ICM Yak-9, 1:72 Scale

Kit No.: 003
Overall Rating: [1-100] 50

Contents:
The ICM Yak-9 kit contains 20 injection-molded parts on two main sprues. Two complete fuselages are provided, one for the early pattern Yak-9 (-9, -9D, and some -9Rs and -Bs) and the later fuselage with the rearward-positioned cockpit for the Yak-9T, -M, -K, -DD, -B, -R, etc. Two clear canopy sets are provided for either fuselage type, along with a large set of decals for fully ten color schemes.

Detail:
The kit features both recessed and raised panel line detail, the latter occurring mostly on the wings and stabilizers. Surface detail on the fuselage is good, with the rivets on the metal paneled areas being very good. The fabric representation over the rear fuselage is slightly over-executed, but well-positioned and correct in appearance. The wings feature raised detail lines for the fuel access panel and inspection plates; these, however, are easily replaced by re-scribing or drawing in by pencil. The fabric areas on the control surfaces are correct in framing, but somewhat over-dramatic in execution.  The rudder is nicely separate, and similar to the other fabric areas in appearance.

However, the kitís planform accuracy are not outstanding when examining modern line drawings. The wings sweep back far too much, and the tips are thusly too pointed. The fuselage is too narrow and low, both. The over-all impression is of an anemic Yak-9. Cockpit detail is rather somewhat sparse, with only limited sidewall detail and virtually no cockpit accessories. Even the radio is missing from the rear shelf, and much detail will have to be added to make this cockpit stand up to inspection. The clear canopy parts are thick, but appear to be very clear, and respond well to a coat of Future floor wax. A replacement vacuform canopy set will be needed to represent an open cockpit, however.
 

Construction:
The fit of most kit parts is actually pretty fair, but with two major problem areas. The most significant problem occurs at the joint between the wing and fuselage underside. A huge and ugly step can result here if caution is not used in construction; in fact, the preferred method is probably to attach the wing bottom to the fuselage, then the wing upper halves to it. This positioning often results in the second difficulty, that involving the gap between the wing roots and fuselage. Careful dry-fitting will overcome this problem, but some attention is needed here. Also, a major seam can result along the wing underside where the upper and lower wing halves join at the flaps; again dry-fitting will usually resolve the worst gaps here.
    The kitís radiator is in need of some improvement, and is not entirely satisfactory. I cut the unit in half and discarded the rear portion altogether. I then fashioned a new rear section from plastic card and paper, sanded to the correct shape. Also, considerable care is require to ensure that the radiator is positioned correctly, as there are scant indicator lines on the aircraft fuselage.
     In most other respects the kit builds up quite normally, with putty required on most seams in small quantities. The ICM plastic is medium hard and delightful to work with, being easy to cut and sand yet it is not overly soft.

Finish & Markings:
The decal sheet is excellent, and ten [10] schemes are provided with the instructions, which are very well executed and detailed. All of the schemes appear to be accurate and well depicted, with the exception of "White 14" (427 IAP) which is missing the camera apertures present on a Yak-9R, and Grudzhe's "Za Brata Shota" (scheme no.1) which is incorrect altogether. The painting reference guide is very handy and most of the color citations are basically correct, the interior color selection being the only obvious problem here (the listing is for grey, which is incorrect).  However, the plastic does have one major negative feature in that it tends to be somewhat Ďoilyí in consistency, and a good primer is thoroughly recommended for all surfaces.

Comments:
Overall I was very satisfied with the ICM Yak-9 when it first arrived, but the introduction of the Dakoplast kit has placed this model well into its shadow.  The accuracy of the kit is disappointing, though you do have options for the alternate fuselage. The fit and finish are perhaps not up to Hasegawa standards, but this kit builds up nicely despite that. The ICM Yak-9 is interesting, and has claim to being the first proper kit of this aircraft, but I would not hesitate to purchase the Dakoplast instead.

 Note that Encore has released two separate kits using the exact same ICM mold and parts breakdown.  The Encore offerings include separate finish and markings options per kit, one having the decals and schemes for the earlier Yak-9 variants, while the other kit addresses the later Yak-9s.