|PRICE:||$10.87 on sale ($26.88 SRP)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Yak-12 was designed by Yakovlev's team to meet a requirement of the Soviet Air Force of 1944 for a new liaison and utility plane, to replace the obsolete Po-2 biplane. It was also meant to be used in civil aviation as a successor to Yakovlev's AIR-6 of 1934, built in a relatively small series. Yakovlev's first proposal was a four-place high-wing aircraft, the Yak-10 (first named Yak-14), built in January 1945. It won the competition with a low-wing Yak-13, based on the same fuselage, and a series of 40 Yak-10s were produced, powered with a 108 kW (145 hp) Shvetsov M-11M radial.
In 1947, Yakovlev developed a new aircraft to replace the Yak-10. This was fitted with a more powerful 119 kW (160 hp) M-11FR, a new wing and undercarriage, and a fuselage with a revised shape (lower tail). The new type was designated Yak-12, first flying in 1947. 788 of the basic variant were produced, including military observation planes, some Yak-12S air ambulances, Yak-12SKh agricultural aircraft and Yak-12GR floatplanes. A distinguishing feature of the basic Yak-12, just like Yak-10, were engine cylinders with individual cowlings. It was a plane of a mixed construction and could take 1 or 2 passengers, apart from a pilot.
The next generation Yak-12 entered production in 1952, starting with the Yak-12R. It was fitted with a new 194 kW (260 hp) Ivchenko AI-14R radial and all-metal construction. The wing area increased (from 21.6 mē to 23.8 mē). This variant had the least wing loading of all Yak-12s, and therefore best STOL performance (take-off run 52 m/171 ft, landing 81 m/266 ft).
After being lengthened to improve weight distribution, with further strengthening of the structure and other minor changes, from 1955 the Yak-12M ("modified") was produced. A visible difference was a lengthened, curved tailfin. This variant became more universal, offering a bigger payload. It took a pilot and 3 passengers and could be fitted with dual controls for training, a stretcher for an ambulance role or an agricultural spraying device. It became the most numerous variant.
The last generation, produced from 1957, was the Yak-12A. It was an aerodynamically refined variant, with a slimmer fuselage and a new wing. The cowling was smaller diameter. The rectangular wings were fitted with trapezoidal ends and automatic slats, also single struts replaced twin struts. Navigation equipment and controls were improved, and performance also increased. In the USSR, 3,801 of Yak-12s were built in all models (including 3,013 Yak-12R, M and A). An experimental Yak-12B biplane was also developed, but did not enter production.
The Yak-12M was licence-built from 1956 in Poland as the WSK-4 Okecie, or Jak-12M (Polish spelling of Russian name). From 1959, the Yak-12A was built in Poland (1,054 Jak-12Ms, 137 Jak-12As), most for export to the USSR. In 1958, further development of the Yak-12M was carried out in Poland, becoming the PZL-101 Gawron.
The Yak-12 was also produced in China as Shenyang type 5.
Amodel is one of those companies that many of us rely upon to produce interesting kits that are rarely attempted by the major players. This is as much due to the cost of doing molds to tool a Tamiya-quality kit as anything. The molds used by Amodel and some others do not have the staying power of the 'big boys', so once they have worn, that is it. However, it also means that the cost to have the molds made is not that high so they can afford to do the subject less modeled.
This means low pressure injection molding and as a result, the detail is not quite as crisp and you do have to deal with large ejector towers on big pieces, some issues with sink areas on thick bits and larger than 'normal' mold flash. None of these are insurmountable and those of us who like short run kits take it all in stride.
The kit provides four grey and one clear sprue. The clear sprue is nicely molded and while not crystal clear, is not at all badly done. The interior has two front seats, rudder pedals for the pilot, an instrument panel and a control wheel that attaches to the panel. This is, after all, a light plane. There are no seats in the back. A full one-piece upper wing has separate lower sections.
Since it is a tail dragger, no nose weight is needed. A single piece forward cowling attaches to two cowling halves that are split horizontally. There are separate blades that fit into the propeller hub. These depressions on the hub are quite shallow and on one side were filled in, requiring drilling to bring back to usefulness. All of the clear bits are flush mounted with no helpful depressions for proper placement.
A one-piece horizontal stab sits atop the rear fuselage with the single piece fin/rudder butt joined atop that. Gear legs are also a butt join with a brace. While my kit came with skis, the instructions do not show them being used, nor are they on the parts layout.
Instructions are well done using Humbrol paint references. The matte decal sheet has two sets of markings. One is for a non-descript Soviet Air Force version in Green and Light blue from 1960. The other is a more flamboyant Polish air ambulance version also from 1960. On this one, the fin, cowling and leading edge slats will need to be painted to match the decal. Instructions call for Humbrol 89 for this purpose. The wing and stab tips are red. I like that the fuselage and fin red cross roundels have separate white backings as it is probable that the decals are not as opaque as one would otherwise like, but only using them will tell for sure.
While kits like this may not be for everyone, those of us who like the more interesting subjects out there should seriously consider something like this. It is a light aircraft, something that is not often kitted so give one a try when the opportunity presents itself.
Thanks to me for spotting this one on sale. for the review kit. You can find this one at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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