Kit No. 721157
Decals: Two versions – both for pre-production versions of the respective Russian and Italian aircraft
Comments: Engraved panel lines; basic cockpit; one-piece canopy; extensive flash will require clean-up; surface defects will require sanding and smoothing
The Yakovlev Yak-130 (NATO reporting name: Mitten) is a subsonic two-seat advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft jointly developed by Yakovlev Design Bureau of the former Soviet Union, and Aermacchi of Italy. It was specifically designed to replace the Czech-built Warsaw Pact jet trainers which by the 1990’s the Russian Air Force had relied upon for the previous three decades — the Aero L-29 Delphin and L-39 Albatros. Development began in 1991, and the first prototype design was completed by September 1993. That same year, Yakovlev entered into an agreement with the Italian firm Aermacchi for a joint venture on the project, with the new designation Yak/AEM-130. The Yak-130 version was to be offered for the Russian market and the M-346 version for the Italian market.
The maiden flight occurred on April 26, 1996 at the Gromov Flight Research Institute at Zhukovsky, a major testing and design facility for the Russian aerospace industry located 25 miles southeast of Moscow. In 2005, Yakovlev won a Russian government contract for the new trainer, beating out the MiG-AT, and in 2009 the first planes entered service with the Russian Air Force. As an advanced trainer, the Yak-130 can emulate several fourth generation fighters as well as the fifth-generation Sukhoi T-50. It can also perform light-attack and reconnaissance duties, carrying a combat load of 3,000 kg (6,613 lbs).
According to U.S. defense analysts, the new trainer’s introduction has profound implications for the Russian air force’s tactical capabilities; it is an indicator of reforms to the entire pilot training process. The first new jet trainer to enter service in Russia in 50 years, the Yak-130 is also the first domestically produced jet combat trainer for the Russian Air force, which has relied on the Czech-built Aero L-trainers since the early 1960’s. The introduction of the Yak-130 is reportedly part of an effort to close the gap between these older jet trainers and the Russian Air Force’s advanced front-line fighters such as the Sukhoi Su-27 and MiG-29. The service intends to buy at least 72 Yak-130’s, enough to equip four training regiments.
Amodel’s Yak-130 is injection molded in grey and consists of 91 parts, including a one-piece clear canopy. This kit hails from the Ukraine, and for all the unique appeal of the subject, the difference in quality is immediately noticeable. The plastic is somewhat soft. Virtually every part bears at least some flash, and there are scratches, striations, and small pimples on the larger parts that will require sanding and possible re-surfacing in some areas. The canopy also bears striations that may be difficult to conceal. The kit has engraved panel lines, some of which will require clean-up or reinforcement with an X-acto blade. There are two small sinkholes on the port side of the fuselage just below the tail that will need concealing with putty and sanding.
The cockpit consists of a staggered floor for the tandem seats, the seats, which have separate headrests, rudder pedals and control sticks for the student and instructor stations. Intake trunking with turbine blade faces provide realistic detail, and hopefully will pose no major fit problems within what is a very sleek, aerodynamic-looking two-piece fuselage consisting of top and bottom halves. Options are provided for two sets of wings, one with upward curved wingtips as depicted in the box art (the early Yak-130D) and one without (the late version of the -130D).
The landing gear are relatively simple, with injector pin marks in both wheels, again requiring a small amount of filler. Markings are provided for two pre-production versions of the Yak-130, one Russian and one Italian, but both bearing an Aeromacchi logo on the tail, confirming the Yak-Aeromacchi joint venture (the box art features the Russian version). The decals appear to be thin but are disappointingly flat in their finish, and look like they will require careful attention in terms of pre- and post- application coats of clear lacquer. The instructions include a three-view drawing of both versions, that will assist with both painting and decal placement.
An interesting subject of a post-Cold War trainer and joint venture by Russian and Italian aerospace firms. While it is crude in some respects, with a bit of extra effort it can be built into a first-class model. The biggest challenges may be refinishing the visible external surfaces, applying the decals, and compensating for the defects in the canopy.
- “Yak-130 delivery goes hand in hand with Russian training overhaul,” March 4, 2010, www.aviationnews.eu