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Paul A H

L-39ZO - 1:72

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L-39ZO

1:72 Eduard

 

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Designed and manufactured by Aero Vodochoody of the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia), the Aero L-39 Albatross was the principle jet trainer of the Warsaw Pact countries. The simple, versatile and effective aircraft was also a commercial success on the real export market, achieving considerable sales in Africa and Asia.  First flown in 1968, the L-39 is powered by a Ivchyenko AI-25TL turbofan engine which is capable of producing 3792lb of thrust, giving the aircraft a maximum speed of 466mph. The most common variant is the basic trainer, known as the L-39C, of which over 2,200 have been built. The L-39ZO, as depicted in this kit, is an enhanced variant designed for weapons training and light attack duties. Iraq and Libya were the primary users of this variant. These days, more and more L-39s are finding their way into private ownership, thanks to their availability and (relative!) affordability.

 

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Eduard’s L-39 has been with us for some time now, but it’s always nice to see this kit released again, particularly so in the more affordable ‘weekend edition’ guise. Inside the reasonably large end-opening box are two sprues of Eduard’s usual beige coloured plastic, a single sprue of clear plastic, an instruction book and decals. The kit is made up of 63 parts. The mouldings look pretty clean and crisp and the parts are free from flash. There are a couple of areas, particularly around the leading edges of the wings and the fin, where the sprue attachment points intrude into the the parts themselves. I would recommend cutting these parts away from the sprue carefully and cleaning them up prior to assembly. Surface detail is comprised of fine, engraved panel lines and fasteners. They look quite consistent over the whole model, although lines are a little softer on the underside of the fuselage.

 

The cockpit is very nicely detailed and compares favourably to other similar kits in this scale. It is made up of a tub with side consoles moulded in place, a rear bulkhead and a pair each of instrument panels, coamings, control columns and VS-2R ejection seats. Instruments and controls are represented by fine, raised details, which should look great under a coat of carefully applied paint. Decals are also provided if you’d rather use them though. The ejections seats are made up of 5 parts and are pretty nicely detailed, although a set of photo etch seatbelts would enhance them further.

 

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Moving away from the cockpit, the rest of the internal detail is made up of a nice engine compressor face and exhaust nozzle. Once the fuselage has been buttoned up, the rest of the model should be fairly quick to put together. Both upper and lower wing halves are moulded as single spans, so there’s no need to worry about alignment and dihedral. If you want to use any of the supplied ordnance, you’ll need to drill out the pre-marked holes on the inside of the lower wing half. The horizontal tail surfaces are moulded in single parts for port and starboard sides. Control surfaces are all moulded in place. The engine intakes have separate boundary layer splitter plates. There’s no need to worry about detailing the undercarriage bays because the L-39’s undercarriage doors automatically retract once the undercarriage has been deployed, and they are rarely seen open on parked aircraft. Eduard have therefore moulded them all in the closed position.

 

A decent selection of ordnance is provided, including two drop tanks, two small bombs (which look like KP-100 concrete practice bombs to me) and the conformal gun pack that fits under the cockpit just aft of the nose gear. The landing gear itself is quite nicely detailed, although care should be taken as, just like the real thing, it is quite spindly. The canopy is provided in three separate parts, so it can be posed in the open position if desired.

 
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Markings are provided for just one aircraft, an L-39ZO of the Libyan Air Force Academy, AZ Zawiyah Air Base, Libyan Air Force, 1985. The decals look nicely printed and a full range of stencils is also provided on the sheet.

 

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Conclusion

 

This is a great little kit of an interesting aircraft. The quality of the mouldings is very good, as is the overall the level of detail. Although markings for just one aircraft are supplied, the L-39 has seen such widespread service that the potential for variety with this kit is almost limitless. Definitely recommended.

 

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Nice, this kit is a really good one.

Julien

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