Academy 1/48 La-7 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||February 2006||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Kit Number||1649||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Simple and easy-to-build kit||Cons||Spartan cockpit, no engine detail|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$15.00|
The Lavochkin La-7 was an intermediate step in the evolution of the Lavochkin fighter family. The LaGG-1 was a revolutionary design based around a clean wooden airframe and the liquid-cooled M-105P engine. This version was quickly superseded by the LaGG-3, which was essentially a lighter LaGG-1.
The La-5 resulted from further efforts to lighten the aircraft, including replacing the liquid-cooled M-105 with an ASh-82 series radial engine. The La-7 was based on further reductions in aircraft weight, coupled with additional firepower and the ASh-82FN. With all of the armament located in the nose, the wing of the La-5 and La-7 series was clean and simple, providing more maneuverability than anything the Germans could muster. More than 5,700 La-7s were produced, many of which remained in service after the war.
The Lavochkin propeller-powered series ended with the La-9 and La-11. The La-9 was basically a La-7 constructed from metal instead of wood. The La-11 was an La-9 with greater endurance and firepower. Lavochkin briefly entered the jet age with the La-15, which saw limited production.
The Academy La-7 is a reissue of the Hobbycraft kit of several years ago. The kit is 60 parts molded in light gray styrene and an additional four clear styrene parts for the canopy and gunsight. As with most Hobbycraft/Academy kits, the molding is crisp with no flash, detailing is finely scribed and no ejector pin marks in any spot that will be visible after assembly.
The kit is a very simple build with no hidden problems. The cockpit is spartan, but a with little work (and a photo-etch detail set) can be made into a beauty. The three-piece canopy provides you with the option of displaying the aircraft with the canopy open.
One nice touch is the separately molded rudder, allowing for a deflected pose. The elevators, ailerons and flaps are not positionable however. As this aircraft was primarily an air-to-air machine, there aren't many underwing options provided except for a pair of small bombs for those days when interdiction was required.
Markings are provided for two examples:
- 165 IAP, Germany, April 1945, flown by Lt Col Sergei F. Dolgushin
- 176 IAP, Germany, Spring 1945, flown by Capt Ivan N. Kozhedub
Academy's decals are beautifully printed and my example is in perfect register.
This kit still looks good and with a little work, can be made into a detailed machine. Another important factor will be price, as the Academy release has a lower retail price tag compared to other options. This kit is recommended!
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!