Dako 1/72 Yak-7B

KIT #

12006

PRICE:

CDN $11.92

DECALS:

Three aircraft

REVIEWER:

Scott Van Aken IPMS C5729

NOTES:

 

BACKGROUND

Visit the preview for a historical background and a look at what is in the box.

It is a pretty much standard commentary on kits from Eastern Europe that, for the most part, they need to be treated as short run kits. Face it, it takes big bucks to buy and operate the very large high pressure injection molding machines and to pay for the expensive computer guided mold cutting machines and the expensive high grade metals that are used. As a result, most of these guys and gals use low pressure machines and lower grade and easier to cut metals for their molds.

That generally means thicker, softer plastic. A lower level of detail, and generally poorer fit than what one gets from the 'big boys'. Fortunately for us, they are producing interesting kits and if one has intermediate skill levels, then they are not impossible to build and can make for some superb models.

CONSTRUCTION

First thing I did was to start cleaning up parts. All of them have some level of molding seams from minimal to quite a bit. It was especially evident on the thinner pieces and the clear bits. One can either clean as one builds (which is what I do) or do a gran mal cleanup of the entire kit at once. I did start with the interior on this one. Building up the various parts was not difficult, though I did  have a bit of trouble with the side consoles. There is no definite locator for these so one has to do a lot of guestimating from the instructions. There are cut-outs on the kit floor that help to align it when it comes time to install things. BTW, I painted all interior bits dark gull grey with black boxes and side consoles.

During this time, I also installed the exhaust. These fit from the inside. The openings in the fuselage are too small to permit them to fit so they all needed opening up, especially from the inside. I painted the instrument panel and installed that along with the interior parts. Before closing up the fuselage halves, the tail wheel needs to be glued in. This has a mounting T that is too long and needs trimmed. I did not trap the prop back plate between the two halves as recommended, leaving the prop off until last.

Once the fuselage was together, I brought out the filler as there was definitely some need for it in a few spots. Meanwhile, I went to work on the wings. Fit here is not at all bad and they were quickly assembled. They are a bit thicker on the wing tip than I'd like and those of you with the time and some sandpaper can undoubtedly make them the proper thinness.

Where I hit my first problem area was mating the wing to the fuselage. Fit is rather poor. Especially in the back where the wing is way too thick for the cutout in the fuselage. There were also large steps in the wing root area, despite my cutting down on areas where I thought there'd be trouble prior to gluing. The back area got treated to the BAF (Big-Ass-File) while the wing roots got several shots of filler. The forward wing/fuselage join wasn't the greatest either. The wing root intakes are here and, well, the end result is OK, but not that great. During this filler-fest, the tailplanes were glued in and some filler used for those. Same went for the separate rudder, which fit fairly well.

After a short breather while I worked on something else, I returned to the kit to finish things up. First was the gun sight. This little piece was almost totally imbedded in the clear sprue and required some careful cutting to get something that looked proper out of it. With that installed and painted, it was time for the canopy bits. I should mention that the front and rear canopy sections have the part numbers switched in the instructions. Anyway, I carefully cut the rear section off, cleaned it up and test fit it in place. Way too tall. I then sanded down the fuselage where it fit until things were more acceptable. Still a teeny bit too tall, but a LOT better. Then the sliding portion was cleaned up and glued in place followed by the windscreen. Actually, though the general fit is not the greatest, it doesn't look that bad when done. The other clear bit was the landing light. This piece is very much oversize for the slot in the wing to which it fits. After some sanding down of this small piece, I placed it in the opening and put lots of Ambroid Pro-Weld cement in the opening. Then, using a pair of pliers, I forced the part into position. The 'hot' liquid cement I use is a great lubricant for these things as it 'melts' away the plastic and forms a very solid bond. When dry, it was sanded down to fit the wing and then polished using various grades of sandpaper.

Turning to the underside, there is a coolant radiator and an oil radiator that need gluing in place. Both fit rather poorly and needed some trimming to get into position. Once there, the usual filler was needed to smooth things out to where they were presentable.

At this point, I had a pretty complete airframe that was properly 'fillered' and ready for masking and painting.

CAMOUFLAGE & MARKINGS

The clear bits were masked with Tamiya tape and then the underside was painted with Aeromaster Russian Light Blue enamel. When dry, it was masked and the upper surface painted with Aeromaster Russian Topside Green enamel. This was thinned with lacquer thinner so it dried VERY fast. The upper sides were then masked off and the remaining aircraft painted black as stated in the kit instructions.  As usual, it was an hour of masking and five minutes of painting. I'd thought of free handing the camo, but in 1/72, it often looks better to mask. The fin tip and prop spinner were painted white.

Back at the bench, the plane was put on its landing gear. This required a bit of clean-up as did the retraction struts. The wheels were then applied as were the gear doors. I had to use the alternated tail wheel doors as the original fell to the carpet and was quickly snagged by the carpet gnomes. Somewhere in this house is a stash of about 30 pounds worth of plastic bits!

Once those items were on, the model was given a coat of Future clear gloss acrylic in preparation for the decals. Now I'd had less than positive experiences with the ProDecals that come in this kit so I tried one from a set of markings that I wasn't going to be using. No problems, so I carefully applied the rest of them. Needless to say, the decals in this kit are superb. A bit more clear trim around them than some others, but they are very thin, go down well and are nearly totally opaque. The previous problem must have been a one-time deal or just with that particular kit as this time I was quite pleased with the results. On the

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

With the decals down and dry, the model was then taken back to the paint shop for an application of clear matte, using my long-standing mixture of Tamiya flat base and Future.  Then the prop had the tip hand painted red before installation, the masking taken off and a bit of pastel used for exhaust. I didn't use the radio mast as most Russian aircraft didn't have radios because they were so poor. The pitot tube I also left off as it had broken into many pieces and I was a bit too lazy to make a new one!

CONCLUSIONS

There it is. Not a bad little kit and it looks nice when it is finished. A bit more work that I was expecting when I first opened the box, but overall, nothing that the intermediate modeler cannot handle. I really appreciate how nice the decals are, for Yak-7s are not well taken care of by the standard aftermarket folks. If your penchant is the VVS, you work in 1/72, and you need a pretty nice Yak-7B, well here you go!

May 2003
#1269 in a series

Thanks to IPMS Canada and Sky Grid for the review kit.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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