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AML La-5 Decals

By Ilya Grinberg

A new series of VVS decals came from Czech manufacturer AML.

This time it covers Lavochkin fighter airplanes.

The first set (AML 72 049 for 72nd scale and corresponding AML 48 014 in 48th scale) Soviet Aces in Lavochkin La-5’s covers 4 aircraft, three of which are depicting different machines from Valeriy Chkalov squadron. All depicted aircraft were flown by Heroes of the Soviet Union. Several variants of the inscription are presented in red, silver, and white colors. Numerals are provided in silver and repeated in white.

This is an excellent idea to provide variations for questionable colorations, so that modelers would pick the variant they feel comfortable with. I am not engaging here in the “silver” debate but providing a color choice is especially welcome.

Inscription color for Savitski La-5 (white 60) is given in red with white letters over the red star. Another interpretation of the well-known photograph shows this inscription in white (see Dragons on Bird Wings profile by Terry Higgins). White inscription is also provided and can certainly be used instead of red.

Once again, this excellent set gives us various interpretations of colors, which is quite innovative with decal manufacturers.

Next set (AML 72 038 and its larger variant AML 48 013) Lavochkin La-5 depicts 4 aircraft of this type. Choices here also include Valeri Chkalov squadron machines, one of which is in splotches of winter camouflage, pure white La-5 “red 21” and very attractive shark mouth 04 flown by Dmitriev of 4th GIAP of Baltic Fleet. Unfortunately, abbreviation KBF (Karsnoznamenniy Baltijski Flot – Red Banner Baltic Fleet) was interpreted as Kalininsko-Bryanski Front on the instruction sheet.

In this set silver inscriptions are not repeated in white.

Next two sets AML 72 039/48 015 Lavochkin La-5F and AML 72 050/48 023 Soviet Aces in Lavochkin La-5F’s depict 10 different schemes all flown by Heroes of the Soviet Union.

These two decal sets (in 1/48 scale) are accompanied by excellent polyurethane resin set that provides easy conversion of 1/48 Zvezda La-5FN to La-5F. Conversion includes carburetor intake as well as exhaust stabs and their respective doors.

The Lavochkin series of decals continues with yet two more sets: AML72 048/48 011 Lavochkin La-5FN and AML72052/48 012 Soviet Aces in Lavochkin La-5FN’s.

Each set consists of 4 machines with colorful schemes.

General comment on these sets:

All of them are very well printed, in register, and with bright and saturated colors. The artwork of instruction sheets is excellent and compares to the best decals available. The second and third pages of the instruction sheets include opposite sides of the featured airplanes and their top views.

The fourth page of each set includes recommended colors with references to FS system and suggested paint lines from Gunze Sangyo, Humbrol, and LIFECOLOR.
My only reservation is about silver color in digits and inscriptions and I do not have enough information at this time to prove otherwise. Each modeler should use his or her references to make an educated decision.

Including resin sets with decals is now a trademark of AML and puts them apart from other manufacturers.

For the first time modelers of two most popular scales are getting such a large variety of different marking options for one of the best fighter aircraft of WW2 – Lavochkin La-5, and this is really great news!

Highly recommended. AML should be congratulated for the job well done.

My thanks to AML (Ing. Ladislav Hladik) of The Czech Republic for the review samples.