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Paul A H

La-7 Weekend + Accessories - 1:72 Eduard

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La-7 Weekend

1:72 Eduard


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The Lavochkin La-7 was the ultimate refinement of a design initiated in the pre-war period with the underpowered LaGG-1. It differed from its immediate predecessor, the La-5, in a number of ways. The wing was redesigned in order to accommodate the engine air intakes and stronger, lighter wing spars made from aluminium alloy were utilised. The engine benefitted from redesigned exhausts and a new propeller was fitted up front. Many aircraft were fitted with three of the lighter Berezin B-20 20mm cannon as opposed to pair of ShVAK 20mm cannon carried by the La-5

Despite flaws with the new engine arrangement, combat trials were considered a success, with 55 enemy aircraft shot down for 4 losses. It was considered superior to its German contemporaries, lacking only in terms of firepower (hence the switch to the three Berezin cannon arrangement) and reliability. The latter gradually improved over the aircraft's service life, and the great Soviet fighter ace Ivan Nykytovych Kozhedub flew the aircraft when he claimed the last 17 of his 64 official victories.

It's ten years since Eduard's La-7 was first released, so it's good to see it back with us again, this time in the vanguard of the newly re-formatted 'weekend' range. Unlike previous weekend range kits, this kit includes two decal options and a set of the new superfabric seat harnesses a welcome bonus indeed. Photo etched parts and paint masks are not included, but they are available to purchase separately and, as we have received some for review, we'll include them below. Just remember that these parts are not included in the weekend edition of this kit.

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Although the kit has been around for a decade, it still creates a favourable impression when you open the box. The La-7 is a surprisingly small aircraft, and Eduard have managed to cram the sixty-or-so parts onto one sprue. The plastic is smooth and glossy and surface detail is comprised of fine, engraved panel lines where appropriate. The surface of the airframe isn't exactly festooned with detail, but that is a result of the composite construction used for the original aircraft. The canopy is moulded in separate parts, so you can finish it in the open position if you so wish. The mouldings are clean and crisp and there is no flash present on the parts.

The cockpit is pretty good and certainly compares well enough to other similar kits in this scale. The floor of the cockpit is moulded as part of the single-span upper wing, and the control column and rudder pedals must both be added to this part first. The insides of the fuselage halves feature nicely moulded sidewall detail, but rather disconcertingly you have to join them together before you insert the instrument panel, rear bulkhead and seat. Some careful planning will be needed to ensure everything is painted and detailed in the correct order. A decal is provided for the instrument panel as it is otherwise devoid of detail. The seat is quite nicely moulded, and the addition of the fabric seatbelts will help to elevate it to another leve.

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With the cockpit complete and the fuselage buttoned up, you can join the wings, tail planes and rudder. The latter is moulded separately to the fin, while the elevators are moulded in one piece with the horizontal stabilisers. Both upper and lower wing halves are moulded in one piece, so it should be easy to get everything correctly aligned. The propeller blades are moulded in three separate parts and there is no jig provided to help you line everything up, so you'll need to take care with this aspect of assembly.

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The undercarriage is nicely represented, with torque links moulded separately to the rest of the leg. The wheel hubs are moulded separately to the tyre too, which should make painting these parts much easier. Some basic detail is provided for the main landing gear bay too. As mentioned above, a choice of canopy parts are provided so you can leave the cockpit open if you so wish.

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Markings are provided for two aircraft:
La-7, Lt. Colonel Filipp M. Kosolapov, CO, 937th IAP/322nd IAD, Prague, Kbely Airfield, Czechoslovakia, May 1945; and
La-7, Major A.V. Alelyukhin, 9. GIAP, 1945.
Both aircraft are finished in the two-tone grey over blue disruptive camouflage scheme depicted on the box artwork, with the pattern of the red markings on the cowling accounting for the principal difference between the two schemes. The decals look nicely printed on the sheet.

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La-7 Weekend Photo Etched Parts

1:72 Eduard


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If you like the look of Eduard's La-7 (and why wouldn't you?), then you might want to consider this neat little 'zoom' set of photo etched parts as a cost-effective upgrade. Included on the pre-painted fret is a new multi-layered instrument panel, as well as a host of details for the cockpit sidewalls and harnesses for the seat (so you can choose between the fabric versions of the metal alternatives, leaving a set for the spares box). Also on the fret are parts for the landing gear and radiator. Overall this is a neat little set which doesn't go over the top with fiddly details.

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La-7 Weekend Pre-Cut Masks

1:72 Eduard


Last but not least is this set of pre-cut paint masks. These are a great time-saver and you get masks for the wheels as well as the canopy. If you hate masking or would rather spend the time painting your model, then these are for you.

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Conclusion

This is a likeable little model of an attractive aircraft. The overall quality of the kit is very good and it appears to offer a good blend of detail and ease of assembly. In many ways it embodies what I like about this scale; enough detail to build a pleasing replica but without resorting to an unnecessarily high part count. The photo etch detail set is well worth considering too. Recommended.

Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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Thanks for the review, I've often been tempted to make a La-7, I might just add one of these to the stash!

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