Ark Models 1/48 La-11
KIT #: AK 48050
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2021 tooling


One of the recommendations from the government testing of Lavochkin La-130 (Lavochkin La-9 prototype) was to further develop it into a long-range escort fighter. The resultant La-134 prototype (also sometimes referred to as La-9M) featured increased fuel and oil capacity. Armament was reduced to three cannons. The prototype flew in May 1947. The second prototype, La-134D had fuel capacity increased by an additional 275 l (73 US gal) with wing and external fuel tanks. The aircraft was fitted with larger tires to accommodate the increased weight and amenities for long flights such as increased padding in the seat, armrests, and a urinal. In addition, a full radio navigation suite was installed. Not surprisingly, combat performance with a full fuel load suffered. However, as the fuel load approached that of La-9, so did the performance. The aircraft was found to be poorly suited for combat above 7,000 m (23,000 ft). The new fighter, designated La-11 (OKB designation La-140) entered production in 1947. By the end of production in 1951, a total of 1,182 aircraft were built.


I was impressed with a reader's preview of the La-9 and since I already have an La-9, decided to order the La-11 from a company that popped up when I googled the kit. About a month later, a nice, sturdy box from Kazakhstan arrived at my door. In it is a 'lunchbox' style cardboard box with a flimsy cover that has the kit artwork. One nice addition is a set of 3D printed instrument panels and seat harness, a nice touch.

External molding is quite good though some might think the panel lines are too deep. True, they don't have the finesse of Hasegawa, but are acceptable to most of us. There are a considerable number of pieces that make up the cockpit assembly. Note that this is when you'd use the 3D decals. Instructions have you remove raised detail first, but there isn't any. Then that is trapped between fuselage halves. Tailplanes and upper cowling are added followed by building up the wing. This has a separate main gear well insert and ailerons. If you wish to install the landing light lens, the area in both upper and lower wings must be removed. There is nothing to fit behind this transparency. Then the wing is attached to the fuselage.

The next several steps deal with building up and installing the landing gear and doors. The pitot is part of this but I'd leave it off until after painting. Speaking of paint, there are no color callouts anywhere in the construction steps so you are on your own. Probably won't be needing pink. The final steps are building up the cowling and attaching the prop. There is no engine as you wouldn't be able to see it behind the cooling fan. The forward part of the cowling is a single piece while the area behind it is an upper and lower half. Though the kit includes two seemingly identical single piece canopies. These have well defined frame lines so masking will be fairly straight forward.

The instruction booklet is nicely printed and save the lack of paint info, is well done. There are three markings options. Three are Soviet with two of the planes being in a medium grey color. I'd use the lighter of the AMT shades used for late WWII fighters. The other option is red, undoubtedly for air shows. The other is a Chinese plane, also in a medium grey. Note that when looking at period photos, some Soviet La-11s were in the darker grey, so perhaps that would be an option. The nicely printed decal sheet is by Begemont and offers full stencils of which there is a guide.


Despite being built in fairly decent numbers, the type is pretty much unknown. It is a nice looking aircraft and having this available in 1/48 should encourage builders to add one to their collection.


January 2022

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