Modelsvit 1/48 Yak-1B Kit First Look
|Date of Review||February 2011||Manufacturer||Modelsvit|
|Kit Number||4801||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Very nice detailing||Cons||One-piece canopy/windscreen|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$30.00|
As the Great Patriotic War (World War II) broke out in Western Russia, the Soviet Air Forces scrambled to get as many aircraft on the front line as possible. The Yak-1 had been designed as an escort fighter for the low-flying Il-2 Shturmovik and was ideally suited for low-altitude combat. While the first groups of Yak-1s were destroyed in the chaos of early combat, the type was found to be superior to the Bf 109E, but not the Bf 109F.
The Yak-1B was a production improvement to the general design, incorporating the more powerful Klimov M-105PF engine, replacing the two 7.62mm machine guns with a single 12.7mm (.50 caliber) machine gun, a cut down rear deck behind the cockpit along with a bubble canopy which provided the pilot with improved all-round visibility. These improvements put the Yak-1B on near equal footing against the Bf 109F.
While Soviet engineers worked to keep par or one step ahead of the Luftwaffe, combat effectiveness really rested with the pilot and Soviet pilots were still struggling to learn their trade against the more experienced Luftwaffe pilots. While many aces did emerge from the Soviet Air Force, their total scores paled in comparison to those of their German counterparts. Nevertheless, the Soviets pushed vast numbers of aircraft and new pilots into combat in a war of attrition that the Soviet Air Force ultimately won.
A new hobby company has emerged from the Ukraine called Modelsvit and here is their first release - the Yak-1B in 1/48 scale. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts and one set of vinyl tires. According to the instructions, the kit is designed as a limited run tooling using similar molding technology as Eduard, MPM, and others. Despite its limited run caveat, it is clear from the instructions that the tooling as well as the illustrations in the instructions came from CAD technology. If it fits as nice as it looks, there is a new contender on the hobby market that bears watching.
As with any good aircraft kit, construction of this project starts in the cockpit and assembly of the cockpit floor is the first order of business. Unlike the Accurate Miniatures kit, this model captures lots of details that are mounted or embedded in the top-center section of the wing that doubles as the cockpit floor. The parts capture the look of that distinctive control stick (which was based upon a captured Bf 109 stick in the Yak-1B upgrade) as well as the distinctive rudder pedal/bar.
The cockpit floor assembly mounts to the inside of the lower wing half and is integrated with the fairing/radiator assembly that mounts aft of the cockpit and the wing main spar that mounts ahead of the cockpit. The main spar also serves as part of the 'boxing in' of the main wheel wells which, when combined with the rib details installed in the upper wing half wheel well area, combine to provide some nice detailing.
The fuselage halves have access panels that can be carefully removed to expose the tubular frame structure and details inside the cockpit, similar to the cockpit maintenance access panels on the Hawker Hurricane.
The landing gear struts and retraction arms are nicely done and include separately molded wheel hubs which can use your choice of plastic or vinyl (rubber) tires.
The flight control surfaces and landing flaps are all molded in neutral, but with some careful surgery, you can position these as you wish.
The only real down side to this kit is the one-piece canopy which is molded closed and will obstruct all of that nice detail in the cockpit. The solution is to either carefully separate the canopy from the windscreen or obtain one of the aftermarket vacuformed canopies that was made for the old Accurate Miniatures kit.
Markings are provided for four examples:
- Yak-1B, 31 GIAP, Stalingrad Front, December 1942, as flown by Major Boris Eremin (winter scheme)
- Yak-1B, 31 GIAP, Stalingrad Front, August 1943, as flown by Major Boris Eremen (summer scheme)
- Yak-1B, 2 GIAP, Northern Fleet, 1943, as flown by Captain V. Pokrovskiy
- Yak-1B, 427 IAP, Kharkov, August 1943, as flown by Captain Chuvalyev
Overall this looks like a really nice job by Modelsvit and kudos to their design team for not over-engineering this model. There is lots of detail here, but nothing wasted inside areas that won't be seen.
My sincere thanks to HobbyTerra for this review sample!