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YAK-38/Yak-38M Forger A


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#1 Mike

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 08:29 PM

YAK-38/Yak-38M Forger A
1:48 Hobby Boss


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Dubbed the "Harrierski" by Western journalists, the Forger (NATO Reporting name) was the carrier borne development of the Yak-36, even though the two look almost nothing alike. It was the Soviet Navy's first operational Vertical Take off/Landing (VTOL) aircraft, and was designed exclusively for service on the huge Kiev class of carriers, first embarking in the summer of 1976.

Its service life was relatively short however, being withdrawn from carrier service in the mid 80s and transferred to land operations due to some long standing issues with humidity and its relatively short radius of operation. Final retirement was in 1991, with the majority of remaining airframes being transferred to storage, of which quite a few still remain as museum exhibits or memorials.

The Hobby Boss kit arrives in a small top opening box, with a painting of two Forgers hovering over a stretch of carrier deck in their standard blue/green finish. Inside are six sprues of parts in mid-grey styrene, and one of clear. Decals, painting guide and instructions finish the package, with all sprues being individually bagged and some parts wrapped in expanded styrene sheet for protection.

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The aircraft looks like an unholy union between a Scimitar and Harrier, and is surprisingly long in the fuselage. The fuselage splits vertically, and the nose section forward of the intakes is separate, again split vertically. The cockpit is built up first from a reasonable number of parts, but because of its cramped nature, very little will be seen other than the ejection seat, which is built up from 9 parts and has moulded in seat belts. The cockpit an nosewheel bay are sandwiched into the nose section early in the build, but it should be possible to leave the nose gear off until later in the build, as it drops into a pair of holes in the roof of the bay.

The fuselage contains the forward lift fans, which are normally hidden beneath panels in forward flight in the same way as the new F-35 JSF works. These are provided as top and bottom inserts with the fans nicely depicted. The rear attitude jets are housed between two bulkheads in the rear of the fuselage and have location pegs for fully vertical or horizontal. If you were planning on building it in transitional flight, you'll need to knock off the tabs and glue it directly to the stringer between the bulkheads. The nozzles each build up from two halves, so careful alignment will be required, and a few ejector pin marks will need hiding if you plan on looking up the spout later on! Heat resistant panelling is added later in the build, which fits around the nozzles, hiding the bulkheads inside the fuselage.

The fuselage halves close up around the nose part, which is locked in place by a pair of lugs on the nose that fit into the fuselage. The intakes either side of the cockpit are added after installing the nose, and consist of the usual splitter plate and semi-circular intake mouth, which attach to flat spots on the nose, butt-fitting to the fuselage sides. There is no attempt at extending the intake trunking, so a coat of black at the rear of the intakes will hide this fact. Care in fitting the intakes should yield a neat joint, which runs along a major panel line on the airframe, so you might even get away without any further work.

The canopy is provided in two parts, and is on one of the foam wrapped sprues for obvious reasons. Once unwrapped, it is a delight to behold, having a very clear surface and a very subtle blown shape to the windscreen, accomplished by using slide moulding. Cleverly, the seam has been diverted around the flat front panel to avoid a horrendous sanding task, but the main canopy has no such luxury due to there being nowhere to divert to. A little sanding and re-polishing will be needed on the main canopy therefore. Those of you with a timid disposition can probably get away without doing this task though, as the seam really isn't that prominent compared to some.

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The small clipped delta wings attach to large mating surfaces on the fuselage, but the more cautious might want to put a spar straight through the existing holes and strengthen the assembly. The wings can be cut along a panel line and depicted folded by utilising a set of end pieces depicting the folding mechanism, but they are so small (not even 6cm each!) that it's unlikely to be a necessity due to storage space. Clear wingtip lights are provided as well as puffer jets for each wingtip.

The vertical tail has a poseable rudder, but the elevators are moulded into the horizontal tail, which clips to the fuselage in the same way as the wings. A 2-part end cap finishes off the empennage nicely.

The gear legs are all nicely moulded with no flat-spots moulded into the tyres, leaving it down to the modeller to file a spot on each wheel if that is their taste. The main gear bays are fitted into the fuselage halves early on in the build and have nice surface detail moulded in, with the complex retraction mechanism taking up the bulk of the bay once installed. The forward doors are installed closed, covering up some nice detail, with the smaller doors hanging down while the landing gear is deployed. The nose gear bay is similarly furnished, although with all three doors left open. The front lift fans have a pair of doors each, which are moulded to be posed open, so posing them closed may prove fiddly.

Two small sprues of weapons are included with the kit, along with their pylons for mounting on the wings.

2 x UB-16 rocket pods
2 x UB-32M rocket pods
2 x UPK-23 gun pods with GSh-23L 23mm barrel depicted
2 x R-60 Aphid A2A missiles and adapter rails

The rocket pods all have hollow missile slots in their cones, which look great, but require work if they are to be depicted with a warload within. The gun pods will need their barrels drilling out for realism, but otherwise detail here is good, and stencils are supplied to detail the ordnance further.

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Other missiles and bombs were carried by the Forger, but this selection is still more than adequate to load up your model to depict an operational airframe.

The decals are nicely printed, have good colour density and register, consisting mostly of stencilling in impenetrable (to this reviewer) Cyrillic. From the box you can build one of the following three schemes:
  • Navy Blue upper surfaces with light green anti-corrosion undersurfaces - yellow 28 on each engine nacelle
  • Sand, brown and forest green camouflage all over with yellow 53 on each engine nacelle
  • Grey upper surfaces with medium grey (described as light in the instructions) lower anti-corrosion area, yellow 88 on each engine nacelle.

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The location/theatre, date and ship aren't given in the marking guide, but are simply referred to as I, II and III.

Conclusion
This is a most welcome release in this scale, and the detail from the box is excellent throughout. Building it out of the box should result in a great looking replica of this unsual and relatively short lived example of Russian engineering, and would look splendid next to a Harrier in the same scale.

The inclusion of three very different schemes is a great idea, and the stencil decals should really bring the finished model to life, without being so numerous that you lose the will to live. The weapons provided with the kit are more than adequate to fill up the four weapons stations, so some can be donated to another build at some point. The increasing use of slide moulding to improve detail and provide shape is excellent news, and long may it continue.

Recommended

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Review sample courtesy of Posted Image



#2 Shar2

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 08:40 PM

Oooh! that looks nice. That's another on the list for Telford.

#3 Paul A H

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 08:46 PM

That does look very nice indeed. I do hope they scale it down to 1:72. I'm even tempted to pick one up anyway.

#4 stringbag

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 08:50 PM

That looks realy nice.
I hope they bring out the UB version.
Chris

#5 UziYerDaddy

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 09:06 PM

What a corking looking kit! :Tasty:

#6 dahut

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 01:00 AM

Been hoping too see one of these for many a year. Trumpy comes through.

#7 borz666

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 07:21 AM

And a bargain to boot!!! only £22!!! Compared with recent hobby boss (and other companies) releases this is a breath of fresh air.

Going to buy one today!

#8 chadders

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 08:19 AM

Trumpy comes through.


Or Hobby Boss even

#9 magman2

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 08:26 AM

Aires/ Quickboost 1/48 for Yak-38

Yak-38 variable exhaust nozzles
Yak-38 Forger A air intake covers
Yak-38 Forger A air scoops
Yak-38 Forger A „Opushka“ VM flight data recorder

Pavla 1/48 Cockpit For Yak-38

#10 Antoine

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 05:14 AM

Looks nice.
Will you review the twin seat version too?
I'll be interested if you can do that.

#11 Giorgio N

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 11:55 AM

That does look very nice indeed. I do hope they scale it down to 1:72. I'm even tempted to pick one up anyway.


Same here, I'd prefer 1/72 but for the price I might a well buy the 1/48 one !

A small note on the decal options: the 2-grey scheme 88 yellow is a well known plane as it took part in several airshows. It was used as a test plane and had a different cokpit layout.
53 yellow is also quite famous as it was used in Afghanistan to test the validity of the type in those conditions. However this is a Yak-38, not a Yak-38M and the two types differ in a few details, the most important being the use on the 38M of bigger air intakes and bulged engine fans doors. Now I don't see extra parts for these, so I guess the kit only really allows one version to be built (and I can't see which from the sprue shots).
Yellow 28 is shown in the cover as an early Yak-38 (no fences on the upper fuselage), however these also had the stabilators mounted with a different anhedral (15° instead of 8° on the later planes and the 38M).
It must be said that planes were recoded, so mixing the numbers provided will allow other planes to be made.

#12 Brad-M

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 01:29 AM

Thanks for showing this. Can you tell if a -38M can actually be built OOB?

Thanks again for sharing

Brad

#13 Giorgio N

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:01 AM

Thanks for showing this. Can you tell if a -38M can actually be built OOB?


Not having the kit, I only have to go by the pictures of built examples I've seen on the web, and to me the intakes look more like those of the older Yak-38 rather than the bigger ones of the 38M, so it looks like a 38M can't be really done OOB. Have to say the same pictures show that the intakes might not be that well done, but I can live with it. Can't see the underfuselage fan door, so not sure if this is fine for the 38M or is a 38 one.
Another aspect I don't like of the intakes is that HB moulded the side auxiliary doors all closed while these are often partially open on the ground, think like the Harrier.
Wonder if any aftermarket company will do the 38M style intakes, should not be a difficult addition, and while they are at it they might do them with open auxiliary doors. Without these intakes, personally I'll build the Yak-38 variant only. I've read Akan will do specific paints for these planes, I love the blue over green scheme !

#14 Brad-M

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 04:07 PM

Thanks for the reply. Is there somewhere we can obtain drawings to show the differences in the intakes? Are the intakes wider, or longer in length?

Thanks again
Brad

Not having the kit, I only have to go by the pictures of built examples I've seen on the web, and to me the intakes look more like those of the older Yak-38 rather than the bigger ones of the 38M, so it looks like a 38M can't be really done OOB. Have to say the same pictures show that the intakes might not be that well done, but I can live with it. Can't see the underfuselage fan door, so not sure if this is fine for the 38M or is a 38 one.
Another aspect I don't like of the intakes is that HB moulded the side auxiliary doors all closed while these are often partially open on the ground, think like the Harrier.
Wonder if any aftermarket company will do the 38M style intakes, should not be a difficult addition, and while they are at it they might do them with open auxiliary doors. Without these intakes, personally I'll build the Yak-38 variant only. I've read Akan will do specific paints for these planes, I love the blue over green scheme !



#15 Giorgio N

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 04:27 PM

Thanks for the reply. Is there somewhere we can obtain drawings to show the differences in the intakes? Are the intakes wider, or longer in length?

Thanks again
Brad


Not sure about good drawings, I'm basing my comments on the info and pictures found on the Red Star book on the subject. This has drawings for all versions but a front drawing only for the 38M. The intakes on this are wider, mainly at the top and bottom and this is visible in the drawings, however there's no equivalent drawing for the previous versions. I'll look around for pics that show this detail and post them

#16 the South African

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:35 PM

Gonna get me one of those!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shaun

#17 Brad-M

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:50 PM

Thanks very much.

Brad

Not sure about good drawings, I'm basing my comments on the info and pictures found on the Red Star book on the subject. This has drawings for all versions but a front drawing only for the 38M. The intakes on this are wider, mainly at the top and bottom and this is visible in the drawings, however there's no equivalent drawing for the previous versions. I'll look around for pics that show this detail and post them



#18 nigec

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 03:42 PM

I have to make a trip to my LHS this week and quess what they have couple in stock looks like its going to be a more expensive trip than I thought

#19 Greased Lightning

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 01:53 PM

Thanks for another great review Mike.

We really are spoilt for Russian / Soviet subjects these days and Trumpeter / HB have done us proud with the Flagon, Mig 19, Mig 15 UTI to name a few. It's great to see they will also be doing the Forger in it's 2 seat guise as well. Let's hope they give us a great Mig 25 in 48 next and we can consign that Revell kit to the bin!

:shoot:

#20 Col.

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:20 PM

Oh well, was trying so hard to avoid increasing the stash this year but this one is an essential, it'll keep my Harrier kits company :rolleyes: