Yak-38U “Forger B”
1:48 Hobby Boss
Hot on the heels of Hobby Boss’ new Forger A kit, reviewed here, the B model shares a lot of common parts with the earlier kit, which causes some problems that I’ll get to later. Inside the box are six sprues of mid-grey styrene parts, a sprue of clear parts, a large decal sheet, instruction booklet and painting guide.
The A sprue contains the fuselage halves, and here we have a problem that will require some work if you’re so minded. The aft fuselage had an extension fitted on the B model, which begins aft of the exhaust troughs, and places the tail further back, with a longer spine than the single seat variant. I’ve not yet established the correct length of this plug, but it should be there and isn’t. A great many of us will build the kit and enjoy it immensely without caring two hoots about this, but some of us are likely to get out the razor saw and correct this issue. Which route you choose is entirely up to you!
The new D sprue with the nose and two seat cockpit is necessarily larger to accommodate the enlarged forward fuselage and cockpit parts. Aft of the cockpit though, the sprues are the same as the Forger A, so I’ve reproduced those sprues here to save you flicking back and forth between two reviews.
Detail on the kit is very good, and again the wings can be depicted folded by cutting along the panel lines and inserting the included ribs, a feature which isn’t mentioned in the instructions again.
The new canopy is on a significantly larger sprue, and is supplied in four parts to enable the modeller to pose either or both of the canopies open, although no mechanism is included to enable this. The parts are crystal clear with a very fine seam down the middle of the main parts due to moulding of the slightly blown cross-section. A little distortion seems to have crept into the mould of the aft opening section, but this might well disappear following sanding and re-polishing of the seam.
The sensor fit and weapons are the same as the A model, but the rear bullet behind the tail is different, with an enlarged cylindrical part that has puffer jet exhausts protruding from each side, as is appropriate for the 2-set variant.
Decals are up to Hobby Boss’ usual standard, with plenty of stencils to busy up the airframe. It seems that the Forger B was painted in any colour you like as long as it’s blue… with a green protective coating on the underside. There is good scope here for weathering however, as the blue fades badly under sunlight, resulting in an almost cerulean blue on ageing aircraft.
From the box you can portray one of two aircraft, which have no text to describe either unit or location. Markings are as follows:
- Yellow 24, Soviet markings, blue over green
- Yellow 04, Russian markings, blue over green
To whet your appetite, check out the take-off from a carrier deck at 3:42, landing at 4:43 and subsequent hover manoeuvres on this YouTube video.
It’s a shame that the fuselage mouldings aren’t correct, but at last we have a Forger B in injection moulded styrene, so we’ll not judge Hobby Boss too harshly. The fix is relatively complex, but I expect that a resin company will be along shortly to oblige those that feel the urge to correct it.
Inclusion of the open and closed slats on the forward lift fan bay is good news, and the rest of the airframe is well rendered, with plenty of detail in the cockpit and wheel bays. The “easter-egg” wing fold option is handy too, although I can’t quite understand why it isn’t mentioned in detail within the instructions, as it’s a selling point for many with limited display room.
Recommended with the above caveat.