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Vector 1/48 LaGG-3 “Early” (5-Gun) and “Mid-Series”

By Aleks Šekularac


Here are the two latest kit releases from Russian company Vector. This tandem of all-resin LaGG-3 variants complete the OKB Lavockin family in 1/48 scale.

Not so long ago I reviewed the “Late” version of the Vector’s LaGG, and since these kits have a lot in common, I will now discuss the differences at hand and refer more enthusiastic readers to my previous review here.

The Kit

Having seen all four previous kits from Vector, I can attest that the production quality was progressively increased with each release. First La-5s and La-5Fs established the very high standard we now came to expect as default from Vector, but in retrospect they did have some quirks (simplistic instructions, big casting gates for the main parts, some minute parts missing, and resin with those multicolored swirls in it – not detrimental for the finished model but just looking weird). La-5FN and LaGG-3 “Late” came as second generation kits, and corrected most of the aforementioned disadvantages, and added some further refinements, like the all separate control surfaces. These new LaGG-3s - 3rd generation of kits, as I call them - are another step closer to perfection. Instructions are now more comprehensive, with painting suggestions and color profiles of the featured aircraft, there are almost no casting gates on all major components, and most importantly the casting quality is some of the best I’ve yet seen. Even the new box art looks more appealing to me. The only objections remaining in my inventory are:

  1. One-sided attachment for the tail wheel inside the fuselage (follow the link to aforementioned review of the “Late” type for detailed explanation)

  2. Flimsy kit packaging made of thick paper instead of some stronger cardboard.

So what is the main reason to have three different LaGG-3 kits in resin? Well, it is the significant fuselage variation and some additional changes to the airframe: cowling shape and panels, air inlets and scoops, oil-radiator, armament, as well as vertical stabilizer and spinner modification, removal of the landing light and addition of slats on the “Late” type. Therefore selecting the “Early”, “Mid-Series” and “Late” version was a logical progression, to envelop the LaGG family.

Note that the “Early” kit represents the 5-gun aircraft. According to the "Soviet Air Force Fighter Colours, 1941-45“ book, only the first batch of LaGG-s had this armament arrangement. Later “Early” models had their starboard UBS gun removed in anticipation of the heavier and bulkier cannon to be installed in the centerline position (firing through the spinner). My recommendation is to do your homework and search through available references for aircraft you are interested to model.

In the “Mid-Series” model Vector includes additional parts for the ski-equipped aircraft. I must admit that this is my personal favorite. Many good photographs exist of these “winter-sport” LaGG-s with faded dirty-white camouflage, so this is an excellent subject selection. If I were to wish for more, it would be that the late type “blown” spinner was also included, as several ski-equipped LaGG-s from the photos display this type. Detailed rockets with rails and bombs make up the ordinance package in this kit.

Both “Early” and “Mid-Series“ kits appropriately have provision for the landing light, installed in the port wing leading edge. Detail here is especially good, with separate reflector piece and even the side inner wing structure molded into the light aperture. Transparent cover is also provided, made together with the clear and blemish-free vac-form canopy.

Both boxes contain decals for six airplanes each, most of these very colorful. Featured examples have either the standard Green/Black or the Green/Dark Green base camouflage over the common Light Blue under surfaces, with few exceptions being heavily or completely over-painted with White distemper. Lavish personal inscriptions are included, as are the two variants of the popular “Galchenko’s cat”, in the “Early” LaGG version. Decals are produced by “Begemot” to their usual fine standard.



Only a few years ago the selection of Lavockin kits in 1/48 was quite humble. Those times are now blissfully gone. Companies like South Front and Zvezda announced, or have already on offer the 1/48 La and LaGG fighters in injection plastic. For me however, Vector kits remain by far the best, most detailed, and now all-inclusive family of “Lavockas” in any scale. As with anything holding such quality and refinement, they are not cheap by any measure, but one does know where the money went with these kits.

I can also attest that they build with ease. The taboo of the “full resin kit” is rapidly diminishing with the advances in resin-casting technology and this material is finding its way into greater popularity.

As for Vector, the future looks bright and some BIGGER and even better things are on the horizon. My advice is: get familiar with CA and epoxy glue, and stay tuned…

My earnest thanks go to Sergey for these wonderful kits.

As usual, these and other Vector products can be obtained online from following two vendors