Yak-9D Soviet Fighter
Zvezda 1/72, Ref. 7313
The long-range version of the famed Yak-9 is the latest aircraft release from Zvezda. Although labelled as a ‘snap fit no glue required‘ kit, it is still made up of 57 parts, two of which are molded in clear plastic. The amount of detail is impressive, shaming some other not so old, not so ‘snap fit‘ releases from other manufacturers.
The curious way the wings are split top/bottom allows for impressively thin trailing edges and little fuss in removing an often pesky joint line along the leading edges but instead relocate the problem on the underside of the wings. Of course, this means that those who purchased this kit with a view to use it as a gaming prop, or those new in the hobby will not necessarily be bothered about a joint line that is little visible under the wings. Those with a little bit more of the ‘rivet counter‘ gene in them may be less pleased with a joint line or a panel line that should not exist there.. Having said that, I have not tested the actual tightness of the said joint and it may not be a major issue at all after all..?
Far more interesting are the bits that furnish the well-appointed cockpit and the pretty convincing 3-part pilot. The cockpit is built onto the central portion of the wings and is inserted into the fuselage once the wings are put into place. The inside walls of the cockpit area could have benefitted from a little more detailing but this is nit-picking.
Other interesting items, because rarely seen separate in other kits, are the front bit of the Karmans, fin and main undercarriage well walls. The undercarriage is well represented but those shying away from using 15 separate parts can instead reduce the workload to three parts to have their Yak in flight (though no stand is provided in this kit).
The canopy is suitably thin and transparent but only comes as a single, closed unit.
Zvezda offers three schemes for this aircraft, three Soviet machines from the later part of the Second World War, including of course, a Normandie-Niemen bird. All are shown wearing the typical grey-green over light blue scheme that was prevalent at that time on Soviet aircraft. Zvezda show the top colours applied in a splinter scheme rather than the long accepted wavy way apparent on most period pictures. A generous amount of stenciling is also provided on the decal sheet.
All in all, this looks like a little gem of a kit that could easily be brought to competition standards (unless you want to have the flaps down in which case the wings design will become a real issue).
Review kit generously provided by Zvezda.
Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul & Zvezda