Kit Number: 12003
Overall Rating [1-100]: 92
The Dakoplast Yak-9 kit contains 48 injection-molded pieces on two main sprues, plus a small sprue of 9 clear pieces. The decal sheet provides markings for four schemes: a Yak-9 of the 29 Gv.IAP, August 1944 Karelia; a Yak-9B of the 130 IAD, 3 Belorussian Front; a Yak-9D of the 6 Gv.IAP, Black Sea Fleet, piloted by Snr. Lt. M. I. Grib, Crimea, 1944; and a Yak-9R of the 427 IAP, 2 VA, Western Ukraine, 1944.
The kit options for the -9B and -9R require some "surgery". For the Yak-9B, the rear of the cockpit cutout will have to be enlarged (following molded in "cut lines"). For the Yak-9R, the underneath of the lower wing half will have to have a hole cut out for the -9R camera. The -9B will then have the "bomb shelf" added to the "radio shelf" behind the pilot, while the -9R will need the camera and clear "glaze" added to the lower wing half. The -9B also includes a different rear glass area around the cockpit which sits behind the pilot. This part is a little longer than the other, allowing for the change in the fuselage shape.
Another option not called for in the plans, but which exists anyway, is the ability to cut out and reposition the flaps. On the inside of the lower wing half the flap join lines have been thinned considerably, allowing one to easily cut these out.
The kit features recessed panel line detail, as well as finely molded rivets on the metal paneled areas. The fabric representation on the rear fuselage, as well on the control surfaces is well executed. The rudder is separate, but difficult to glue into any other position but "straight". Cockpit detail is excellent, with the only addition needed being seatbelts. The only "negative" aspect to the cockpit is the rudder pedals. They are molded onto the floor, and do not look right even though the review model kept them as is. The clear parts of the kit are well executed, each part being separate. Unfortunately the kit supplied sliding portion is too thick to fit over the rear glaze.
There is some detail missing from the kit. If you build the Yak-9B bomber version, you must either scribe or draw in the doors underneath the fuselage from where the bombs fell. These are small rectangles, and it's best to study drawings for their proper placement and size. Plus, the access panel behind the fuselage to get to the radio is of a different shape than what is molded on. This access panel for the -9B looks more like the access panel for the later, more aft cockpit versions. Also the antenna post that fits behind the fuselage is of a different size. The one on the -9B appears to be just a very small "post", where the antenna wire attaches direct.
The fit of the model is all around excellent. Besides a few "modeler" flaws (in which the reviewer became happy with the sandpaper) little to no putty was needed except in the area of the lower wing wheel-well-to-fuselage-joint. Those modeler flaws consisted of sanding too much in the area of the sprue attachment points instead of the attachment points themselves.
If you are building the -9B version, and once you have the area of the fuselage cut out as shown in the drawings, dry fit the clear portion of the canopy (part 51) that fits over this area on each half before proceeding any further. It was found on the review model that attention needed to be given in this area to get this clear part to fit correctly. Since the review model's fuselage was glued together - with all cockpit detail added - before this was noticed, a less than favorable fit was achieved. It would be better to fix this area before gluing the cockpit parts in, and the fuselage halves together.
In the cockpit area be sure to follow the instructions closely. There are two smaller drawings showing the placement of the "side shelves": be sure to follow these drawings when placing these parts (part numbers 5 and 6). The main diagram has you mounting them too far aft. Be sure to glue these "side shelves" with the two "cut outs" for the instrument panel positioned exactly where the instrument panel goes.
The review model also needed some attention on the fuselage right around where the bombs mount, since the review model was finished as a Yak-9B. The fit was tight with the bombs added. The review model just needed thinning in the fuselage around the bomb area.
The hole where the control column goes was molded over on the review model. Not a problem to drill out.
Once the cockpit is completely assembled into one fuselage half (in the review model's case, the starboard side) dry fit the two fuselage halves together to check for fit. The only fit problem found on the review model was the cut out in the cockpit floor for the port side, vertical cockpit side wall structure. This needed enlarging to get the best fit possible out of the fuselage. It is best to perform this dry fit before attaching the "side shelves", parts 5 and 6.
Important note : It is important to add the lower wing "half" to the fuselage before gluing on the upper wing "halves". This will ensure an extremely tight fit of all parts with only a little sanding to achieve a flush fit. It is here you need to watch the fit of the wheel well portion to the fuselage. The review model's fit was definitely less than perfect. In fact, the wheel well area is the worst part of the whole model. A lot of attention needs to be given to this area.
Once the lower wing "half" is added and any and all seam fixes have occurred, add the top wing "halves". There were two small "molding dimples" on the upper wing "halves" where the kit was molded to accept the smaller landing gear hydraulic "valves". Fill these in to achieve a smooth finish to the wings.
The horizontal tail proved to be a challenge, since an excellent fit was not achieved with any dry fitting. Once frustration set in, the horizontal tail was added and the seams were dealt with appropriately.
The rudder on the review model was not molded perfectly - having a small "notch" gone from the top where it meets the fuselage - so scrap plastic was added to get this area up to shape.
Both the under fuselage radiator as well as the chin intake needed some attention to achieve a tight fit. Again, detail on these parts is excellent with the grill areas separate from the main "tubs".
The clear parts' fit to the fuselage is less than stellar. Deal with appropriately. Remember to add the gun sight before attaching the windscreen.
When cutting out the landing gear, especially the actuating struts (parts number 37) use extreme caution. One of the review models actuating struts were broke when cutting out. It is best to cut with a very fine saw, and be sure to cut the "flat" side first. This is where the break occurred. There are molding seams in all landing gear parts, so be sure to deal with appropriately.
The majority of the landing gear area is wrong. According to Modelist Konstructor drawings, the separate hydraulics parts that are mounted into the upper wing halves should be positioned differently, and the actuating struts should be glued in a different way. The 'v' should be glue to the end of the separate hydraulic, while the longer end should be glued to non-existent support structure. The entire landing gear well should be "boxed in", a feature missing from the kit.
The spinner's gun is poorly represented with only some molded on lines. To be accurate, the spinner should be drilled out, and some round sprue - or some other item - should be added to represent the gun barrel.
The review kit's propeller assembly was a less than stellar fit, so the mounting peg was cut off, and the back of the spinner plate sanded smooth for an even fit. The propeller was then glued directly onto the fuselage.
The pitot tube was molded poorly and was replaced by round sprue.
Finish and Markings:
All of the schemes appear to be accurate; however be aware that the -9D and -9R schemes will need to be used on a later machine.
The decals themselves are very nice, but also very delicate. Be sure they're soaked well, but don't over-soak. Leave in the water only a few seconds, and the set the decal aside for the water to penetrate all the way through. The decals are very opaque, and for the most part were in register. The only decals not in register were the "ace of hearts" decals for the nose of the Yak-9B bomber version - the review model. Since the reviewer had another Dakoplast Yak-9, that kit had the "ace of hearts" decals in register, and they were used instead.
The decal sheet provides a bunch of stencils; it is felt they give a better "air" to the model, and make it stand out even more.
Since the bomber version was the typical late-war medium grey over blue-grey primer, the decals really set the model apart from the others. Overall it's a very appealing scheme.
Future Builds: For the next Dakoplast Yak-9 built by the reviewer, the following will be accomplished.
Overall this is the best kit the reviewer has built. Yes, a couple of tricky areas, but I have had less "luck" with Hasegawa than I have had with this kit. If you enjoy WW2 VVS aircraft, and especially Yak-9's, this kit is a must. The reviewer thinks that the Dakoplast kit is better than the ISM/ICM/Encore offerings. The Dakoplast kit provides better cockpit detail, an overall better propeller, better fit, and better fabric detail. Plus, the Dakoplast kit's engraved detail is much finer, giving it a more scale appearance.
At this point I would like to commend Dakoplast. This is an excellent kit, and with the "slow start" of the LaGG-3 "series 66", this company has come around 200%. In the reviewer's eyes, Dakoplast is the best model making company for 1998. With their planned releases (a Yak-9T and five versions of the Il-2 Shturmovik, amongst others) will keep Dakoplast on the forefront of model companies. Look out Hasegawa!!
Reviewed by Matt Bittner (mbittner(at)juno.com)