AMK 1/48 L-29 Delfin
The Aero L-29 Delfin (Dolphin)was Czechoslovakia's first locally-designed
and built jet aircraft, and became the standard jet trainer for all Warsaw Pact
air forces (other than Poland) during the 1960s.
The prototype XL-29, designed by Z. Rublic and K. Tomáš, 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 aircraft. The basic design concept was 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 to provide stable and docile flight
characteristics, As a result, the L-29 had an enviable safety record. The sturdy
L-29 was able to operate from grass, dirt or unprepared fields. Production
commenced in April 1963, with 3,600 L-29s built by 1974, of which 2,000 were
taken on charge by the Red Air Force.
The Delfin could be used for weapons training, and was equipped with
hardpoints to carry gunpods, bombs or rockets.
Armed Egyptian L-29s were used against Israeli tanks during the Yom
The type also saw combat alongside the late L-39 Albatross in ground
attack missions by the Azeri Air Force during
the Nagorno-Karabakh War. At least 14 were shot down by Armenian
air-defenses, out of the total Azeri inventory of 18 L-29's. On July 16, 1975, a
Czechoslovak Air Force L-29 shot down a Polish AN-2 piloted by Dionizy Bielanski,
who was attempting to defect to the West.
The Russians claim to have destroyed two Georgian L-29s during the 2008
South Ossetia war, and the Separatists in the current Ukrainian Civil War
claimed to have an operational L-29 in use on January 18, 2015.
On September 14, 2008, two L-29s took first and second place at the Reno
Air Races, with both aircraft consistently posting laps at or above 500 miles
per hour. Former Astronaut Curt Brown took first place in "Viper," followed by
Red Bull racer Mike Mangold in "Euroburner."
After the splitting of Czechoslovakia into the Czech and Slovak
Republics, the Slovakian Air Force operated 16 L-29s until 2003.
There is a 1/32 all-resin L-29 that was released a few years back by HPH,
and Planet Models also released a 1/72 L-29 resin kit (and one in 1/48.
Check the archives. Ed). Bilek
released an L-29 in 1/72 injection plastic, as did KP Models.
AvantGarde Model Kits of China released this 1/48 injection molded L-29
The AMK kit is a very high-quality design.
The clear canopy parts are optically perfect.
All the surface detail is in opetite engraved-line work.
All parts are crisply molded and there is no flash to be seen anywhere.
Decals are provided for seven different schemes: 3 silver (Soviet,
Czechoslovak and Iraqi air forces), 2 grey (Czech Republic and Indonesia) and 2
camouflaged (East Germany and Slovak Republic).
A small photo-etch fret is proved for detail parts, primarily in the flap
well. All control surfaces are
molded separately, and there is no difficulty in assembly with the flaps up or
down (generally if flaps-down are provided, this is the that is most workable).
The seven page instruction booklet is clear and very user-friendly with
full color painting and markings instructions.
For a look at the parts and
decals visit the preview.
I followed the kit instructions and began with the cockpit.
There is not a lot of detail provided, but what is there is sufficient.
There is an L-29 out at Planes of Fame which I examined shortly after
this kit arrived at the all-new Le Chateau du Chat, and the actual cockpit is
not all that "busy" itself. The
seats are accurate, and the instrument panel decal provides
The really nice thing about this kit is that everything assembles very
easily. All the parts fit very
precisely, and if you exercise care, you will not need any putty or seam filler
anywhere. Follow the very logical
instructions and you will have no difficulties anywhere in the construction
I used fishweights pressed flat with pliers to provide the necessary
weight for nose-sitting. Cramming
sufficient weight under the cockpit tug and immediately behind it was the one
hard part of the whole assembly.
To me, the all-silver and all-grey options resulted in a very drab look.
It would have been nice to have the option of doing one or more of the
many aerobatic teams that used the L-29, but in the end I opted for the
Slovakian L-29 with tri-color upper camouflage.
Aftger pre-shading the model, I painted it freehand using Tamiya paints -
Buff, Hull Red, and RAF Dark Green, with a Light Grey lower color.
The decals are excellent quality and go down under a coat of Midro-Sol
with no problem.
I attached the landing gear, and unmaksed the canopies, which I posed in
the open position.
This AMK kit is highest-quality and well worth its price, creating a very
nice model of an airplane that most certainly has not been "done to death."
I have also received the 1/48 Kfir C2 and Fouga Magister kits that AMK
have released in the past year.
These kits came out nearly simultaneously with those of the same subjects by
Kinetic. I can say having looked at
both the Kinetic kits and these kits that the AMK kits provide finer detail (the
Magister has complete engines and can be assembled with panels open) than their
Kinetic competitors. AMK is set to
release a 1/48 MiG-31 that I am willing to bet will be one of the best modern
Soviet aircraft kits available when it comes out.
This L-29 is highly recommended to anyone interested in trainers, Eastern
bloc aircraft, or out of the ordinary subjects.
Review kit courtesy of AMK.
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