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Lavochkin LaGG-3 'Finnish AF'

Hasegawa 1/48 Lavochkin LaGG-3 'Finnish AF' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2015 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Lavochkin LaGG-3 'Finnish AF' Scale 1/48
Kit Number 07400 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, great details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $42.99

First Look

Lavochkin LaGG-3 'Finnish AF' Kit
Lavochkin LaGG-3 'Finnish AF' Kit
Lavochkin LaGG-3 'Finnish AF' Kit

The design bureau of Semyon Lavochkin, Vladimir Gorbunov, and Mikhail Gudkov (LaGG) developed one of the first modern fighter designs for the Soviet Air Force before the start of the Great Patriotic War (WWII). The LaGG-1 was the first which was made from wood laminate which created a rugged airframe that didn't burn. The LaGG-1 was underpowered, so the LaGG team moved to the LaGG-3 that was designed for a more powerful engine, but that engine had its own development problems, so production aircraft received the same underpowered Klimov M-105P engine as the LaGG-1.

While over 6,000 LaGG-3 aircraft were produced, the type was very unpopular with its pilots because of its poor performance and was easily outclassed by the Bf 109. Stalin disbanded the LaGG team and turned their facilities over to Yakovlev production. Lavochkin and Gorbunov decided to adapt the LaGG-3 to accept the ASh-82 radial engine by grafting an Su-2 nose onto an LaGG-3 airframe. The resulting combination was highly successful and the resulting design was designated La-5 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Here is an interesting release from Hasegawa but it isn't Hasegawa tooling. This is the ICM 1/48 LaGG-3 kit being offered in a Hasegawa box with instructions and decals produced by Hasegawa. They selected the Finnish LaGG-3 as their subject as they flew three captured examples to intercept bombers in their airspace. One of these Finnish LaGG-3 (LG-1) shot down a Soviet LaGG-3 in early 1944.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. The surface details are finely scribed and there is no sign of mold flash on the parts. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Positionable canopy
  • Choice of propeller blades
  • Choice of engine exhaust types (stubs or collected)
  • Choice of four gun/engine hoods (only two used in this release)
  • Positionable rudder

Markings are provided for two of the three Finnish examples:

  • LaGG-3, early type, LG-1, LeLv 32, Finnish AF
  • LaGG-3, late type, LG-3, LeLv 32, Finnish AF

This ICM LaGG-3 is a nicely designed kit with some good options to capture some of the variations made to the aircraft during it's 6000+ production run. The Hasegawa decals have the politically correct plus marks for those countries that ban all swastikas as well as the Finnish swastikas for the rest of the world. This will make a nice model that won't require special modeling skills to tackle. Of course the AMS modeler has a variety of aftermarket options available that were produced for the ICM release of this kit. Have some fun and build one of these Scandinavian fighters.

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!

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