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Yak-141 Freestyle Kit

Art Model 1/72 Yak-141 Freestyle Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2009 Manufacturer Art Model
Subject Yak-141 Freestyle Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72005 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Nice rendition of this distinctive subject Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $28.80

First Look

Yak-141 Freestyle Kit
Yak-141 Freestyle Kit
Yak-141 Freestyle Kit
Yak-141 Freestyle Kit
Yak-141 Freestyle Kit
Yak-141 Freestyle Kit

When the Yakovlev Experimental Design Bureau (OKB) embarked on the development of VSTOL technology, they took a different road than the west. The Yak-36 (NATO Codename: Freehand) was the first visible step using centralized lift similar to the Harrier. The problem that Yakovlev OKB faced was the problem of weight versus thrust - the high-powered fan engine technology like the Harrier's Pegasus was still far off and using two engines to do the same job resulted in more weight for less capability. Nevertheless, the Yak-36 provided valuable insight into the physics of hovering jet-borne flight.

The first Soviet application of VTOL technology came with the Yak-38 (NATO Codename: Forger) which provided some tactical capability using two dedicated lift engines and one engine that could rotate its nozzles for lift or forward thrust. The Yak-38 and updated Yak-38M were employed on the Kiev-class cruisers (aircraft carriers) which provided the Soviet Navy with valuable flight experience.

The Yak-141 (NATO Codename: Freestyle), also known as the Yak-41, was a significantly improved Yak-38M which still retained two dedicated lift engines, but traded the third engine with its twin rotating nozzles for a more powerful engine that twists an articulating nozzle (similar to the soon-to-be-cancelled F-35B). This single nozzle supports a powerful afterburner that engages only when the nozzle is articulated into flight position and provides the Yak-141 with sustained supersonic capability. Unfortunately, the Yak-141 program was cancelled in 1991.

Here is a nice-looking kit from Art Model of the Yak-141 Freestyle. Aside from the 1/350th scale kits made by Trumpeter, I believe this is the first scale model of the Yak-141 in a scale greater than 1:100. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on seven parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts and two resin parts.

This kit starts off in the simple cockpit that features a nice K-36D ejection seat in resin. The instructions clearly show where everything goes and also shows how the tooling as well as the instructions were developed from CAD tools. Nice!

The airframe is set up to pose the aircraft with the engines in the hover or forward flight positions. The resin rear nozzle looks really nice hanging below the fuselage.

Construction is very straightforward with a nice representation of the aircraft's unique landing gear nicely portrayed.

The kit also provides a set of modern air-to-air missiles to portray the aircraft as it might have looked had it entered operational service.

Markings are included for two aircraft:

  • Yak-141, Bort 141, Russian Navy
  • Yak-141, Bort 77, Russian Navy

Paints colors are provided in Akan colors.

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!