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Zvezda's 1/48 scale
Yakovlev Yak-3

by Davide Brunone

Yakovlev Yak-3



The Yak-3 was the final outcome of a strenuous research effort made by the USSR in the development of fighter aircrafts during the last years of the war. Light, fast and agile, it could overcome even the last and most advanced German fighters, like the Bf 109 and the Fw 190, in low altitude dogfights.



Zvezda’s kit not only captures the graceful silhouette of the Yak, but also accurately replicates its technological features, such as the retractable tailwheel, the pneumatic mechanism of the main landing gear, the rough texture of wooden and fabric surfaces. The level of detail of the interiors is also impressive considering the scale, with little improvements needed. As the cherry on top, the kit also includes a crisply moulded pilot figure, which can be displayed in a triumphant waving stand or in the classic hands-gripping-the-levers position.



For this build I resorted to the Microdesign dedicated photoetched set for seatbelts, instrument panel, undercarriage covers and other small details. Tyres are from Aires and they are absolutely gorgeous: raised factory markings, crisp treads and a convincing weighted effect. Stabilisers are also from Aires and come with separate trimmer fins.

Assembly is straightforward and parts fitting is overall flawless. Some putty is needed here and there to fill gaps that do not match actual panel lines. Painting was carried out using various mixtures of Tamiya Acrylics (mostly XF-23 for lower surfaces, XF-63 and XF-20 for upper surfaces).
Weathering was carried out with oils and earth pigments.



Decals were scavenged from an Eduard Yak-1b rebox kit because the ones included in the box were too thick, poorly printed and with a lot of excess film.



Another minor issue is the propeller. Zvezda breaks it down into two parts: the tip of the propeller hub, and the lower part of the hub with the three blades moulded as one piece. This results in an unnatural gap between the two parts. Again, I scavenged some spares from the Yak-1b kit… which was a mistake, because the shape of the propeller hub changed dramatically between the two aircrafts. But at least the parts breakdown is correct now and I can sleep soundly at night.

Overall, this is a lovely, easy-to-assemble kit, depicting one of the most graceful birds of World War II.

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2023 by Davide Brunone
Page Created 30 March, 2023
Last Updated 30 March, 2023

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