograph. I noticed that the small kill markings and the red cross markings had the red and white off register. This did not extend to the insignia nor the large fuselage arrows on the third option as the shift is slight enough to be covered up by the red borders of these items.


I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with both the quality of the parts and amount of detail that is being provided. It will be very interesting to see how this one compares with the Accurate Miniatures kit of the same plane. I am also very thankful that there is no engine with it as that has done little for me with other kits than make the build more fussy.


March 2011 

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