|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run kit|
The Yakovlev design bureau began work on an advanced trainer based on the successful Yak-3 fighter in mid 1944, although the trainer was of low priority owing to the ongoing Second World War. The first prototype of the new trainer, designated Yak-UTI or Yak-3UTI flew in late 1945. It was based on the radial-powered Yak-3U, but with the new Shvetsov ASh-21 seven-cylinder radial replacing the ASh-82 of the Yak-3U. It used the same all-metal wings as the Yak-3U, with a fuselage of mixed metal and wood construction. Pilot and observer sat in tandem under a long canopy with separate sliding hoods. A single synchronised UBS 12.7 mm machine gun and wing racks for two 100 kg (220 lb) bombs comprised the aircraft's armament.
An improved prototype flew in 1946, with revised cockpits and a modified engine installation with the engine mounted on shock absorbing mounts. This aircraft successfully passed state testing in October 1946, with production beginning at factories in Saratov and Leningrad in 1947.
Production Yak-11s were heavier than the prototypes, with later batches fitted with non-retractable tail wheels and revised propellers. A 7.62 mm ShKAS machine gun was sometimes fitted instead of the UBS, while some were fitted with rear-view periscopes above the windscreen. In total, Soviet production amounted to 3,859 aircraft between 1947 and 1955. with a further 707 licence-built by Let in Czechoslovakia as the C-11.
The Yak-11 set five world-class records. It was also used by over 20 nations. Many are warbirds, flying in spurious fighter colors, while some have been converted to inline engine Yaks and yet others converted to air racers.
There are many of us who just like trainers and as trainers go, the Yal-11 is a nice looking aircraft. Since it was developed from the Yak-3, it has a simple and sleek look to it. I guess you could equate it to the T-6 in terms of aircraft that just look right. It has much in common with the T-6 including a radial engine, low wing, long greenhouse, and it is a tail dragger.
Aeroteam is a company that produced a few short run kit and may still be around for all I know. This is typical of the genre in that there is a single sprue with fine engraved detailing and with plastic that is very shiny on the engraved side. The inside of large parts has ejector towers that will have to be removed. Unlike many short run kits, this one has an injected canopy, a big plus for those of us who are hopeless when it comes to vac canopies.
This one comes with a flat cockpit floor on which the two control sticks and two seats are placed. There are a pair of inner framework pieces with consoles to fit onto the cockpit floor. Rudder pedals are small triangular nubs protruding from the floor. A pair of instrument panels with raised detail fit on the fuselage sides. There are different for the front and rear.
The wing consists of a full span lower half onto which the upper wings attach. Single piece tail planes butt join to the fuselage. The kit can be built with the gear up if one wishes. The main gear doors will need to be cut to represent lowered gear. Wheels are fair and are two halves that are cemented together. The engine cowling, is simply cemented onto the front of the fuselage. The Yak-11 had a fan that pretty well hid any engine detail. A separate prop and spinner butt join to the front of the cowling as there is no prop shaft. Small antennas are provided as is a pitot tube. These are placed depending on the markings version you are doing. The canopy is thick and a single piece.
Instructions have five major construction steps with a few detail drawings for things like gear door arrangement. There are markings for three aircraft. One is an Egyptian plane in overall grey-green that looks to be similar to RLM 02 and seems to be the standard color of these planes as a google search shows those few period color photos of this plane in this shade. It has a yellow rear fuselage band and spinner. This plane was captured by the Israelis during the 1967 war and later sold to the civilian market. The other two are Czech. One is an Air Force plane from the mid 1950s in the standard shade. The other is a civil variant in two shades of blue grey over light grey that was flown by an aero club post 1964. Decals are by Propagteam so will be quite thin.
I am not sure of the kit's availability as this one has been with me for over a decade. The only other Yak-11 I have had in this scale was an unknown resin kit that succumbed to a move. It is somewhat surprising that there have not been more kits of this rather popular aircraft. Perhaps there have been but I have not known about it. It is a must have type for anyone whose penchant is for trainers or Yaks.
Thanks to me for picking this one up many years ago.
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