Amodel 1/72 Yak-55
|PRICE:||$11.95 from www.scale-model-kits.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Low pressure injected plastic kit.|
The Yakovlev Yak-55 and Yak-55M (short wing version) are aerobatic aircraft designed in 1980 by V.P. Kondratiev and D.K. Drach. The project director was S.A. Yakovlev.
The aircraft design had almost nothing in common with the preceding Yakovlev Yak-50 except the 360 horsepower (270 kW) Vedeneyev M14P engine and V-530TA-D35 propeller. The Yak-55 has a thick (18 percent) mid-mounted symmetrical wing with one main spar. The aircraft is of a conventional semi-monocoque all-metal construction. The cockpit is positioned above the trailing edge of the wing, and is covered with a sliding teardrop canopy. The seat is positioned below wing level. The undercarriage is fixed with titanium sprung main gear and tailwheel.
Series production was planned to begin in 1982. A serious delay occurred when the wing was found to suffer from structural failure. This forced a redesign, resulting in a thinner but stronger wing. Series production finally began in 1986 at Arsenyev, with 108 aircraft being delivered by 1991.
The prototype Yak-55 first flew in May 1981 and was shown to the West at the World Aerobatic Championships in 1982. Unfortunately, structural failures in the wing slowed the aircraft's introduction to competition. The Soviet aerobatic team first used the aircraft in 1984 when they won the World Aerobatic Championship. That same year the Soviet woman's aerobatic team took first place flying the Yak-55, Kh. Makagonova winning individual gold.
The aircraft has been relatively free of Service Bulletins and Airworthiness Directives and has proved exceedingly effective in competition at all levels. The obvious capabilities of the aircraft and its success in use, together with the relatively large numbers built (some 250) have meant that owners make relatively few modifications and that few are needed. The cockpit is roomy (but a bit short in leg length) and the aircraft is a delight to fly although some say it is difficult to land neatly. Thus affectionately nicknamed the crop duster.
This is one of the somewhat less involved of Amodel's kits. Like the others, it is low pressure injection molding so one needs to treat it like a short run and test fit everything. The overall molding is quite well done with four sprues of various shades of grey and a clear molded canopy. This is a kit that should include a pilot as aerobatic models look best on a stand as if in the air.
I was particularly interested in noting that all of the control surfaces were separate. This doesn't mean that they can be posed in different positions without a bit of work. The mating surfaces are flat and one would need to do a bit of work to make things look right, but all the hard work has been done for you. Thanks to the large cooling fan, no engine is visible and so not provided. The landing gear have the wheels and spats molded together to make things easy. The interior is quite basic, but provides all you need. I liked that the tail planes and wings have large slots in which to fit the tabs.
Instructions are quite well done with several construction steps. The small decal sheet is for one aircraft and provides only insignia, number and name. All the red and black bits on the airframe will need to be painted on. It would have been nice to have at least the rudder stripes as a decal as the rudder is quite plain and devoid of any demarcation lines to help the painter. However, the up side is that all the colors will be the same shade. I've had rather good results with the kit decals and while the carrier film is a bit more than on some, a bit of trimming will reduce that.
I like aerobatic aircraft and if you also enjoy these types of planes, then this is one that you should seriously consider adding to your collection.
Thanks to www.scale-model-kits.com for the preview kit. Get yours at the link and at a discount.
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