Lavochkin La-5 by Zvezda

1/48 scale
Kit No. 4803
Cost: $22.00
Decals: 3 versions – all Soviet Air Force during WWII
Comments: New tooling, engraved panel lines, complete engine and gun bay with internal structural frame

History

The LaGG-3 Soviet fighter employed in the early stages of World War II had unsatisfactory flight performance due to its in-line watercooled engine. In the late 1941, development began on a new type with a powerful M-82 air-cooled radial engine. The airframe was significantly altered by grafting the nose of a Sukhoi Su-2, which used the Shvetsov M-82 radial engine. onto the fuselage of an LaGG-3. On its first flight, the new prototype had outstanding flight characteristics. It was dubbed the La-5 and was the beginning of the superb series of Lavochkin fighters. After flying the La-5, Air Force test pilots declared it superior to the Yak-7, and intensive flight tests began in April 1942.

After only a few weeks, the design was modified further, cutting down the rear fuselage to give the pilot better visibility. In July 1942, Stalin ordered the La-5 into production. While still inferior to the best German fighters at high altitude, the La-5 proved to be every bit their match closer to the ground, where it had comparable speed and acceleration to the Bf 109 and Fw 190. With most of the air combat over the Eastern Front occuring at altitudes below 5,000 meters (16,404 ft), the La-5 was very much in its element. Its rate of roll was excellent.  Many Eastern Bloc countries continued to use this successful fighter after the war.

The Kit

Zvezda’s La-5 is molded in grey and comes on three sprues consisting of 142 injection molded parts. All sprues are loose in the tray once you lift the box top. The kit has engraved panel lines and flush rivet detail on the ailerons, as well as molded, engraved radial tread on the tires of the detailed landing gear. The cockpit is highly detailed, with a floor board, control stick, rudder pedals, and individually mounted controls for the cockpit sidewalls with molded detail on the upper instrument panel, and a decal for the lower panel.

 

The wing consists of five pieces minus the ailerons, and will require seam hiding on the upper surfaces. The ailerons and leading edge wing slats are separately mounted, as are the rudder and elevators. The double radial engine consists of 28 parts, including the engine mount and at least 14 individually mounted hoses. There is a frame assembly for the cockpit which also protects the La-5’s gun bay and to which the engine mount is attached. There is a five-piece engine cowling and an option to have the landing gear down or retracted.

Conclusion

This is a very detailed kit of the first Lavochkin fighter with truly outstanding performance. Highly recommended.

References

  • Zvezda instructions
  • Wikipedia.org

 

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