u m m a r y
|Catalogue Number and
||No Catalogue Number - Lavochkin La-5
|Contents and Media:
||Resin, Vacform and Masking
||Important subject; accurate shape;
single piece wing sets dihedral and strengthens structure; restrained
and convincing fabric control surface detail; crisp decals; marking and
canopy masks included; inexpensive for this medium.
||Brittle resin; soft panel detail;
thick wing trailing edges; poor instructions; some parts required for
completion not included; significant cleanup required; will almost
certainly have plenty of fit issues.
|| Recommended for experienced
modellers and Soviet aircraft enthusiasts
The Lavochkin La-5 was significant as one of the first Soviet fighters
capable of dominating its German counterparts.
The La-5 was a development of the widely hated LaGG-3. The LaGG-3 was
frequently felt to be more dangerous to its pilots than to its opponents.
However, the mating of the massive 41.2 litre M-82 radial engine to the LaGG-3
airframe led to a powerful and agile warrior in the hands of an experienced
It was appropriate that the La-5 was entering service at around the time of
the battle for Stalingrad and the destruction of von Paulus' 6th Army. The La-5
was a part of a turnaround in the skies that reflected the action on the ground.
La-5 has not been available in 1/48 scale. An accurate La-5FN was offered in
vacform by Falcon. This was one of their earlier efforts, and was far surpassed
in detail and moulding by their later releases. Hobbycraft also released an
La-5FN. However, this was a minimal modification of their La-7 kit that failed
to capture many of the unique features of the type - in particular the forward
wing root and the engine cowling.
But we have never seen a La-5 in this popular scale.
Gremlin Models from Yugoslavia has now delivered this important aircraft to
modellers in 1/48 scale.
The main components of the kit are produced in a caramel coloured resin, with
smaller details cast in a thin wafer of green resin. Two copies of a vacform
canopy, a decal sheet and two masking sheets complete the package.
The main resin parts comprise fuselage halves, a one-piece wing and
horizontal tail surfaces.
The resin is free of warpage and my sample only had a few pinholes. Fabric
control surfaces are quite restrained and look convincing. However the panel
line detail ranges from soft to almost invisible, and moulded-on cockpit
sidewall detail is basic. The resin is brittle, as demonstrated by one of my
fuselage halves snapping in two whilst in transit despite careful packing by
Gremlin Models. This will not be great challenge to repair though, due to the
thick resin and the relatively featureless mid-fuselage.
The front of the cowl has a faint step that will have to be filled and
sanded. The inside of the rudder halves should be sanded down to a more
realistic thickness. The canopy section, tailwheel well and tail surface
locating tab positions are all flashed over in resin. Care should be exercised
to avoid damage to surrounding resin when cleaning up these elements.
The wing is cast as a single piece. This is a great blessing for several
reasons. First, it ensures that the correct dihedral is in place. Secondly, it
will add strength to the overall structure of the completed model. Finally, and
possibly most importantly, it will be more sympathetic for fitting at the wing
root. The shape of the wing looks good. The characteristic angle of the leading
edge near the wing root has been reproduced. Some drawings suggest that the
angle at the leading edge is not extreme enough, but given the potential
unreliability of references we can probably give Gremlin Models the benefit of
The trailing edges of the wing are really quite thick. This is a shame, as
thinning this area will eliminate the nice fabric detail on the ailerons.
details are well rendered in a waxy green resin. The seat with its
integrated cushion and quilted headrest is especially nice.
The main gear legs are reinforced with steel rods which is just as well
beacuse the completed model will be heavy.
Some cleanup will be required to rescue the parts from the wafer of
resin in which they are cast.
A few essential pieces are will have to be scratchbuilt, including
fuselage bulkheads and cockpit floor detail.
The vacform canopy is very thin and clear. A dip in a bath if Future
will bring it up to a high standard. A spare is supplied in case the thin
part is damaged while being cut.
The decals and masks are a surprisingly sophisticated touch in this otherwise
Masks are supplied for the canopy, national markings and aircraft numbers for
two of the three subjects offered.
modellers who do not feel confident with masks, the decals look good.
Registration and opacity are of a high standard. The decals will have to be cut
carefully from the sheet however, as the carrier film covers the whole small
The assembly instructions are far too basic. There is one simple diagram with
no further explanation or even an exploded cockpit view. Okay, it is a simple
kit, but it would be nice to have the security of a few drawings for an aircraft
with so few references available. The instructions are partially redeemed by the
good painting guide. Colours, plan views and profiles are included for all three
subjects. The variety of the subjects is pleasing. "White 91" is
finished in Light Earth, Dark Green and Light Blue; "White 24" in
Grass Green, Black Green and Light Blue; plus another La-5 in White Distemper
over Grass Green.
I have dry-fitted the major components. Initial impressions are that a large
amount of filler will be required where the lower leading and trailing edges of
the wing meets the fuselage; and some puttying of the upper wing roots will be
Make no mistake, Gremlin Models' Lavochkin La-5 is not in the same class as
modern injection moulded kits. For that matter it is not even in the same class
as most limited-run kits such as Classic Airframes, MPM and Eduard.
However, it will render an accurate La-5 with a bit of extra effort -
arguably with less work than the average vacform model. You will need to do a
bit of sanding, filling and rescribing but if you want to have this significant
type in your 1/48 scale collection this extra employment of modelling skills
will be worth the time spent. At US$30, it is also surprisingly inexpensive for
a full resin kit.
I am pleased that Gremlin Models have tackled this aircraft, and I will
certainly build it in the near future.
Recommended to experienced modellers and Soviet WWII enthusiasts.
Thanks to Aleksej Ilic of Gremlin Models for the review sample
Gremlin Models are available
via email enquiry to Gremlin Models
Review and Image Copyright © 2001 by Brett
Page Created 01 February, 2001
Last updated 22 July, 2003
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