|KIT:||Valom 1/72 Yak-7V|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New Mold kit|
Initially developed as a two seat trainer for the Yak-1 fighter series, the Yak-7 was quickly developed into a fighter in its own right. Initial trials of the Yak-7 UTI (initially known as the UTI-26) began in mid 1940. As with the Yak-1, it was a composite of materials with wooden wings, fin and rudder with a tube frame fuselage covered with fabric. Control surfaces were also fabric covered. Armament was a single 12.7mm ShKaS machine gun mounted in the upper cowling. Production of the Yak-7 UTI ran from mid to late 1941 with 186 aircraft built.
An additional development of the Yak-7 UTI was the Yak-7V. It was a pilot conversion trainer and differed by having fixed landing gear and no armament. This aircraft was often used as a unit hack or to introduce new pilots to fighter type aircraft. Such were the excellent flying qualities of the Yak-7UTI and the Yak-7V that the design was developed into the full-fledged Yak-7 fighter. However, that is beyond the scope of this particular kit.
The Yak-7B was the main fighter version and had an improved Klimov M-105PA engine with armament of a single 20mm nose cannon and two cowl machine guns of 12.7mm calibre. It also was able to carry six RS-82 air to ground rockets. 261 of this type were built in mid 1942.
Along with their Yak-7v, Valom has released the Yak-7B. Aside from the other Valom kit, the only other 1/72 injected Yak-7 I know of is the Dako kit. This is NOT that kit. There is one sprue of grey injected plastic, one of clear plastic with both a singe and double canopy set-up, a vacuformed double canopy, a small fret of etched brass, a bag of resin and a small decal sheet.
Molding on the plastic parts is fairly good with nice engraved detail. I also found the the rivet detail, what little there is, is indented as well. If you recall many of the older Soviet magazines and soft cover books that were around in the late 1980s, you'll recall that the plans often included had every rivet on the plans. That is how the detailing is on this kit. I don't find anything 'bad' about it; it is just a bit unexpected. The fabric detail is nicely done without the exaggerated 'hills and valleys' one can find in kits. All of the parts have rough edges typical of short run kits. I also found that the bits like struts suffered from mold mis-alignment. Nothing horrendous, but it is there and the builder will have to deal with it. It is obvious from the 'extra' parts on the two injected sprues that these will be common to all of the kits in the series.I've shown the sprues for the Yak-7v as the styrene plastic parts are identical.
The vacuformed canopy is nicely done and as the injected clear bits are a bit on the thick side, I'm sure that there are those who will be using it. The small etched fret includes belts, rudder pedals, cooler screens, instrument panels and landing gear oleo scissors. Resin is used for the side panels, spinner backing plate, wheels, rockets and rocket rails.
Instructions are nicely done on high quality glossy paper. There are multiple color references on the back with 8 construction steps inside. Any additional bits of sprue needed are clearly shown as are those colors needed during construction. The center of the small booklet includes a full color painting and markings guide. In this case, both aircraft are initially in black/green over light blue. The box art aircraft, white 34, has a worn winter wash over it. The other is white 29 and both are from the 1943 time frame. The decals are nicely printed with a somewhat large clear carrier that can be easily trimmed off.
This is a very nice little kit that I can recommend to all who are not afraid to use some of those modeling skills built up over the years. The subject is interesting and is part of this year's line that will include a couple of more Yak-7 versions.
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