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ICM Models (Ukraine)

Catalogue No.: 48031
Scale: 1/48
Media: Injection Moulded Plastic
Review Type: In Box
Rating: Recommended

Reviewed by Mike Good

S u m m a r y

102 parts injection molded in light gray plastic (16 not used), 5 parts molded in clear plastic, decal markings for four different aircraft
Price: around US$15.00
Advantages: Hey, a decent Yak- 7 kit!!
Disadvantages: Really needs a replacement canopy
Recommendation: Recommended



F i r s t   L o o k

When ICM first announced their Yak-9 kits a while back, I was very excited.

After buying the kit (hell, I bought two!), my excitement waned. The price was right, but the parts fit was not good (nearly every part required a lot of dry fitting and trimming to fit in place) and the kit suffered from several outline errors, the fuselage cross section was too "oval", the wing profile was symmetrical (rather than a proper airfoil) giving the wings a heavy, blunt leading edge, surface detail was crude and clumsily executed, and the windscreen was badly misshapen (because of the inaccurate fuselage cross section). If you want a decent model of the Yak-9 in 1/48 scale, you are still better off with the crude but basically accurate LTD kit.

It was with curiosity that I saw the announcement of ICM's Yak-7 kits. Would these be revamps of the disappointing Yak-9 kits, or a "new and improved" effort? Well, I am happy to say that the new kits fit into the latter category! A few of the old problems have crept into the new kits, but on whole, there is more on the plus than the debit side!

First and foremost, the parts fit fairly well. They will still need more filling than your average Tamigawa kit, but the major parts fit easily with little trimming of any consequence needed to make them fall into place. The surface detail has also been improved. The panel lines are all engraved with nice fastener detail around the engine cowling and wing roots. The fabric surfaces feature raised rib detail which, while exaggerated, is not obtrusive. The fuselage, tail surfaces and separately molded ailerons and rudder all have a very fine surface texture to them, but this can be easily eliminated with fine sandpaper if it bothers you.

The kit offers a very basic Klimov engine. It is more a basic shape than a reasonable depiction of the engine, but could provide the basis of a well-detailed engine if you fancy doing the detail work yourself. Also included are similarly detailed machine guns and cannon and the fuselage framework all of which can be viewed beneath the separate top panel of the engine cowling. Cockpit detail is also basic but again, not a bad starting point for the super detailer. I especially liked the fuselage side frame pieces that are very nicely molded.

The wings go together nicely. They feature fine trailing edges and a correct cross section profile. Separate clear parts are provided for wingtip navigation lights and the leading edge landing light. I really like the separate ailerons. I wish more model producers would give us these instead of the often unnecessary, separate flaps. (Look at your references guys, most planes DO NOT have dropped flaps when sitting on the ground!!) There is one small goof here. The Yak-7 had "Friese type" ailerons that had more exposed area on the bottom of the wings than the top. This can easily be corrected by gluing plastic strip to the trailing edges of the aileron openings on the top wings. Bevel the back edge of the plastic strip and the upper leading edges of the ailerons until they fit neatly. The leading edge wingroot intakes also need to be opened up.

The fuselage profile is still too rounded directly in front of the canopy (compare this area to the Accurate Miniatures Yak-1, which has a more accurate cross section and you will see what I mean), but this is a minor error which is not that noticeable on the finished model. The separate oil cooler piece which fits onto the bottom of the nose is accurately shaped but lacking in detail and does not fit too well. Some work will be required to get a good result here. The one big let down in the kit is the single piece canopy. It fits neatly and is reasonably clear, but the canopy frames on the windscreen are grossly oversized and utterly fail to capture the delicate look of the real thing. Just compare them to the box art! A vacuum-formed replacement would be the best solution. Barring that, you could sand off the windscreen frames (all the others are fine) and repolish the canopy and add new frames with painted decal film cut into strips.

Most of the detail parts are very nicely done, and can be used as is. The propeller blades have an odd undulating outline, like those in the Yak-9 kit. You could reshape these with sandpaper but they may end up looking too narrow in the process. The landing gear is nicely done. The tires have a nice tread pattern (unlike the "tractor treads" seen on the Yak-9 kit!) but, the hub detail is still a bit weak. Optional parts include six underwing rockets with their rails and skis for the undercarriage. The sprues seem to be generic for this kit and the Yak-7V (two-seat trainer variant). Most of the unused parts concern the second cockpit and yet another set of skis for the undercarriage.

Decal markings are included for four different aircraft, all in black, dark green and pale blue camouflage finish. The decals are thin with excellent register and printing. The decal film has a matte finish. I have not tried them so cannot comment on how well they go down.

C o n c l u s i o n

I bought this kit with some trepidation. I personally thought that the ICM Yak-9 kits were a major disappointment. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my misgivings were, for the most part, unfounded. This really is a pretty nice kit. It is not up to the standards of a Tamigawa, Revellogram or Accurate Miniatures release, but is a good workable kit that can result in an excellent model with a bit of effort from the builder.

The only real blunder is the windscreen framing and happily, this is not an insurmountable problem for a halfway-determined modeler.

I am the type of guy who would rather have a few Yaks in my collection than another "me too" Mustang or Messerschmitt. With this release and the recent kits from Eduard and A. M., it is now possible to build nice models of all Yak versions (well, the Yak-9 is still a "problem child"). For me, this is a bit like Christmas! Thanks ICM, may your next kits be as much an improvement over this kit as the Yak-7 is over your first!!

Recommended!! Buy 'em and build 'em!

Review Copyright 1999 by Mike Good
Page Created 21 April, 1999
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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