||Injection Moulded Plastic
Reviewed by Mike Good
|102 parts injection molded in light gray plastic (16
not used), 5 parts molded in clear plastic, decal markings for four different aircraft
||Hey, a decent Yak- 7 kit!!
||Really needs a replacement canopy
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
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
Recommended!! Buy 'em and build 'em!
Review Copyright © 1999 by Mike
Page Created 21 April, 1999
Last updated 22 July, 2003
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