Zvezda 1/72 Yak-3

KIT #: 7301
PRICE: $13.50 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool. Snap fit


The Yakovlev Yak-3 (Russian language: Як-3) was a World War II Soviet fighter aircraft. Robust and easy to maintain, it was much liked by pilots and ground crew alike. It was one of the smallest and lightest major combat fighters fielded by any combatant during the war, and its high power-to-weight ratio gave it excellent performance.It proved a formidable dogfighter. Marcel Albert, the official top-scoring World War II French ace, who flew the Yak in USSR with the Normandie-Niémen Group, considered it a superior aircraft to the P-51D Mustang and the Supermarine Spitfire.  After the war ended, it flew with the French, Yugoslav and Polish Air Forces.

In addition, since 1991, a number of true replica Yak-3s have been newly manufactured by Yakovlev for the warbird market using the original plans and dies. These are powered by Allison V-1710 engines and have the designation Yak-3M. Several of these are airworthy today, mostly in the United States, but also in Germany and Australia. Others have been converted as reproductions instead, to "Yak-3U" status from Yak-11 trainers for private owners, with these aircraft also being popular worldwide.


This is the first aircraft kit in Zvezda's 'My First Model Kit' line. It very much reminds me of the Hobby Boss quick build kits, though it has considerably more parts. I also notice that the kit is produced under license from Yakovlev, so it seems that even the Russians cannot get away from lawyers!

A snap kit it may be, but the kit is quite detailed. A full interior is provided and is molded onto the upper wing section. The wing is a two part construct with the wheel well area being separate. The wells are nicely detailed as well, though the well walls have cause long sink areas on the upper wing that you can probably see in the sprues photo. I also found sink areas on the main gear doors. These can be built raised if one wishes, though there is no display stand. To help fill in the interior, the kit comes with a three piece pilot, though I would have thought a single mold would have been enough to handle this. Two different instrument panels are also provided, one with raised detail and the other to take the decal. The interior also has a separate control stick and rudder pedals as well as a seat.

The prop hub is molded along with the propeller. A backing plate is provided that plugs into the nose section. Landing gear appear to be quite sturdy. The fuselage snap locks into the wing with the lower wheel well insert hiding the connection. Instructions are well done with markings options for two planes. One is the box art plane from Normandie-Niemen in the markings of their top ace, Marcel Albert. This plane is in the two greys scheme. The other is the mount of Semen Rogovoy in 1944. This one is in dark green and very dark grey. The paint call out refers to the darker grey as 'steel', but this is not the correct shade. Markings are well printed and for those who wish, there have been aftermarket sheets for this aircraft.  


I think Zvezda has a winner with this. The engineering is really first rate and  those who do not mind using filler can take care of the seams. Just the thing to relax from some other wonder kit with a zillion pieces. I am sure we will see more like this.



April 2012

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or have them order it for you.

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