|KIT:||A-Model 1/72 Yak-18|
|PRICE:||$12.55 at GreatModels|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes cast metal bombs|
A member of the second generation of Russian aircraft designers, and best known for fighter designs, Alexander S. Yakovlev always retained a light aircraft design section. In May 1945, Yakovlev initiated design of the Yak-18 two-seat primary trainer. He designed it to replace the earlier Yakovlev UT-2 and Yak-5 in service with the Soviet Air Forces and DOSAAF (Voluntary Society for Collaboration with the Army, Air Force and Navy, which sponsored aero clubs throughout the USSR). The new aircraft flew a year later, powered by a Shvetsov M-11 five-cylinder radial engine and featuring a retractable tail wheel landing gear. The design proved exceptionally easy to build and maintain, and it continues in production today, 55 years later, in two of its many variants, the four-seat Yak-18T and two-seat Yak-54. The CJ 6a, produced in China, is sometimes quoted as a variant but is a completely different aircraft but uses some Yakovlev features such as the undercarriage from the tricycle version of the Yak 11.
The subject of this kit is one of the early Yak-18 trainers that were ubiquitous throughout the Soviet-influenced block of nations from Afghanistan to Zambia, and served with the North Korean/Chinese air force during the Korean War as a night nuisance bomber. I seriously doubt if it caused the sort of damage implied on the box art!
Molded in a white plastic with thick sprues and rather thin sprue gates, this is very much typical of the A-model kits I've built in the past. Surface detail is well done with engraved lines and subdued fabric representation. The somewhat soft plastic means that care will be needed when removing the smaller parts. I found the usual flash on nearly all the parts and the parts that have two sides to them, like wheels and gear legs, are suffering from mold mis-alignment, though not to the extent where it will require replacement of the parts with scratchbuilt ones.
The single transparency is thick, has hair pockets in it, and has somewhat indistinct canopy frame lines. As this is a special boxing, there are two cast metal bombs with racks. The instructions just show a general area for placement and I found it interesting that there would be one on the centerline and one offset to the left. Markings are provided for two aircraft. One in Dark Green over Light Blue and another in overall Black. I'm not sure just how opaque the markings are, but have found previous A-model kits to have usable decals. Getting back to the bombs, the lower markings guide shows them both near the centerline. Instructions are quite usable with a highly detailed drawing of the interior for those willing to put in a bunch of extra work that won't be easily seen through the thick canopy.
So what we have is yet another interesting kit that needs to be treated as short run to get the best from it. The resulting aircraft will be one that fits right in with any trainer collection.
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