AMK 1/48 L-29 'Delfin'
Scott Van Aken
New tool kit
The Aero L-29 Delfín (English:
Dolphin, NATO reporting name: Maya) is a
military jet trainer aircraft that became the standard jet trainer for the
air forces of Warsaw Pact nations in the 1960s. It was Czechoslovakia's
first locally designed and built jet aircraft.
In the late 1950s, the Soviet Air Force was seeking a
jet-powered replacement for its fleet of piston-engined trainers, and this
requirement was soon broadened to finding a trainer aircraft that could be
adopted in common by Eastern Bloc air forces. Aero's response, the prototype
XL-29 designed by Z. Rublič and K. Tomá first flew on 5 April 1959, powered
by a British Bristol Siddeley Viper engine. The second prototype was powered
by the Czech-designed M701 engine, which was used in all subsequent
The basic design concept was to produce a
straightforward, easy-to-build and operate aircraft. Simplicity and
ruggedness were stressed with manual flight controls, large flaps and the
incorporation of perforated airbrakes on the fuselage sides providing stable
and docile flight characteristics, leading to an enviable safety record for
the type. The sturdy L-29 was able to operate from grass, sand or unprepared
fields. Both student pilot and instructor had ejection seats, and were
positioned in tandem, under separate canopies with a slightly raised
In 1961, the L-29 was evaluated against the PZL TS-11
Iskra and Yakovlev Yak-30 and emerged the winner. Poland chose to pursue the
development of the TS-11 Iskra anyway, but all other Warsaw Pact countries
adopted the Delfin under the agreements of COMECON.
Production began April 1963 and
continued for 11 years, with 3,600 eventually built until 1974. A dedicated,
single-seat, aerobatic version was developed as the
A reconnaissance version with nose-mounted cameras was built as the
The L-29 was operated by literally dozens of air forces
and is still equipping a handful. A considerable number are being operated
am not sure with whom AMK is associated or if it is a start-up
company, but it is made in China and the company itself is based in
Macau. The molding on the kit is first rate with the now to be
expected engraved detailing and plethora of sunken rivets/screws. I
found absolutely no molding glitches, not even ejector pin marks
inside gear doors.
kit includes a photo etch fret that interestingly, does not include
a set of seat harnesses. These bits are for the belly antennas,
speed brake hinges, and the detail inside the flap housings on the
wing. Clear parts are very clear and include things like
landing lights and the blast shield in between the front and rear
seats. I like that the canopy sections include the framework,
something a few new kits have done separately.
Cockpit s well appointed with two nicely done bang seats, separate
control sticks, the ejection rails for the seats, raised console
decals and decals that provide dial detail for the two instrument
panels. The kit offers a nose cover that can be built open to show
the various electronics and pressure bottles stored there. No intake
trunking is provided but there is a full exhaust section that
includes the final compressor face.
Flaps can be molded open or closed with, as mentioned, etched brass
detail for the inside of the flap wells. Both the main and nose gear
wells are nicely detailed with the nose gear well being part of the
nose detail assembly. I like that for the main gear, the wheels and
tires are separate parts, making painting much easier. While the
ailerons are fixed in place, the elevator and rudder pieces are
separate. Speed brakes can be posed open or closed. You can also
pose the two canopies open or closed as you so wish. They are very
clear so any detail in the cockpit will be easily seen. Two drop
tanks are provided for under the wings. AMK has already opened the
holes for these so if you choose not to use them, you will need to
fill these holes.
Instructions are very nicely done and in full color. The paint
information is in Gunze and where applicable, FS 595 references.
Markings are provided for seven aircraft in a variety of camouflage
and markings schemes. Two are Czech, with one each for Russia,
Slovakia, East Germany, Iraq and Indonesia. The decals are superbly
printed, crisp, and very colorful. I anticipate an aftermarket sheet
or two on this plane since they did fly with so many nations.
Prior to the release of this kit, the only other L-29 of which I
am aware in this scale was the resin version from Planet Models.
This one looks like a beauty and while I'm not sure what else is
coming down the pike aside from their Kfir, I think most folks
will be quite pleased. I've been in a 'trainer' mode recently so
you can be sure that you'll see this one built shortly. In fact,
here is a link to the build article.
You can thank me for picking this one up.
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