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Lavi Kit

Anigrand Craftswork 1/72 IAI Lavi Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2006 Manufacturer Anigrand Craftswork
Subject IAI Lavi Scale 1/72
Kit Number 2066 Primary Media Resin
Pros Resin pieces fit together VERY nicely, closest thing to a resin snap-tite kit you'll find! Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $53.00

First Look

Lavi Kit
Lavi Kit
Lavi Kit

The Israelis are quick to learn from history. When France had refused to deliver during the 1967 War the much-needed the Mirage fighters Israel had ordered, the Israelis vowed to become self-sufficient. The first step was Nesher (Hebrew for 'Eagle'), which was a reverse-engineered Mirage V produced in Israel.

While having a reliable supply of Neshers available, Israel wanted to improve the performance of the type by replacing the French-designed Atar engine with the General Electric J79. This up-engined fighter would become Kfir (Lion Cub). Kfir was a successful design that served the Israeli Air Force well, and have since seen service in other air arms including the US Marine Corps as the F-21 aggressor aircraft.

Recognizing that the Kfir was not able to grow to meet the next generation of threat, Israel convinced the US to share the cost of a new fighter design that would be revolutionary. While Kfir evolved from the Mirage, this next fighter was adapted from the F-16. The result was Lavi (Young Lion).

The fuselage was very similar in layout to the F-16 with the chin-mounted air intake, Pratt & Whitney engine, ventral stabilizers, and landing gear layout. The wing was a clipped delta mounted in roughly the same position as the Viper's, but the stabilators of the F-16 were replaced with canards ahead of the wing. Development of Lavi started in 1980 and was showing a great deal of promise until the US withdrew its support when it became apparent that this advanced aircraft would be a threat to sales of the F-16 and F/A-18 on the export market. At least the Chinese Air Force adopted the design with the Chengdu J-10 fighter which bears a strong resemblance to the cancelled Lavi.

Anigrand Craftswork of Hong Kong has been turning out a wide variety of aircraft types in 1/72. These are usually subjects that nobody would dream of doing in injection-molded plastic. This release is definitely no exception.

Lavi! The only thing better would be Lavi in 1/48 scale, but this is an excellent start! The kit is molded in resin, and as with the previous releases reviewed here, the parts are very well engineered and virtually snap together.

The cockpit tub is rather plain, and as with the previous releases, no instrument panel decal or relief detail is provided. On the plus side, the canopy sills and canopies are provided to build both the two-seat prototypes (B01 & B02) as well as the single-seat prototypes (B03/B04/B05).

The fuselage is hollow-cast, with bays in the radome and behind the cockpit available for ballast. A modest amound will be required to keep the model from being a tail-sitter.

The landing gear struts look like they came from an a A-4 Skyhawk rather than the F-16. These are installed in detailed wheel wells. The kit also supports displaying the model gear-up.

The molding on the smaller parts are just as nice as the main components. The wingtip Rafael Python 3 air-to-air missiles are very nicely cast onto their wingtip launch rails. How they're casting these parts is a bit of a mystery but the engineering is very well done.

Markings are provided for the prototypes and are provided on two sheets (these are identical to one another). The larger blue design goes on the leading edge of the wings while the smaller design goes on the leading edge of the canards. The aircraft is painted overall gloss white and with the blue leading edges and blue stripes down the fuselage, this will be a nice-looking model.

This is a nice-looking kit and should be a quick build for the experienced resin modeler.

This kit is definitely recommended for the modeler who is tired of the same old subjects getting released by the 'big guys' in the hobby industry!

My sincere thanks to the US importer, Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!