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Yak-28P Firebar Interceptor

Bobcat Models 1/48 Yak-28P Firebar Interceptor Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2017 Manufacturer Bobcat Models
Subject Yak-28P Firebar Interceptor Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48001 Primary Media Styrene
Pros First kit in this scale, nice options Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $29.98 at Lucky Model

First Look

Yak-28P Firebar Interceptor
Yak-28P Firebar Interceptor
Yak-28P Firebar Interceptor
Yak-28P Firebar Interceptor
Yak-28P Firebar Interceptor

After World War II, the Yakovlev OKB had found a niche for producing long-range, multi-role airframes that could be tailored to meet specific missions in much the same way that the Luftwaffe adapted its larger twin-engined airframes. One of the first such aircraft was the Yak-25 which was a twin-engined, swept-wing design that was produced in interceptor, bomber, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare variants. While the aircraft was very successful during its service in the late 1950s/early 1960s, its mid-mounted wing resulted in the engine pods being in close proximity to the ground and being subjected to foreign object damage (FOD).

Once the Yak-25 was in service, the Yakovlev OKB looked at the next generation of multi-role airframe and the Yak-28 series was created. The Yak-28 was larger, faster, and featured shoulder-mounted swept wings reducing the engines' susceptibility to FOD. The engines were R-11 afterburning turbojets, the same engine that powered the early MiG-21s. The most common versions of the Yak-28 seen in front-line service were the Yak-28R (NATO Codename: Brewer D) reconnaissance variant, Yak-28PP (NATO Codename: Brewer E) electronic warfare variant, and the Yak-28P Firebar interceptor. While the Yak-28R and Yak-28PP served with the air armies of Frontal Aviation, the Yak-28P served with PVO (Soviet Air Defense) to primarily protect the vast northern and eastern frontiers.

While intercept radars were increasing in capability in the 1960s, the size and weight of these systems still required installation on larger twin-engined aircraft. The radar was designed to guide a newer air-to-air missile, the R-98 (NATO Codename: AA-3 Anab). The R-98 was one of the first to be produced with either a radar-guidance or infrared seeker.

One of the other unique design aspects of the Yak-28 that carried over from the Yak-25 was the bicycle (tandem) main landing gear with retractable outrigger gear. This is the same landing gear arrangement as the B-47 Stratojet and the U-2 (though the latter didn't keep the outriggers after take-off). While the Yak-28 series would serve into the 1970s, the aircraft would be the last design from the Yakovlev OKB to serve in the Soviet Air Force.

Bobcat Hobby Model Kits is a new company from China that is starting out with an impressive first release. This kit is the Yak-28P Firebar and looks really nice out of the box. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. Details are finely scribed in the surface and the recessed rivet detail is not overdone.

Among the features of this kit:

  • Detailed cockpits
  • Detailed ejection seats (no crew restraints provided)
  • Choice of canopy (with and without overhead frame)
  • Positionable canopy
  • Detailed intakes (see note below)
  • Detailed afterburner chambers/nozzles
  • Separately molded air scoops provided around the engine pods
  • Choice of vertical stabilizer
  • Choice of radome (early or late)
  • Choice of radome-mounted pitot booms
  • Detailed afterburner chamber and nozzle
  • Positionable rudder
  • Postionable ailerons
  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable landing gear

External stores include:

  • 1 x R-98R radar-guided
  • 2 x R-98T IR guided
  • 2 x K-13 (AA-2 Atoll)
  • Choice of Atoll missile pylons/positions (see text)

Markings are provided for 18 examples and include a nice set of airframe stencils.

The kit provides parts to do the early-production version with the short radome and the late-production with the longer radome. The kit provides two vertical stabilizers but don't say which tail is for early versus late versions. One interesting feature is the early versus late model armament placement. The AA-3s hang outboard of the engine pods in both versions, but the early Firebar had Atoll missile rails/pylons between the fuselage and engine pods while in the later version, these were moved outboard of the AA-3s. The kit provides the flashed-over holes in the wings and the different pylons for these configurations.

One minor glitch is with the engine compressor faces - these faces are molded with scimitar-styled blades which is incorrect for the R-11 engine but these are buried behind the intake centerbodies, so you really won't see that clearly after assembly.

Another minor point is with the instructions. The CAD artwork used in the instructions is nice, but you might get a bit of a headache deciphering the assembly drawings. Printed in black and white, there are several different notation styles here, the circled number with a pointer identifies a subassembly built in the step number identified in that circle. The pointer with a letter/number identifies a needed part by its tree and number. The pointer with just a letter identifies the color of the area being pointed out. In the more complex steps where there are numerous such pointers in the same space, you'll need to study the instructions to become comfortable with the notation system. Nothing serious, but identifying the paint color versus part number versus assembly number in different colors versus black and white will make the instructions easier to read.

While the decal subject profiles do show which radome is used for that subject, they don't show the framed/unframed canopy, which vertical stabilizer or weapons configuration is correct for that subject. The profiles all have the same tail and all have the Atoll missiles outboard of the Anabs. Grab a copy of the Aerofax Yak-25/26/27/28 by Yefim Gordon for some help (if you can still find one).

This is an outstanding first kit from Bobcat Models and I hope they are considering the Yak-28R and Yak-28PP in our future.