by: Andy Brazier [ ]
HISTORYLighter and smaller than Yak-9 but powered by the same the Klimov VK-105PF-2 V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine. The Yak-3 was possibly the most agile dog-fighter of the war. It was a forgiving, easy to handle aircraft loved by pilots. Early combat experience found it to be superior to all Luftwaffe fighters at altitudes below 5,000 m (16,400 ft). It could roll with the Fw 190 and its turn was far superior; a full circle in 18.6 seconds. The two biggest drawbacks of the aircraft were its short range and the tendency of the glued-on plywood covering the top of the wings to tear away when exiting high-speed dives. The pneumatic system for actuating landing gear, flaps, and brakes, typical for all Yakovlev fighters of the time was also less reliable than the hydraulic or electrical systems, but it was preferred due to significant weight savings. The wing made use of duraluminium spars and was covered with resin impregnated plywood; this resulted in a saving of some 150-kg. The fuselage frame was of tubular construction, the forward section of which was skinned with metal and armour plate while the rear was again covered with resin wood. The first 197 Yak-3 were armed with a single 20 mm ShVAK cannon and one 12.7 mm UBS machine gun, with subsequent aircraft receiving a second UBS for a weight of fire of 2.72 kg (6.0 lb) per second using high-explosive ammunition.
THE BOXLooking at the box artwork you have a rendered colour drawing of the Yak-3. This also serves as the painting and decal guide. On the front you have the top and underside profiles and on the side of the box are the aircraft side profiles.
The box also has the paint chart, which are in Gunze Sangyo Aqueous and Gunze Sangyo Hobby colours.
THE KIT53 light grey parts on 2 sprues and 6 clear parts bagged separately are in the kit, along with the decals and instruction sheet.
The fuselage has some very fine recessed panel lines and rivets. There is some interior detail for the side walls of the cockpit and with some dry brushing and washes should bring it to life.
The wings come in 2 halves, top and bottom which also have recessed panel lines and a bit of detail in the wheel wells. The cockpit floor is moulded on to the top half of the wing and slots into the fuselage during assembly.
The cockpit is fairly detailed and with the addition of some scratch built or A.M seat harness should look fairly good.
The undercarriage is nicely done but i do believe Eduard have made a "Boo Boo" as the undercarriage legs seem to be in the extended in flight configuration. The oleo's will have to be cut and re-glued to shape and the struts need to lose about 1mm from the upper end of the shock absorber, just below the join.
The clear parts don't have any blemishes and look extremely "clear". You have the option of an open or closed canopy. A small hole will have to be drilled into the rear canopy if you want to extend the antenna wire into the cockpit, otherwise you will possibly get an unsightly glue mark on the clear part when connecting the wire.
INSTRUCTIONS The Eduard instructions are printed on one piece of A4 size paper folded in half. The front page shows you the part trees and numbers and the interior painting numbers.
There is no historical dialogue within the instructions or the box so researching will have to be done by other means, be it by book or the Internet, there is plenty of info out there though.
The rest of the pages concern the building with little boxes containing the paint numbers for the interior and some exterior pieces. There is no step 1, 2, 3 though with just the drawings in a sort of reading order on the page.
PAINTING AND DECALING The painting guide as stated before is on the box lid and side and show an aircraft with a two tone grey and blue underside aircraft.
The decals look to be in register with little carrier film around the edges. The main exception to this is the large decal with the arrow, Soviet star and number which is printed as one decal and may require a bit of trimming to avoid any silvering.
The markings for the aircraft are for a Yak-3 of GIAP, Poland, early 1945.
CONCLUSION All though this kit has a couple of discrepences it is still a great kit for the beginner or more advanced modeller as its an easy to build kit of a great Soviet fighter.
Eduards range of "Weekend Edition" kits continue to grow and with the release of W.W.2 subjects should hopefully gain the popularity they deserve.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AeroScale.