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Yak-3 Kit

Eduard 1/48 Yak-3 Weekend Edition Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2008 Manufacturer Eduard
Subject Yak-3 Weekend Edition Scale 1/48
Kit Number 8456 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful kit, simple build Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $19.95

First Look

Yak-3 Kit
Yak-3 Kit
Yak-3 Kit
Yak-3 Kit

The Yak-3 was the ultimate Yakovlev fighter in World War II (Great Patriotic War). The low-wing monoplane fighter design started back in 1941 with the prototypes that led to the Yak-1. The design was further improved with a 20mm canon firing through the spinner, a pair of 7.62mm guns in the nose, and a pair of 20mm cannons in the wings. This was to be the Yak-3, but the design was abandoned due to the limited availability of aluminum for construction and the advancing German forces toward the existing Soviet defense industries.

By 1943, Yakovlev once again looked at improving the Yak-1 by creating a smaller, lighter airframe built from plywood and incorporating many lessons learned in combat operations. Initially designated as Yak-1M, the aircraft was so impressive in its performance that it replaced the Yak-1 and Yak-7 on the production lines and entered service after the fledgling Yak-9.

The Yak-3 was more agile than anything fielded by the Luftwaffe including the fearsome Fw 190. Armament in this lightweight Yak-3 was limited to a single 20mm cannon and one or two 12.7mm machine guns.

Eduard is now well-known for its high-quality limited run kits, though it started its existence with photo-etched details. The technology and the product offerings have significantly evolved since Eduard's early days! When Eduard did enter into the kit market, it addressed the 1/48 World War I fighter niche in its early releases, and when it did venture into post-WWI subjects, this Yak-3 was one of the first.

Since the development of its first kits, Eduard has been adding detail and value in its product line by creating the Profi-Pack kits (bundling lots of extra details with the kit), Royal Class kits (with even MORE goodies including two complete kits), and upping the ante with color photo-etched details and pre-cut yellow-tape paint masks. With all of this increasing complexity, Eduard saw the opportunity to circle around and address the modeler with less experience, less time to build, or both. This resulted in the Weekend Editions which are simple styrene kits and nice markings that can usually be finished in a weekend.

This Yak-3 kit has now been released in the Weekend series and at a very reasonable retail price at that. The kit is presented on two parts trees molded in light gray styrene plus a single tree of clear parts. If you must have photo-etch, Eduard has released a set for this kit for the AMS crowd, but as you can see in these images, this is a very simple project.

The cockpit is nicely rendered and will look quite nice even without photo-etch. Decals replace the photo-etch for instrument panel and side console details. If you're looking for the cockpit floor, it is there on top of the wing.

The insides of the fuselage halves have more cockpit detail molded into the insides which, when assembled and mounting atop the wing, will look detailed to the eye with the right painting and shading in there.

The landing gear is also very nicely done and captures the look of the pneumatic mechanism.

The only real option in this kit is the canopy, you have your choice of a one-piece closed canopy or a three-piece open canopy.

To keep costs and complexity down, one set of markings are provided in this release. The subject of this kit is the Yak-3 of Colonel Anton D. Yakimenko, commander of the 151 Guards Independent Aviation Regiment (GIAP) stationed in Czechoslovakia in 1945. This is a very colorful tri-color camouflage scheme that also carries a distinctive red nose and spinner to match the patriotic flag motif on the tail.

This is definitely one of Eduard's nicer kits and its simplicity makes it ideal for the Weekend series. AMS modelers do still have the option of acquiring the photo-etched parts separately, but cost-conscious modelers will really appreciate the very low retail price!

My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!