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The Fighting Trainer

Building ICMs Yak-7A in 1:48

by Peter Gunti


When I bought the Yak-7 kit of ICM I expected it to be strongly based on the same brand's Yak-9 Kits. I had serious doubts about the feasibility of such a derivative. Once again, my pessimism was unfounded, as the kit is fundamentally different in most respects, thereby avoiding the duplication of earlier mistakes and providing improved detail. Basically the box is worth its money with the exception of one part. The single piece cockpit-transparency has overdimensioned frames in the forward section that can ruin the appearance of the entire model. Fortunately Falcon have properly identified this shortcoming and produced an alternative part. Don't build the kit without it!

Assembling is straightforward and I built it almost straight from the box. The fit of the parts is good except for the engine cover that needed a bit of filling/sanding. A detailed engine is provided in the kit for those of you who like some hardcore superdetail. Since other variations of the kit are featuring two-seat aircraft, the rear fuselage is molded with sliding rails for the rear cockpit. This has to be removed for single-seaters. I added some cockpit detail and, lacking proper documentation on the real thing, based the details on the Yak-1 rather than the Yak-9. (Historically, the 1 and the 7 are closer relatives.) The oil-cooler outlet is molded flat and has to be opened at the rear. The two air-scoops at the wing root have to be opened as well. This is real easy if you do it before the wings are assembled. Don't forget to add the gear-pins on the top of the wings. A landing light has to be added in the wing root, the bulky transparency is, again, best replaced with a piece of flat sheet. The exhaust pipes are too long and should be shortened considerably.

Using this site as a reference (and Federal Standard samples), I mixed the colors from Tamiya acrylics. The decals came with the Kit. I chose # 7 "Komsomol Kusbassa" because I found a good picture of the original in an old Finnish publication titled Red Stars, Volume 1. The picture clearly shows a large circular panel left unpainted right in front of the windshield. This feature is not mentioned in the otherwise accurate painting instructions. The propeller-blades are finished in natural metal Alclad instead of the flat black recommended by the instructions. This is another detail I believe to have recognized from the photograph but I am not really sure about this one. An oval hole in the engine cover could be a shell chute. Only one in two aircraft had it. The fuselage stars are slightly undersize. I ignored this minor flaw, as it is only a matter 1-2 millimeters. The appearance is still ok. There are of course a fair number of aftermarket products for the Yak-7. As these were unavailable to me at the time of building, I had to do without. With hindsight, I would have liked to use some nice photoetched parts to add more detail.

Conclusion

ICM has done a good job to represent this elegant member of the Yak family. If you replace the transparencies, you can build an accurate model with much less effort than is needed for their 48th scale Yak-9.