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Yak-9T (32090) 1:32


Mike
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Yak-9T (32090)

1:32 ICM via Hannants Ltd

 

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The Yak-9 was an evolution of the successful Yak-7 fighter, and was intended to retake the initiative from the Nazis’ new Fw.190 and improved Bf.109s, which it successfully did.  Production started in late 1942, and by summer 1943 there were enough in service to make a difference, playing a part in the crucial Kursk battle, thanks to its agility in the denser air at lower altitudes and the heavy armament it carried.  It was made in a number of different variants with diverse intended uses, with the D fitted with additional fuel tanks for longer range, and the DD for longer range still.  The Yak-9T was armed with a larger 37 mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-37 cannon firing through the spinner but with only 30 rounds of armour-piercing ammunition carried, which it could fire in two or three round bursts and was intended for use against maritime targets and light armour, where it was quite effective.  Careful aim was key of course due to the shortage of ammunition, but when used against another aircraft, a solitary shell strike would rip an opponent to pieces, making the enemy’s day end very badly.  Because of the additional weight of the massive gun and its ammo, the cockpit had to be moved aft slightly to counter the change in centre-of-gravity, and various issues reared their heads thanks to the substantial vibrations from firing the cannon.  Its standard armament of a 20mm UBS cannon still carried a full complement of 220 rounds as an auxiliary to the main armament.   Almost 3,000 were made, and the designers later went one further and installed a 45mm cannon in one variant that had to be fitted with a muzzle brake to counter recoil of crippling proportions that could cause loss of control if fired at slower speeds.

 

Post war saw the continued development of the type, which involved the installation of a more powerful engine, and these were later hived off to Soviet-friendly satellite states at the end of the 40s, where they served into the 50s, although their unusual manual lubrication system saw accidents caused by engines seizing due to pilots that were engrossed in flying and fighting their aircraft forgetting to operate the hand-cranked lubrication lever in the cockpit. 

 

The Kit

This is a brand-new tooling of this capable Soviet fighter from our friends at ICM, and it arrives in one of their standard top-opening boxes with the usual captive inner lid, and an attractive painting of the subject matter on the top.  Inside the box are five sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue in its own bag, a large square decal sheet and the instructions with colour covers and spot colour throughout, plus colour profiles for the decal options on the rear.  Detail is crisp throughout the model, but don’t expect too many rivets to be visible on the exterior, as the metal structure was hidden away inside an outer layer of plywood impregnated with phenolic resin, that is better known in the west by its brand-name Bakelite.

 

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Construction begins with the port fuselage, which is adorned with the tubular cockpit framework and has six exhaust stubs on a runner pushed through the slot in the cowling from inside.  The tips aren’t hollow, so prepare your pin vice if that bothers you at all.  The starboard fuselage half goes through the same process, but adds the structure of the chin intake and its oil radiator cores, then the upper parts of the cockpit are made up, starting with the seat that has a pencil-rolled back cushion, and attaches to the short deck behind it, slotting into the starboard fuselage half along with a bulkhead and the instrument panel, which has a number of additional parts and a dial decal added along the way.  With the completion of the tail-wheel assembly the fuselage can be closed up around these sub-assemblies, with an insert added under the chin, while most of the underside is open to the elements at this stage.

 

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The kit includes an engine that you can show off or hide away in its basic form of block with cylinder banks that is made out of nine parts plus another two for the cannon, which is similarly basic, but as none of it will be seen that hardly matters.  The muzzle can be found in the prop assembly if you’re in the mood to drill it out.  The basic assembled engine slides into the front of the fuselage with the breech of the cannon slipping through a depression in the bulkhead, after which it can be covered over by two sections of cowling after removing a pair of pips that stand up from the seamline.  If you intend to expose the engine however, the power plant is further detailed with an additional twenty parts for the engine itself, and another gaggle for the compartment around it, adding ancillaries, hoses, cowling support structure, the .50cal auxiliary cannon, and a pair of ammo cans for them both that slip into the aft section in front of the cockpit to create a nice replica with plenty of detail.  The surround to the cockpit aperture is detailed with the gunsight mount and a piece of clear armoured glass behind the pilot, a small coaming, and the fixed rear canopy part, with the windscreen and its separate clear armoured panel, which is best “glued” on using a clear varnish such as Klear, taking care not to trap any bubbles in between the layers.  The opening canopy slides back over the aft section, or you can leave it closed up to keep the snow out.

 

In preparation for the wings, a short spar is created with a fluid tank in the centre and a couple of jacks at the ends, then a raised platform is made of the cockpit floor, which has the control column, rudder pedals and a flare pistol fixed in place for later attachment.  The lower wing is full-width, and has the central radiator with textured front and rear panels added underneath, and the spar assembly inside, which forms the rear walls of the main gear bays that are joined by a number of other wall sections and internal ribs that are closed in by adding the upper wing halves.  The bay roof is moulded into each wing half, with a little detail visible, but a single ejector-pin mark is visible, and is best dealt with before you glue the assembly together.  The ailerons are individual parts that can be posed deflected, then the cockpit floor is glued in and a pair of tapering boxes are inserted in front, although I couldn’t divine their real-world purpose.  The wings and fuselage are joined by carefully lowering the latter over the former, taking care not to bend or snap the control stick.  The elevators and their fins are each two parts, and these also can be posed deflected if you wish, as can the rudder, which is also made of two parts and glued to the moulded-in fin.

 

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The landing gear is a little contrary in that it adds retraction jacks for the struts and inner bay doors first, which are also fitted at this time, with a scrap diagram showing the fine placement of the jack within the bay.  The main wheels are each made from two halves with moulded-in hubs, and these are fixed to the axles at the bottom of the struts, with a separate scissor-link and captive bay door on each one, then they mate with the bays on a transverse pivot point, linking to the retraction jacks installed earlier.  The model is finished off by adding the clear wingtip lights, gear-down indicator stalks on the wing tops, radio antenna on the fuselage spine, and the propeller assembly, which is made from the moulded-together blades plus front and rear spinner, then the very tip of the 37mm cannon’s barrel, which will need drilling out if you would like a hollow muzzle.

 

 

Markings

There are four markings options on the decal sheet, with four pages of profiles giving concise locations for the decals and letters showing the colours in reference to a table on the front page that gives names and codes in ICM, Revell and Tamiya brands of paint.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • 3rd Fighter Corps, Kursk Area, 1943
  • 149th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, 2nd Ukrainian Front, Summer 1944
  • 53rd Fighter Aviation Regiment, 1st Ukrainian Front, Summer 1944
  • 513th Fighter Aviation Regiment, 2nd Ukrainian Front, 1945

 

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Decals are by ICM’s usual partner, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  A decal for the instrument panel can be found in the top left of the sheet, with just the dials and white lines defining the sections of the panel, allowing the paint to show through from below.

 

 

Conclusion

A welcome new tooling of this impressive Soviet fighter that should please many a large-scale modeller, with plenty of detail to be had from a relatively simple construction.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd.

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Review sample courtesy of

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Posted (edited)

That looks very nice, Mike! Nice description of it with only one slight error - the secondary gun was a UBS 50-calibre machine gun, not a 20-mm cannon.

 

Best Regards,

 

Jason

Edited by Learstang
Minor change.
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