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L-39ZA Albatros Weekend Edition - 1:72 Eduard


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L-39ZA Albatros Weekend Edition

1:72 Eduard


First flown in 1968, the Aero L-39 Albatros was the principle fast jet trainer of the Warsaw Pact. Designed and manufactured by Aero Vodochody of the Czech Republic, the L-39 is a straightforward, versatile and cost effective aircraft. Unsurprisingly, the L-39 has been a considerable success on the real export market. It has achieved significant sales in Africa, the Middle East and Asia and has become one of the most successful jet trainers in the world.

The L-39 is powered by a variant of the Ivchyenko AI-25TL non-afterburning turbofan engine also used in the Yakovlev Yak 40 regional passenger jet. Capable of producing 3792lb of thrust, the engine gives the aircraft a maximum speed of 466mph. The L-39CZA is an upgraded version specifically for armed training and the light attack role. For this it has strengthened under carriage and the ability to carry a 1,290 kg (2,844 lb payload. Another noticeable difference is the addition of the a GSh-23L 23-millimetre twin-barrelled cannon attached in a conformal pod under the cockpit, having a 150-round magazine.


Although Eduards L-39 has been around for a while now, its still a very good kit and its always nice to see it available again, particularly so on this occasion as its part of Eduards budget weekend edition range. Inside the fairly spacious end-opening box are two large sprues of olivey-beigey coloured plastic, a single sprue of clear plastic, an instruction book and decals. The kit is made up of 63 parts, which is a fair amount for a small, simple jet aircraft like the Albatros. The mouldings are clean and crisp and there is no flash present on the parts. Surface detail is comprised of fine, engraved panel lines and recessed fasteners.

The main thing to watch out for is the location of some of the sprue attachment points. Here and there, particularly around the leading edges of the wings and the fin, they intrude into the parts themselves. I would therefore recommend cutting these parts away from the sprue carefully and cleaning them up prior to assembly.

The cockpit is nicely detailed and compares well to other similar kits in this scale. It is comprised of a tub with side consoles moulded in place, a rear bulkhead and a pair each of instrument panels, coamings, control columns and of course the VS-2R ejection seats. The instrument panels and side consoles are covered in fine, raised detail, which should look good under a coat of paint. Decals are provided if youd rather use them, but even if you dont its always nice to have the option. The ejections seats are pretty nicely detailed, and each is made up of no fewer than 5 parts.


With cockpit complete, you just have to add the rather nice engine compressor face and exhaust nozzle before you can join the fuselage halves. Once this has been done, the rest of the model should be fairly quick to assemble. Unusually, both upper and lower wing halves are moulded as single spans, so theres no need to worry about alignment and dihedral. Youll need to drill out the pre-marked holes on the inside of the lower wing half if you want to use any of the supplied ordnance, although none of it bar the drop tanks will be required for the aircraft depicted on the decal sheet.

The port and starboard horizontal tail surfaces are moulded as solid parts and control surfaces are all moulded in place. Theres no need to worry about detailing the undercarriage bays either. This is because the L-39s undercarriage doors automatically retract once the undercarriage has been deployed and, as they are rarely seen open on parked aircraft, Eduard have moulded them all in the closed position. The engine intakes have separate boundary layer splitter plates though, so this kit does have some nice touches where it counts.

A decent selection of ordnance is provided, including two drop tanks, two small bombs (which look like KP-100 concrete practice bombs and the conformal gun pack that fits under the cockpit just aft of the nose gear. As mentioned above, only the drop tanks are used for the aircraft depicted on the decal sheet. The landing gear itself is quite nicely detailed, although it is quite spindly so be careful not to damage it during construction. The canopy is provided in three separate parts and can be posed in the open position if desired.


As seems to be the norm now for its weekend kits (and its welcome) Eduard have provided two decal options for the kit;
  • 1st Tiger Squadron 11th Fighter Regiment, Czechoslovak Air Force, Zatec Air Base, 1991
  • 618th Advanced Traning Squadron, Algerian Air Force, Tafraoui Air Base.



This is a really nice kit of an interesting aircraft. The overall quality of the kit is very good and it seems to offer a good blend of detail and ease of assembly. Its good that this kit has been re-issued, and with a couple of good decal options. Recommended.


Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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