Kit No.: --
Overall Rating: [1-100] 85
The Dakoplast LaGG-3 Type 66 kit contains 40 injection-molded pieces on two main sprues, and small sprue of clear injected cockpit pieces. The decal sheet provides markings for Yuri Shipov's LaGG-3(Obl.) "White 43" of the 9 IAP, Black Sea Fleet. A 3-page fold-out instruction sheet with scheme details and history is included.
The kit features superb recessed panel line details, the rivet indentations being as delicate and well executed as I have ever seen on any model kit. Surface detail on the fuselage is outstanding, with the rear access panel and inspection covers being particularly fine. The fabric representations on the various control surfaces is very nicely accomplished and looks completely convincing. The kit's planform and shape accuracy is outstanding (see Modelist Konstruktur, 1979), and all panel lines are faithfully represented and correct. There is considerable cockpit detail molded onto the sidewalls, and despite the fact that this solution often leads to somewhat unsatisfactory results, the Dakoplast kit's molded on detail is actually very good, and I suspect that most modelers will find it entirely useable. The clear canopy parts are thick and not entirely satisfactory. A vac replacement would be a good idea here, though be careful to note the kit canopy's framing, as this is in fact quite correct, and most vac replacement units are not.
The kit represents the specific machine flown by Yuri Shipov in early 1944, this being an unusual mid-late series LaGG. Shipov's aircraft was indeed a Series 66 machine, but it was modified at the time of construction to conform to the new LaGG-3(Obl.) standard, which it then became. The Series designation is confusing, in that it implies that all LaGGs of this series were (Obl.) type aircraft, which is incorrect. Modelers should take note of these characteristics in case they opt for a non-kit color scheme.
The kit's major falling down occurs in regards to its fit and construction. The fit of most major pieces is difficult, and unless an extraordinary amount of care is exercised, very considerable and nasty gaps will appear at every seam. The fit of the wing assembly to the fuselage is the is most difficult problem of all, and some work may need to be done here to restore or replace some of the wing root fairing. I recommend being very careful along the wing/fuselage/radiator bath junction not to sand too much-- it's a better idea to deal with the seam after successfully attaching the wing bottom piece to the fuselage that trying to trim it before hand to fit properly. In at least one case I know this resulted in a catastrophic fit problem. Further difficult seams are inevitable around the oil cooler intake and radiator bath housing, so care is needed at all times.
Finish & Markings:
The decal sheet is small and of indifferent quality; replacement decals are virtually a must. The painting reference guide is very handy and the color citations are correct except for the interior color selection, once again (the listing is for “light grey”, which is incorrect). The camouflage scheme for Shipov's "White 43" is at last given correctly as the late-war VVS grey over grey scheme. The kit's plastic is very ‘oily’ in consistency (as one tends to see in kits from E.Europe), and a good primer is absolutely critical for all surfaces.
Were it not for the fit and construction difficulties, the Dako LaGG certainly would have earned a very high score from me. The accuracy and surface detail of the kit are the equal of any plastic model kit anywhere-- absolutely no question. An experienced modeler will be able to produce a kit of IPMS contest-quality straight from the box, such are the outstanding details on this model. Less experienced builders will want to beware the difficult construction problems, but for an accurate LaGG-3(Obl.) there is simply no other substitute for this little gem-in-the-rough. I recommend the kit to any builder with patience, and an interest in a highly accurate LaGG in 1/72 scale.