To order or inquire e-m@il us anytime!

| Photo Album 5 | Available kits | Unicraft Home page | Yak EG main page |

1/72 Yakovlev Yak EG
1st place winner!
model review/photos by Antony Morgan

When the reworked Unicraft Yak model hit my workbench, I eagerly pushed all of my other projects aside. This was my first Unicraft model, and it depicts a subject not available from any other manufacturer. What I found inside the box was certainly worth the price, but it is definitely a kit for experienced modellers.

The parts for the kit come in a single plastic baggie, heat-sealed to compartmentalize the components into small groups. The components are made of high-quality caramel-colored resin, and there is a single vacuform canopy. A fine web of resin flash surrounds many of the parts, but most of this can be cut or snapped away without trouble. There is one A4 sheets providing assembly instructions, 3-view drawings, and photos of the real aircraft.

Preparation is the name of the game when building this kit, as small amounts of time applied early on will save a great deal of frustration later. First of all, the parts need to be carefully separated from their pouring stubs. This is best done with a razor saw, as the resin is quite brittle. Most of the parts also have a fine ridge of flash where the mould edges met that needs sanding away - this is generally akin to working the edges of a vac-form. (Remember to wear your filter mask, as resin dust is harmful.) The cockpit down-view window openings need to be cleared of thin sheets of flash, and the interior surfaces of the cockpit area display a profusion of bubbles, so the builder needs to come up with a suitable method of smoothing them over.
Construction begins with the fuselage halves. There are no interior parts for the cockpit, and the only reference I know of for the cockpit layout comes as a drawing on the instruction sheet. I installed a pair of seats and one set of flight controls scrounged from the spares box. I also added a floor and a cockpit rear bulkhead from plastic sheet. I drilled holes into the fuselage halves at the indicated points to accept the main gear strut-work and the engine exhaust pipes. I joined the fuselage halves with a combination of CA glue and 5-minute epoxy; the CA for strength, and the epoxy because there were some small gaps that required filling. Once the fuselage halves were set, and the joints dressed down, I added the tailpiece of the fuselage with thick CA cement.

The next task was to work up the rotor system. The kit supplied rotor blades are nice, as they are not too thick and have the correct plan-form, but the mounting points are at the center-chord line, and this is incorrect. Instead of the kit parts I used a set of shortened and reshaped KA-25 “Hormone” rotor blades from the Airfix kit. The “Yak” kit provides parts for both the upper and lower rotorheads, but these are little more than T-shaped cylinders of resin. From the illustrations provided in the kit it is obvious that the real Yak had complex, fully articulated rotorheads, so I dove into the spares box and fished out an assortment of metal tubes and wire bits. Using the rotorhead design of the Kamov helicopters as a reference, I constructed a more detailed (but not absolutely authentic) set of rotorheads. I decided not to make the rotors fully moveable, and fixed the angle of the rotors at 60 degrees to each other, hoping to make the model appear a bit more life-like.

Next I turned to building up the undercarriage. All of the struts for the main gear must be fabricated, as only the main gear wheels are supplied in the kit. I used small-diameter brass wire because it solders easily and will support the model’s weight better than plastic stock. Thanks to the 3-view drawings supplied with the kit I was able to fabricate a set of main gear legs in very little time. The V-shaped bracing arms were bent to the correct angles first, then the uprights were soldered on. The wheels were attached to the uprights with CA glue last, so they could be aligned to each other and the fuselage. The detail of the kit nose wheel was a bit soft, so I replaced it with a plastic one from the spares box.

Installation of the canopy was fairly straightforward; after careful trimming and dry-fitting, I attached it to the fuselage with a combination of 5-minute epoxy and PVA glue. The top rear edge of the canopy stood proud of the fuselage, so I used a spot of epoxy to hold it down, then secured the remainder with PVA. I made the down-view windows and car-style door panels from clear .005 Evergreen sheet.
For painting, I followed the example of the real aircraft, which photos show was bland unmarked airframe of an indeterminate grey-ish color. I painted it in a mix of grey and aluminum, using the new Tamiya spray cans. The rotor blades were painted Model Master RLM 70 Schwartzgrun on both upper and lower surfaces, and the rotorheads were painted with various metallic enamels. No decals were applied. I kept the weathering to a minimum, just a wash to bring out the panel lines, and a touch of pastel dust to simulate exhaust staining.
Overall, I found this kit to be immensely satisfying. While it does require a measure of extra work to come up with the finer details, it’s small size keeps things from getting out of hand. I’m sure there are easier resin kits to build, but this one draws a lot of attention for its uniquity. I heartily recommend Unicraft kits to anyone with a taste for exotic aircraft.

To order or inquire e-mail us anytime!.

| Photo Album 5 | Available kits | Unicraft Home page | Yak EG main page |