KIT: Scale Bureau 1/48 Yak-9U
KIT #: SB 48001
PRICE: $88.00 MSRP from
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin with vacuformed canopy.


Arguably the best Russian fighter of the Great Patriotic War, the  Yak-9U (U for improved) was initially based on the VK-105PF-2 engine. Fluid capacities were increased and the chin radiator disappeared to be replaced by ones in the wing leading edge, much like the Yak-3. It is difficult to tall the difference between the early Yak-9U and the later Yak-9M as the changes were evolutionary and added on the production line.

As much as this new variant was an improvement over earlier types, it still was not that big a performance leap. This changed with the VK-107A engine  that was installed in later Yak-9U aircraft. This engine provided a considerable power improvement, but was not very reliable. In fact, the engine was prone to catching fire after as few as 25-30 hours of operation and of the 10 Yak-9Ds fitted with this engine for operational trials, eight of them had catastrophic engine failures. Many went to the gulags over this.

Despite the problems, production fighters rolled off the assembly lines with these engines in a hope that fixes could be quickly found. Nevertheless, these planes were sent to the front where pilots and mechanics found out the problems with the engine. This did not build confidence in the type and special teams with captured German planes were sent to various units to show the superiority of the aircraft. By the time late 1944 arrived, the aircraft were doing quite well and were praised by both pilots and mechanics alike. The aircraft was as good or better than the P-51D in all fight aspects, with the exception of high altitude performance, where the Mustang was superior.

Eventually the engine problems were fixed and the aircraft went on to serve well in the VVS and in the air forces of other nations.


Scale Bureau is a new one to me, but is one of many new companies that appears in Russia from time to time. They have chosen the late war Yak-9U for their first subject and it is a good choice. Over the last few years, the Yak-9 family has become a popular modeling subject with Accurate Miniatures, ICM, and Eduard all providing kits of those versions used during most of the war. Now we have a late war/post war Yak to add to the 1/48 Yak collection. Though only used in the last months of the war, the Yak-9U was a popular and effective aircraft so it is nice to see this one kitted.

The detail level of the parts is first class with crisply done panel lines and detailing. Many of the resin parts are held on with thin attachment points, making removal quite simple. I found that though there were a few spots where air bubbles were nearly at the surface (like in the thin areas of the wing), the general quality of the resin is such that no sanding is needed as I found little in the way of surface blemishes. I especially liked how the wing tips were molded as one piece. I should also mention that packaging is quite good with all the small bits in separate bags. This did not prevent a few pieces from coming adrift from the pour stubs, but none were damaged in any way by this.

The kit offers separate control surfaces and deployable flaps as well as a fully detailed interior with full framing. Full wheel wells are offered and test fitting shows that these will fit well. The kit provides two vacuformed canopies with the canopy and windscreen as one piece and the aft transparency as another. The molding is fairly good though the frame lines could be a bit more distinct.

The instructions are a single sheet that includes several photos of the model underway to help guide the builder through the process. I'm sure that this may seem insufficient to some, but by the time one has reached the level required to build a kit like this, it is enough. There are 16 photo construction steps and while the images are not crystal clear, you can easily tell what is going on as each part is numbered. This corresponds with a rather small parts guide as you can see in the image from the instructions. I notice that there is an area of the rear fuselage that could be opened up for the DF antenna so there is a Yak-9P in the works!

There is a nicely printed decal sheet with the kit. The decals are by Begemot and are quite matt with pretty small overlaps of carrier film. The white areas are difficult to see against the background, but not impossible. I must live right as there were two sheets included in my sample. Markings are for four aircraft, all but one in the greys scheme of Dark Grey/Blue Grey over Light Blue. No paint company references are provided.

First is Red 14 as provided to the 29 GvIAP in Karelia, winter of 1944/45. this one has a nice red stripe across the fin/rudder as well as some nose art.

Next is White 22 of the 6th GvIAP, Black Sea Fleet in 1944. This one has a solid Blue Grey upper surface camo with a bare metal gun port panel.

White 36 is the box art aircraft from 'Germany 1945'. A vary nice nose art of a tiger with this one.

Finally, we have White 31 of the 43rd IAP in East Prussia, 1945. Red spinner and fin tip with the white 'flying wing' marking on the nose.


It is great to see the later Yaks and other piston engine Soviet fighters being done. This one should be a very straight forward build once the bits are removed from their pour stubs, making it a good choice for those ready to dive into resin kits.

My thanks to for the review kit. Get yours soon as these quickly sell out.

March 2008

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