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Julien

Aero L-29 Delfín - 1:48 Eduard ProfiPACK

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Aero L-29 Delfín
1:48 Eduard ProfiPACK


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Designed in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s, the Delfín was a two-seat military jet trainer used by the Warsaw Pact countries that is still in operation with some countries and in private hands today. It is simple in construction and cheap to operate, with a good safety record due to its pleasant handling characteristics, which endears it to the cost conscious and anyone wishing to stay alive. Over 3,600 were made, and due to their use by the Soviet Air Force, they were dubbed "Maya" under the NATO reporting coding. As well as flight training, the Delfín is equipped with hard points to allow it to be used in weapons training, which has inevitably led to it being used in action on occasion most notably during the Yom Kippur war, but also in other "low level" conflicts over time. It has been gradually replaced by the L-39 Albatros, but still finds use with private operators for air racing, experimental flights as well as joy-rides. The Sasol Tigers in South Africa fly the L-29 as an acrobatic team, and the low cost of ownership has made it a popular entry into jet-powered flying.

The Kit
As well as making their own kits, Eduard are making a name for releasing other manufacturers kits with their own Eduard parts and decals. This is such a kit using the AMK plastic. In the box there are five sprues of medium grey styrene, a small sprue of clear parts, a Photo-Etch (PE) brass sheet, square decal sheet and a glossy instruction manual with painting instructions on the rear pages. The quality feel extended to the sprues, which are individually bagged in resealable clear foil bags, with the exception of the weapons sprues, which share a small bag. The tooling is good quality, with perhaps only the engraved panel lines appearing a shade wider than I would have liked, although by the time they are primed and painted, it probably won't notice.


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Construction starts with the cockpit, and a pair of ejection seats are built up from a two-piece frame to which the seat cushion and back cushions are added. Colour PE parts are added b Eduard if you wish to use them. The rear-seat has the canopy breaker framework removed, so make sure you place it in the rear cockpit once you're ready. The copckpit is a single tub into which the central bulkhead and instrument panels fit, along with the front coaming and two control columns that reflect its trainer status. Decals are supplied for the instrument panels, or you can use the newly supplied PE parts. New PE parts also replace the moulded in cockpit side details. A pair of ejection seat rails are added to the back of each cockpit area, the rear set being cut shorter and adding a pair of shrouds around the rear-seater's shoulders. The nose gear bay has to be built up next along with the single engine exhaust, as both of them are trapped inside the fuselage with the cockpit. The exhausts have a fine pen-nib tip to them, which is well moulded, with the exhaust trunking made from two halves and a rear-face to the engine itself at the end. The cockpit sidewalls are moulded into the fuselage halves, and are well done with a single extra part added to each side before the cockpit is installed. The nose-gear bay is also detailed with ribbing, plus various pressure bottle that add some extra interest and colour, as they are painted light blue. The fuselage closes around the three assemblies, with the cockpit rear having an insert behind the rear seat, and the engine supported by moulded in bulkheads with cut-outs that ensure it is correctly seated. Eduard's bunny pops up to remind you to add nose weight under the cockpit to prevent a tail-sitter, but if you plan on leaving the nose bay closed, you can add more there too. A clear blast-screen fits between the two cockpits, framed by a very delicate hoop that is built into the fuselage halves, so take care handling!

 

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The wings have the flap sections removed, and if you plan on modelling them retracted, all you need to do is remove the actuator rods from them and glue them in place. If you plan on having them deployed, leave the rods on.The intakes on the Delfín are in the wing roots and are simply curved into a central tunnel to feed the engine. The intake lips are moulded into the wing roots, and a curved part with splitter is then added into the gap behind them. The splitter plate is added to the sides of the fuselage, and a shield-shaped hole in the side of the fuselage allows the intake trunking to disappear into the darkness never to be seen again. Pitot probes are moulded into the wing halves, and I'm probably going to knock those off with my clumsiness too. A clear landing light is added to the underside of the port wing and formation lights are added to both wing tips, after which the wings are glued to the fuselage, with surprisingly short tabs but a large mating surface that make it wise to check everything it aligned properly before you leave the wings to set up. The main gear bays are moulded into upper wing skins, and detail is good, although some additional wiring would probably add more life. The mouldings are quite large, but there don't seem to have been any sink-marks on the upper surface, which is nice to see. There are a few shallow sink marks on the flaps though, but as they're on a flat surface, that shouldn't take more than a few minutes to resolve.

 

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The L-29 has a T-tail, which has a single full-width elevator, which is represented as a separate part, as is the rudder, which is made up from separate halves. This gives plenty of options for offset surfaces that give the aircraft a more candid look once complete. The landing gear parts are well detailed, with twin brake hoses running down the main legs, separate hubs to the main wheels, and retraction jacks that key neatly into both gear legs and the bays. The nose gear has a Y-shaped location/pivot point, plus a long retraction jack that extends high up into the nose. Gear bay doors are also well detailed, with the outer mains captive to the gear legs and inner doors hinging toward the centre line with retraction jacks added. The nose gear bay has a sliding rear door that sits flush with the underside of the fuselage, and a front door that hinges forward to deploy the gear, and then closes behind it. The Delfín has scabbed-on air-brakes that sit on the fuselage skin, and hinge out to slow the aircraft down using retraction jacks that sit within a small bay on the side of the fuselage. This is represented well by a pair of styrene parts with moulded in lightening holes on the inner face that sneakily hide some well-placed ejector pin marks. There is a bit of flash here on my example, which I will cut off using a new blade on my scalpel, so nothing untoward. The hinges are PE parts that affix to the leading edge of the brakes, and slot into two small depressions on the side of the fuselage. A pair of drop-tanks are provided for the underwing plyons.

 

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The canopy and nose bay cover can be posed open or closed, with the nose bay cover hinging forward on a substantial tab. The canopy is supplied as a three-part arrangement, with a fixed windscreen glued to the front, a side-opening front canopy with optional retaining strap if you pose it open, and a sliding rear canopy with a small bulkhead behind the cockpit opening. All parts are well moulded with defined framework, and are crystal clear, so with careful masking and painting should perform well.

Markings
The L-29 was used by a wide variety of operators, so the choice of marking is quite wide. Eduard give us a choice of 5 schemes. There is a main decal sheet, with a large stencil sheet as stencils vary between the marking options. There is also a small supplemental sheet. All decals are printed in house and should cause no problems. 

 

  • 3246, 3rd Flight, 1. Fighter Regiment, Planá Air Base, Czechoslovakia, 1969-1970
  • 4902, 11. Fighter Regiment, Žatec, Czech Republic, 1993
  • 79, Tactical Air Services, N179EP, Reno AFB, United States of America, 2009
  • 1597, Egyptian Air Force, Bilbais, Arab Republic of Egypt, Late Eighties
  • 3250, International Fighter Pilots Academy , Košice, Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, 1993

 

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Conclusion
A welcome release from Eduard of the great AMK plastic with some nice Eduard additions. Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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