Cybermodeler Online

Celebrating 24 years of hobby news and reviews




The appearance of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Defense, or NASA imagery or art does not constitute an endorsement nor is Cybermodeler Online affiliated with these organizations.


  • Facebook
  • Parler
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • YouTube

Yak-36 Freehand Kit

Art Model 1/72 Yak-36 Freehand Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2009 Manufacturer Art Model
Subject Yak-36 Freehand Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72003 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Interesting limited run kit of this unique VTOL concept aircraft Cons No tabs or mounting points for wings or tail, canopy molded as one piece
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $20.00

First Look

Yak-36 Freehand Kit
Yak-36 Freehand Kit
Yak-36 Freehand Kit
Yak-36 Freehand Kit
Yak-36 Freehand Kit
Yak-36 Freehand Kit

The concept of deploying vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) combat aircraft from forward operating locations as well as providing a fixed-wing capability for non-aircraft carriers had been on the drawing boards around the world, but jet engine technology wasn't ready to provide sufficient thrust to get an aircraft, its fuel, pilot, avionics, and armament aloft without some augmentation from a rolling take-off.

When Bristol Engine Company developed the Pegasus engine and Hawker Siddeley wrapped an airframe around it to create the P.1127 demonstrator, the concept was no longer theory. The P.1127 continued on into the Kestrel and eventually into the famous Harrier.

The Yakovlev Experimental Design Bureau (OKB) took on the challenge of adapting available engine technology to create a Soviet VTOL concept aircraft and the Yak-36 (NATO Codename: Freehand) performed its first hovered flight three years after the P.1127. 12 development aircraft were produced to explore the flight dynamics of hovering flight using engine thrust as well as for understanding transitional flight from hover to wingborne flight and back. These led to the Yak-36M which was the prototype aircraft that became the Yak-38 (NATO Codename: Forger).

Art Model has produced the first styrene kit of the Yakovlev Yak-36, this rendered in 1/72 scale. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The panel lines are engraved and sharp. The kit is augmented with five resin castings, one for the ejection seat, two for the vectored thrust nozzles, and two UB-16 rocket pods.

The kit is laid out like a typical limited run kit without the usual locating tabs for major parts like wings and tail surfaces. This won't be a problem for experienced modelers but you'll have to jig up the airframe to set the wing anhedral and square up the tail surfaces.

What's nice about this kit is that the designers made the model to be built easily gear-up, so all of the doors and panels are molded as one piece, but cut marks are molded in the inside surfaces to make it easy to pose the model with the gear and doors out. Among the features of the kit:

  • Detailed ejection seat
  • Gear can be built up or down
  • Positionable speed brake
  • Detailed resin vectored thrust nozzles
  • Positionable auxiliary inlet door
  • Reasonable detail down the huge intake
  • Optional rocket pods for the wing pylons

Markings are provided for six schemes:

  • Yak-36, Red 36
  • Yak-36, Yellow 36
  • Yak-36, Red 37
  • Yak-36, Yellow 37
  • Yak-36, Red 38
  • Yak-36, Yellow 38

Maintenance stencils are also included to enhance the visual detail on the kit.

This is a nice little kit that will build into a unique subject with a little patience and skill. The AMS modeler will have fun with this project. This kit is available from HobbyTerra.

My sincere thanks to HobbyTerra for this review sample!