|KIT:||Anigrand 1/72 Yak-36 'Freehand'|
|PRICE:||$38.00 from Nostalgic Plastic|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run resin kit with vac canopy|
Vertical flight has always been a fascination for aircraft designers. Helicopters are nice, but what is really challenging is doing so with an aircraft that is also designed to fly fast in the horizontal. Rotating wings have their limits and are not appropriate for all environments. This is especially true when it comes to speeding in, delivering ordnance and getting out. For that you need fixed wings.
The 1950s and early 60s were a time of much experimentation in the realm of vertical take off and landing when it comes to fixed wing aircraft. All sorts of things were tried from aircraft that took off and landed on their tails, aircraft that had wings that tilted to the vertical to various forms of thrust vectoring. It is this last method that has become the most successful and it is the basic principle behind the Kestrel/Harrier.
This was not lost on the Soviets and designer Alexander Yakovlev just had to give it a try. Unlike the Harrier, there were only two rotating nozzles, a somewhat fixed nozzle was fitted in the nose and tail of his test bed to provide pitch control. In order to help combat the problem of hot gas ingestion (which kills power and therefore, lift) a retractable door was fit under the nose and fuselage center section. It was also a twin engine aircraft, quite unlike the Harrier.
Three prototypes were built of the 'Yak-36' and given nose numbers 36, 37, and 38. The first hover was in 1964 with free flight two years later. It was publicly displayed in 1967, complete with rocket pods and NATO was taken completely by surprise. Thinking it might be in full production, it was given the designation 'Freehand', however, the aircraft was inherently unstable and so was used to provide further flight data that were all used for the more successful Yak-38 Forger.
By now, I've come to expect Anigrand kits to be pretty reliable in their contents. The general molding is good with somewhat large engraved panel lines and some molding glitches, mostly in the form of air bubbles in various locales. Most are quite easy to take care of though those on the trailing edges are always the trickiest. As this is a short run kit, one can never be sure of just what the quality of the molding will be. Some kits have been better than others and this is one of those better ones.
Cockpit is generic seat and control stick. I'd still like to see at least a decal for the instrument panel on these kits. Landing gear is fairly well formed with the nose wheel being integral to the nose gear for strength. Gear doors are molded in the closed position and have to be cut along the panel lines to display them open. Same with the underside auxiliary intakes. A piece with compressor faces is included to go in the intake. A nice molding trick is that the intake splitter and nose probe are a single piece. One vac canopy is included and has rather indistinct frames so masking will not be easy. I do wish Anigrand would include a spare. It can't cost that much more.
The instructions are also pretty much the same. One side of the sheet has a brief history with a photo on one half, while the other is an exploded view with parts listing. On the back is a painting and decal guide. Two strips of decals are provided. One with Russian stars and the other with the aircraft number and some ejection seat warning triangles.
One thing I know about these kits. They are not difficult to build. They will offer you the opportunity to use many of your modeling skills. They will make a really nice model to add to your shelf. They produce kits that no one else does. If you are thinking about giving a resin short run kit a try, this one would be a good one to start with.
Many thanks to for Nostalgic Plastic the review sample. Get yours direct and pay no shipping.
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