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Lavochkin La-7

 

 

Gavia


Gavia's 1/48 scale La-7 is available online from Squadron.com

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 51201
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 70 parts in grey styrene; 5 parts in clear styrene; 1 sheet of self-adhesive masking material
Price: USD$25.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Accurate dimensions and shape; crisp, finely engraved surface detail; thoughtful engineering including conventional locating pins; narrow sprue connection points; thin and clear canopy parts; paint masks included.
Disadvantages: Cockpit detail just adequate.
Recommendation: Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green

 

Introduction

 

Although several Soviet fighters including the La-5 and Yak-3 were theoretically superior to mid-war Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs, shoddy manufacturing practices and poor maintenance eroded the advantage in an operational environment. Introduced in the middle of 1944, the La-7 was the first Soviet fighter that was unquestionably superior to its Luftwaffe contemporaries.

The significant Lavochkin La-7 has now been released in 1/48 scale by Gavia.

Gavia is a part of the Czech-based Eduard group of companies. It is hard to imagine why Eduard has established this separate brand. Gavia's subjects have followed the same WWI and WWII themes as Eduard's kits, and although Gavia's quality might not quite match the best of Eduard's latest releases, they are certainly very good.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Gavia's 1/48 scale La-7 is striking in its simplicity. Two fairly sparse sprues contain 70 grey plastic parts. Another 5 clear pieces are packed separately. A small sheet of self-adhesive, die-cut masking material is also supplied to assist the painting of the canopy and the cowl markings.

Surface detail is crisply and finely engraved. There are a few minor sinkmarks on the intake ducting, but these will not be seen on the completed model. The soft plastic is free of flash and pleasant to work with. You'll need to take care though - the soft plastic is easy to damage with a knife or sprue cutters. The sprue connection points are admirably narrow and the kit is equipped with conventional locating pins to assist alignment.

 

 

The surface of the grey plastic is the only indication that this is not a mainstream kit. The larger parts exhibit a very slightly rough texture that will be easily corrected with light sanding and polishing.

The clear parts are all very thin and clear.

Detail is not bad. In the cockpit, a few boxes and quadrants adorn the relatively flat fuselage sidewalls. This area of the kit will benefit from some extra work, although the old 1/48 scale True Details La-5 resin cockpit will not fit - I tried. I might have been able to use the resin sidewalls and seat but this seemed to be a bit of a waste.

The wheel well on the real aircraft was quite bare, and the kit reflects this. However, I especially like the ducting for the air intake that winds its way back through the cavity. The undercarriage is also enhanced with some very finely moulded detail. Even so, a few extra pipes and features might be added from scrap styrene and fusewire.

Each side of the engine exhaust is supplied as a separate part but the definition between the individual stacks is poor and they are not hollowed out. Fortunately, they are quite small and largely hidden behind a cover, so this lack of detail will not be very obvious.

The close-fitting forward cowl is moulded as one circular piece with the ports for the two machine guns fully drilled out.

Engineering and fit is impressive. The wings are moulded as full-span upper and lower halves, guaranteeing correct dihedral. The trailing edges of the wing are adequately thin without further sanding or scraping. The fuselage sits over a saddle at the wing root. Dry-fitting indicates that the fit of the fuselage halves and the wing root will be very good.

 

 

Decals are supplied for two wartime Soviet La-7s and one post-war Czech machine. These decals eliminate two potentially tricky painting tasks, as they include the narrow white borders for the cowl markings and silver metallic decals for the two cowl rings. The quality is very nice. Masks are supplied for painting the canopy and the alternate red cowl markings.

 

 

The profile and plan of the kit matches the La-7 drawings in my reference library. I have no doubt that this model will look very much like a La-7!

 

 

Conclusion

 

Gavia's 1/48 scale Lavochkin La-7 is accurate, well designed and nicely detailed.

This is the second injection moulded La-7 to be released. Hobbycraft's 1/48 scale La-7 can be found for under USD$10. Is the new kit worth the extra money?

Gavia's new La-7 totally outshines the earlier Hobbycraft kit in almost every respect. The Hobbycraft kit (and its Academy counterpart) is okay in outline accuracy, but suffers from wide, soft panel lines, poor fit, grossly exaggerated control surface texture and thick clear parts. Unless you really enjoy a construction challenge, I believe that the Gavia kit represents the best value despite the higher price tag .

Gavia's new 1/48 scale Lavochkin La-7 should deliver a very attractive and accurate model of this significant Soviet fighter straight from the box.

Recommended.


Purchased with the Editor's own funds


Review and Images Copyright 2002 by Brett Green
Page Created 27 May, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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