Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Lavochkin La-5



Gremlin Models


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description: No Catalogue Number - Lavochkin La-5
Scale: 1/48
Price: US$30
Contents and Media: Resin, Vacform and Masking Media 
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: 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.
Disadvantages: 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.
Recommendation: Recommended for experienced modellers and Soviet aircraft enthusiasts


Reviewed by Brett Green




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 pilot.

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.

The 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 doubt!

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. 

Small 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 basic model. 

Masks are supplied for the canopy, national markings and aircraft numbers for two of the three subjects offered. 

For 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 sheet.

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 necessary too.





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 Green
Page Created 01 February, 2001
Last updated 22 July, 2003

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page