Zvezda's 1:48 scale Yak-3 follows on the path of the company's highly detailed Bf 109 kits, but unfortunately uses the same parts break-down for the propeller and spinner as in their 1:72 scale snap fit Yak-3 kit. This two-part construction, with the propeller molded together with the front part of the spinner not only makes this subassembly harder to paint neatly, but also produces an inconveniently placed seam that needs filling and sanding. Additionally, the actual joint between the spinner and its backplate is not depicted and would need to be scribed in for an accurate appearance. The aptly named Polish company, Department of Correction, has come up with a resin detail set containing a new spinner and separately molded propeller blades for the kit. According to the box top, it can also be used for the older Eduard Yak-3 kit.
Packaging & instructions
The set comes in a small and sturdy corrugated cardboard box, with the resin parts packed in small zip-lock bags. The double-sided A5 size instruction leaflet is all in English. Also provided is a propeller blade alignment template printed on thick paper and a small piece of vinyl masking material containing two pre-cut circles with a hole in the center to help drill the hole for the propeller shaft.
The resin parts
The four resin parts comprising the spinner and propeller are cast in gray resin and show good detail and no blemishes, save for some very faint and easily sanded seams at the roots of the propeller blades.
In addition to correcting the location of the spinner-backplate seam, the new spinner also relocates the propeller blades back a bit, and is a little pointier in shape. Being molded solid, there is a pouring plug has to be trimmed from the bottom of the spinner casting. Fortunately, the plug is concave, so there is less excess material to remove than it might initially look like. As with similarly cast parts, it would be advisable to mark either the pour plug or the lower edge of the part, and work slowly to avoid trimming too much. The holes for the propeller blade mounting pins come pre-opened to some degree, and need to be drilled out some more or the mounting pins shortened which the instructions mention as less recommended. As usual with separately molded propeller blades, care will be needed aligning and gluing them in place, something in which the provided template will surely help.
The new spinner and propeller blades not only improve the looks and realism of the Zvezda kit, but also make it easier to paint, since the spinner and propeller blades can be painted separately, especially convenient when modeling planes with elaborately painted spinners such as those of the Normandie-Niemen regiment. The resin propeller blades are thinner than those in the Zvezda kit, especially noticeable around the tips, and also have a more proper twist to them, another improvement over the plastic part.
A simple and effective detail set to address the propeller and spinner issue in Zvezda's 1:48 scale Yak-3 kit. While deepening the propeller blade mounting holes and drilling the hole for the propeller shaft, as well as aligning the propeller blades will require care, the provided alignment template and spinner center point masks make this set accessible to those with basic skills of working with resin parts.
Highs: Great casting and detail. Good instructions. Significant improvement over kit parts. Propeller alignment template and shaft mounting hole marking aids provided.Lows: Drilling mounting holes and aligning separate prop blades will take some care.Verdict: Offering significant improvement in both realism and ease of painting over the kit parts, this is a must-have for Zvezda's Yak-3.