Encore Yakovlev Yak-9 Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

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Lurking in the stash was this Yak-9 in an Encore Models box. This kit was first issued by Dakoplast in 1997, then Encore, then Eastern Express, and finally Modelist. It is not considered to be a good kit by those who know the Yak-9 and is known to have several shape issues. I am not an expert on the type therefore the shape issues don’t jump out at me so I decided to build the kit along with all the other Yaks. When else would I ever build one?

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The box contained two sprues with a lot of mold release. I wash all my sprues in hot soapy water before beginning construction. These got a good long soak. When done there was still some discoloration but no sign of oil. The two fuselages are there to account for the different placement of the cockpit and radiator between different subtypes.

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The cockpit is basic. The control column looked like it would be more trouble than it was worth to clean up so I substituted one made from wire.

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The wheelwells have some detail but there are gaps showing up into the fuselage and at the rear of the well. Another Yak kit which will need some work with Evergreen card.

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The cockpit under a coat of paint, what there is of it. Not super detailed but the basics are in place.

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There are some gaps on the underside seams which will need addressed. You can see the card used to close up the wheelwells in this photo as well.

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There is a pronounced step at the wing joint which will take some filling. At this point I should also mention that the clear canopy was beyond useless – it looked like it had been squished and no way was it ever going to fit. I used one for a Yak-3 from a Falcon vacuform set which looked much, much better and actually fit pretty well.

Yakovlev Yak-7B Build in 1/72 Scale, Dakoplast and Valom Kits Part II

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Limited run kits often present fit challenges, and the Dakoplast Yak-7 is no exception. The wing roots will take some filling to eliminate the seams.

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The underside is no better. The kit features a gap where the chin scoop fits, and my example was short-shot behind the scoop. Nothing some Evergreen and a dab of filler won’t fix!

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The undersides of the Valom kits are also rough. I prefer to fill areas like this with superglue, using accelerator they can be sanded and re-filled right away. Also, the superglue will not draw in along the seams later, which can be a problem with thin glues and soft plastic.

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Just like the Brengun Yak-1, these Yak-7’s also have different thicknesses between the horizontal tail pieces and the fairings molded with the fuselage. These can be reduced with an Xacto knife and sanded smooth.

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Everything is filled and sanded. The canopy pieces are in place and the gaps filled with Perfect Plastic Putty. The landing light is sanded flush and buffed out before painting to ensure the will be no gaps.

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A shot of the underside of the Dakoplast kit showing the wheel wells and repairs to the oil cooler scoop. In contrast with the clunky fit issues the surface details are pretty well done.

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Seamwork on the Valom kits, which had fit issues at the wing roots. I replaced the cowl guns with Albion tube.

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The Valom kits are a little better underneath, but only a little.

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Priming with Mr. Surfacer 1000 always reveals a few areas to fill and re-sand, but it’s also the first time the model starts to look like a model and not a collection of parts.

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The obligatory photo showing the Mr. Color paints used.

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I used decals from Begemot sheet 72-051, which contains eighty marking options. Only seventy-seven more to go, I’m not sure how I feel about that. The decals went on without any drama, but the whites could be a little more opaque.

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Here is the underside of one of the Valom kits. The inner wheelwell doors were replaced with plastic card, stencils are extras from the Arma Yak-1 kits.

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All three together. These are classic examples of limited-run kit technology and take some work to build up. They are not quick builds and there are several areas where some basic improvements go a long way to making the kits look better. If the Yak-7 is your thing, this is the way you’re going to have to go, at least until someone issues a new tool.

Yakovlev Yak-7B Build in 1/72 Scale, Dakoplast and Valom Kits Part I

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If you want to build a Yak-7, you’re going to wind up with a limited run kit from the East. Years ago I bought a box of VVS kits from our friend Dixieflier, who visits here regularly. One of the kits was this example from Dakoplast which was first issued in 2001. It has also been reissued by Eastern Express as well as Modelist.

 

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Inside are two sprues. No locator pins and a bit on the crude side but with some nice recessed surface detail molded on the surfaces. It will take a little elbow grease but looks like you can get a model out of this!

 

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The box contained even more VVS goodness.  Valom issued their kits in 2007. There are parts to make the trainer version but everything you need to build the standard fighter is still in the box so I went that way.

 

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The sprues differ, but really the parts are very similar. The Valom kits give you some details for the cockpit and wheels in resin along with a small PE fret. There is also a choice of cowlings, with and without gun troughs.

 

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This is the Dakoplast cockpit. Detail is actually pretty good, but locating the floor to the fuselage sides is tricky. Test fit until you find the right spot, always good advice.

 

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Wheel well detail is non-existent. The gaps will make this a minor challenge, but everything can be filled in with Evergreen and a little modeling fluid.

 

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Valom provides resin side walls and PE to jazz up their cockpit. Placement is not clear from the instructions so test fitting is again a requirement.

 

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The trailing edges of the wings need thinning on both kits. Here you can see the beginnings of the wheel wells being enclosed. The plastic strips may look thick, but I went for a solid bond as I will be sanding the height to fit within the wing.

 

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This is the Dakoplast cockpit ready to close up. Adequate but nothing fancy.

 

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The Valom cockpit has the resin and PE to help it along. The PE instrument panel and seatbelts add nice touches.

Hasegawa Yakovlev Yak-3 Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

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Small gaps can be filled with Perfect Plastic Putty and the excess wiped away with a moist Q-Tip. This eliminates the need for sanding in most cases. I have replaced the cowl guns with Albion tubing.

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I filled and sanded the underside before installing the radiator. It is positioned over the boat tail where the wing and fuselage meet which would make the seams there impossible to address later.

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I primed the model with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and then painted the red nose over a basecoat of white. No matter which brand of paint I use, I find the red pigment persists in the brushes afterwards unless I’m very diligent with my cleaning efforts.

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The model is painted and glossed in preparation for decals, showing the colors used.

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The AML decals performed flawlessly using Micro Set and Micro Sol. On some of my older builds I have noticed some silvering emerging on the smaller decals over time, so the next morning I went over all the decals again with Solvaset which is a little “hotter”.

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This is the underside of the finished model. I think enclosing the wheelwells makes a big difference in the final appearance. The pitot tube is more Albion tube, the wingtip lights are painted on.

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I added wheel down indicators to the wings, made from 0.0125” wire. The radio antenna is 0.004” Nitenol. Overall, the old Hasegawa kit is a model which goes together quickly but can use a few improvements.

Hasegawa Yakovlev Yak-3 Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

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Continuing on with my Yak effort, this is the Hasegawa Yak-3 first issued in 1991. Hard to believe this is a thirty-year-old kit but there you have it. I picked this one up at a model show for $5, I find it difficult to leave a bargain on the table and there the trouble usually starts!

 

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There are not a lot of parts on this one. Sprue layout is what one would expect.

 

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Markings will be from the AML sheet Soviet Aces in Yakovlev Yak-3s Part II, which provides two options.

 

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Like most Hasegawa kits the cockpit is pretty basic. The seat and most of the interior is built up on top of the center wing section, I like this method as it ensures proper alignment and side-steps the problem of the cockpit floor spreading the fuselage. I added a few bits to spruce things up a little but didn’t go all out on this one.

 

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The kit wheelwells are completely open and you can see into the wing. I added side walls from plastic sheet and detailed the interiors. This is a quick fix which adds a lot to the finished model.

 

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The cockpit is painted and ready to be closed up. Belts are masking tape and I used a decal for the instrument panel. Nothing fancy.

 

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The fit is good from the top. Hasegawa kits generally are lacking in the cockpits and wheelwells but they usually fit well.

 

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This one will need some filling along the fuselage joints on the underside.  There is a gap along the ailerons and flaps where the wing pieces meet.  These will be filled with Perfect Plastic Putty.

Arma Yakovlev Yak-1b Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

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The only thing that I’d have liked to have seen added to the Arma kit is the option to pose the canopy open. It’s a shame to enclose all that cockpit detail, but the single-piece canopy is transparent enough to still allow much of the interior to be seen. The kabuki tape masks are a plus, and an inexpensive way for a manufacturer to add value to a kit.

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Everything fits like a glove. The only filler needed was a swipe of Perfect Plastic Putty around the canopy seam.

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One of the marking options on the Exito decal sheet is for an overall light blue Yak with a dark gray tail. Exito provides a decal for the white cheat line which separates the colors but I didn’t trust myself to hit the color separation exactly so I masked off the cheat line.

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All three Yaks were painted in the “gray” scheme of AMT 12 / 11 / 7. The Dark Gray AMT 11 faded quickly so you could mix it lighter than I’ve chosen here if you prefer.

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The Exito decals performed flawlessly with Micro Set & Sol. There are decals to replicate the artwork on both sides of the aircraft if you desire, but I suspect it was only carried on one side so the other sides are more standard. There is some carrier film at the serpent’s mouth which must be removed for the decal to fit around the horizontal stabilizer, so be forewarned if you like these markings.

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Here is a view of the underside of the finished model. Fit is excellent and the delicate surface detail is visible under an acrylic wash. I really like the depth and detail of the wheelwells.

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All three finished models posed together for a group shot.  I have been quite pleased with everything I’ve seen from Arma and their Yaks are no exception.  They are excellent kits, well detailed and engineered.  If you need a “box shaker” to restore your modeling mojo this would make a great choice.

Arma Yakovlev Yak-1b Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

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I was so impressed with Arma’s FM-2 Wildcats that I ordered a couple of their Yak-1’s from Hannants. This is kit 70027, their “Expert Set” which contains photoetch and a masks. While the Yak has a simple canopy which is not overly tedious to mask, Arma’s kabuki-tape set is a welcome time saver. It is also a relatively easy way for a manufacturer to add value to a kit, particularly as Edward is now asking over $7 per set for their masks.

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The plastic parts come on a single sprue. As expected, the parts are of the highest quality with beautiful surface detail, both raised and recessed. The PE fret is not required to build the kit but adds to the detail.

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Like the Wildcats, the Yak sprues are designed to stack. This is a really useful feature for those who are building more than one.

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Adding fuel to the fire is sheet ED 72007 “Yak Attack” from Exito Decals. I was vacillating between which two of the three markings to use, but my dilemma was solved when I found a third kit at the Rosco Turner IPMS show for a pittance. If they’re selling kits cheap, what’s a modeler to do?

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The cockpit floor structure is molded as part of the single upper wing piece. This ensures proper fit and alignment, and is a very helpful approach to engineering the kit. As you can see the cockpit is quite detailed. I opted to use the plastic instrument panel instead of the PE part as the detail is very good on the kit piece.

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The wing parts fit together without difficulty, the underside features very delicate panel and rivet detail. The wheelwells are deep and have the internal structure molded in place.

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Here is the cockpit ready to close up. Arma provides decals for the Instrument panel as well as side panels, a nice touch.

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The major components fit well with no gaps to be found. I glue with MEK, the melting action closes up the seams without need for filler.

Brengun Yakovlev Yak-1 Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

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The canopy is provided in three pieces, the middle section does not fit well in the open position and will need to be replaced with a vacuform piece if you want to pose it open. A few swipes of Perfect Plastic Putty cleaned up the canopy seams. Brengun also provides clear parts for the navigation lights and landing light. I “painted” the positions with a Sharpie, then fixed the clear parts in place with superglue and buffed them out. I lost both clear pieces meant for insertion in the rudder, but I felt fortunate to get all eight of the tiny exhausts in place.
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The inlet at the root of the port wing is a separate piece and quite delicate. It required a bit of filler. The horizontal tail pieces do not fit at all. The instructions call for you to remove most of the locator tabs but even the stubs don’t fit into the slots. In addition, the fairing molded onto the fuselage halves is much thicker than the tail pieces. I cut off the tabs and butt-jointed the fins in place, then reduced the thicker fuselage fairings from the underside with an Xacto knife and sanded them smooth.
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I primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000 to check the seams. At this point I also drilled holes in each wing for the gear down indicators.
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The obligatory paint color shot so I can remember what I used later. The undersides are a mix, the upper surface camo colors are out of the jars. I make no claims to being a VVS color expert, but these colors appear to be in the proper ranges from what I have been able to find.
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I glossed the model with Testors GlossCoat and applied the kit decals using Micro Set and Micro Sol. The decals went on without any drama.
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Here is the underside with an acrylic wash to pick up the surface details. The PE panels worked out in the end but are still an odd way to do things, plus an unnecessary chance to screw up. I do like the PE parts for the landing gear covers and the wheel wells are nice and deep.
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Here is the finished model with all the fiddlybits in place. I used Albion tube for the pitot tube. The tip of the pitot tube is Nitenol wire, as are the radio antennas. The gear down indicators are 0.0125” wire. The sliding canopy section was replaced with a Falcon vacuform.

Summary:

The Brengun Yak-1 has some nice surface detail and builds up into a good-looking model.  The decals are great and lay down well.  However, this is not an easy kit to build.  There are several unusual engineering decisions which make assembly unnecessarily difficult, and many of the pieces are quite small.  There are flash and mold seams to deal with, but no sink marks on my example.  You will have to work to get this one together and it is a frustrating build.  If you want a high-backed Yak this is your kit, but be prepared for a fight.

Part I of the build here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/06/04/brengun-yakolev-yak-1-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/

Brengun Yakovlev YAK-1 Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

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This is the Brengun Yak-1, their kit number BRP72041. The moldings were first released in 2016, Brengun has issued a new boxing with different decals every year since. This is the “Aces” boxing and contains four marking options. I will be building a batch of Yaks, but as the kits are produced by several different manufacturers I will be posting the builds separately to better focus on the details of each kit.

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The kit features fully-enclosed wheelwells and finely-molded surface detail. This boxing contains a photoetch fret and resin parts for the wheels and instrument panel. Right away one notices a rather peculiar engineering decision – the PE fret contains the underside panels which are meant to be inserted into recesses molded into the lower wing. The expected PE seatbelts are not provided.

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Two additional sprues provide the fuselage sides and detail parts. Many of the parts are small, fragile, and have a bit of flash. The Carpet Monster will certainly be pleased!

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I started with the wing construction as I wanted to make certain the PE panels fit properly into the lower wing. Straight away I ran into the first fit problem. The wing halves will not mate properly without some filing and sanding.

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Here are the PE panels in place. I’ll have to see how these look under primer.

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The cockpit assembly is very detailed, but again some strange engineering decisions rear their heads. For reasons unknown to me Brengun has chosen to provide the central frame under the seat as a separate part – in photoetch. The small mating surfaces resulted in a fragile assembly, eventually I binned the PE part and substituted plastic sheet, problem solved. Why this was not molded as a single piece is beyond me.

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The cockpit is detailed and fits well into the fuselage. It is delicate though and requires careful handling, even without the PE structure under the seat. PE belts are from spares from the Valom YAK-7 kit.

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Fit of the major parts is good. I was happy that the wing / fuselage joint went well, but I suspect that would be a problem without filing down the inner surfaces.

Cunningham T1 Light Tanks Build in 1/72 Scale

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The Cunningham T1 was a series of prototype light tanks developed in America. They were modified and rebuilt into a number of configurations, but were never formally adopted by the U.S. Army. Apparently, versions have become popular in the World of Tanks game, and I found the type interesting enough to print out a couple using a file by “Turenkarn” here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2192170

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The mudguards didn’t come out too well on my prints as can be seen on the nearer hull. Fortunately this is pretty easily corrected using sheet styrene.

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An earlier iteration of the Cunningham had no mudguards at all so they were simply removed from the print. The 37 mm cannons and machine gun barrels were replaced by Albion Alloy tube.

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Mr. Surfacer 1000 smoothed out the printing layers well. The tanks were painted and weathered as usual from there.

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I wanted to display the tank on a base. Here are some small trees made from twisting copper wire from lamp cord. After bending to the desired shape, the trunks are fixed with superglue, primed with Mr. Surfacer 500, and painted. The foliage is from Woodland Scenics.

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The base was made using a small plaque and represents a dirt backroad.

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Here is the finished scene with a figure added for scale. The figure was converted using a Preisser Luftwaffe pilot as a base. Another fun little printer project to clear the pallet between more involved builds.