KP 1/72 La-7
|PRICE:||$2.00 'used' plus shipping|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Not a new kit|
Developed from the highly successful La-5, the La-7 was quite similar in general appearance to the earlier fighter, using many of the same airframe components. The big difference was in engine and armament. A new 1850 hp Shvetsov radial engine and increase in armament to three nose mounted cannon made for a very potent aircraft. In tests, the La-7 was nearly 45 mph faster than its major opponent, the FW-190.
First flying in early 1944, the La-7 was quickly deployed to the VVS's finest fighter regiments, where many of the Soviet Union's aces praised the aircraft for its increased speed, maneuverability and firepower over the slightly slower La-5. In order to improve performance even more, most La-7s returned to having only two cannon. Besides, by that time in the war, the presence of the Luftwaffe was being felt even less and less. Of the approximately 3300 La-7s produced the vast majority of the production run was of the two cannon variety.
The end of the war and the coming of gas turbine engines for fighters meant that the La-7 had a relatively short active service. The Soviet Union had purged them from all fighter regiments by 1947, having replaced them with La-9/11 aircraft or with the earliest Soviet jets. In those countries under Soviet influence or control, the aircraft lasted into the early 1950s.
Back in the modeling days of yore, there was a Czech modeling company named KP. This company made what were undoubtedly the best models of any Soviet bloc company. Their kits were well detailed and came with nice instructions and decals. Over the years that company morphed into KoPro, and with the advent of the fall of the Soviet Union, has continued to produce kits.
One of their kits from the 1970s or so is the La-7. This is a nicely molded kit in grey plastic that does not have a ton of rivets and, is appropriate for a plane made mostly of wood, has only some finely raised panel lines for panel detail. Those who know more about these things tell me that the aircraft is dimensionally accurate, which is always a good thing.
It is otherwise fairly basic. Cockpit is a seat and pilot figure that glues to the back of the 'pit. Wing has no boxed in wheel wells and is a lower piece with two upper halves. Tailplanes are a single piece as is the cockpit canopy. There are some plates to cover the exhaust on the side. The forward cowling is a single piece that accepts a prop with spinner. No spinner backing plate is provided.
Main gear has retraction struts and you are provided with inner and outer gear doors. There are two tail gear options; one fixed and one retractable with doors. The lower fuselage radiator has a separate intake piece and no radiator detail. There are two bombs to fit on the molded in wing racks. A stand is also provided, though my kit did not have this item.
Instructions are well done with lots of information if you can read Czech. There are six markings options. Three are for various iterations of Ivan Kozedub's aircraft #27. Three others are of Czech Aircraft. One of white 17 in both Soviet and Czech insignia and another overall green plane with SU-60 fuselage codes. Decals are nicely printed but well past their 'use by' date. My experience with old KP decals is that they are fairly transparent with yellows basically disappearing as the colors are not backed up by white. Fortunately, finding La-7 decals is not difficult especially if you have the Eduard kit (you can use the spare markings).
This kit is fairly much on a par with the Frog and Italeri kits of the same vintage. I've built several of them over the decades and found them to require some modeling skills but nothing major and they make into nice models for one's shelf.
Copyright ModelingMadness.com. All rights reserved.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page Back to the Review Index Page Back to the Previews Index Page