|KIT:||Amodel 1/72 Yak-53|
|PRICE:||$13.98 MSRP, but purchased for less than half that.|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Sure looks short run|
While OKB Yakovlev is well known for its superb fighters during the Great Patriotic War, and its long range interceptors that operated in the 50's and the 60's, Yak has also been dabbling in civil and aerobatic aircraft for quite a long time as well. Post war, the Yak-18 was widely used as were others based on the Yak-3 fighter.
In the early 1970s, a fully aerobatic single seat sports aircraft, the Yak-50 was developed. This was later enlarged to a two seat trainer, the Yak-52. The two major differences between the Yak-50 and 52 were the twin seats and the tricycle landing gear of the Ya-52. This offered much easier ground handling than a tail wheel so it was logical to incorporate this feature into the Yak-50 single seat aircraft and the Yak-53 was born.
Though most construction took place in Romania, the Yak-53 has been widely used in Soviet bloc countries and has been exported to other countries around the world. One of the more unusual aspects of the aircraft is that the wheels are not totally retractable, so if a pilot has landing gear trouble or forgets to lower them, it minimizes damage to the airframe.
A-Model has the distinction of providing some very nice subjects, especially if one is into things Russian and unusual. Though not quite what one would call ultra-odd, the truth is that there are few others doing models of sports/acrobatic aircraft so the enthusiast should take what they can get and be happy.
As are so many kits today, this on is in the hated 'letter box' container, so it behooves the modeler to only open one end of the shrink wrap to keep parts from disappearing. Once open, it is immediately apparent that a box half the size could have easily been used as the small bag with three white and one clear sprue emerges into the light. A set of instructions and a decal sheet also comes tumbling out.
The white sprues are quite thick, though the attachment points are commendably small. There is considerable flash on some of the parts and little or none on other. Even on thick parts I found no sink areas and no ejector pin marks.
It is obvious that there are two sprues used for most of the different Yak-50/52/53 variants; that of the fuselage (with the most flash), and upper wings/tail plane. The lower wing and landing gear sprue is peculiar to the Yak 52/53. I noticed that the cockpit is a bit Spartan with but a stick and seat and instrument panel. There are two props provided with only one being for this particular version. These Yaks have a cooling fan in front of the engine so no engine detail is provided at all. This aircraft will be a major tail sitter without nose weight so it behooves the builder to pack in as much as he can. There are no optional parts and no condescension to building it with gear up.
The small, but well done instructions are in both English and Russian with three well drawn construction steps. There is color info given with Humbrol and generic references. One basically paints the interior in Medium Grey with the outside in white and red with light grey landing gear. The good sized decal sheet provides markings for two planes; one during the Soviet years and one after the fall of communism in Russia. Both planes are basically white with red lower wings and tail planes. Though decals are given for the upper wing/tailplane leading edges, it would be in the builder's best interests to paint those. The anti-glare panel is provided as a decal, but again, paint may be the best option until one knows how well the decals work. Fuselage stripes and tail markings are well done with only a touch of mis-registration, but nothing really major. The decal sheet also provides an instrument panel and stencils. It is quite matte and with considerable carrier around the markings so one needs to trim this back a bit.
Tamiya this is not. But it is also not horrible by any stretch. Those of you who can build an older Airfix or Matchbox kit should not have any problems with this one at all. Despite some flash, the parts are well molded and though not overly detailed, it is better than many older kits out there. Besides, it is a subject one rarely sees built. No bombs, no rockets, no drop tanks, no rigging and a colorful scheme. How can you go wrong?
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