Kit No. 72011
Decals: Two versions – one for the Soviet Air Force; one for the Czech Air Force
Comments: Engraved panel lines, complete resin cockpit, vacuform canopy; decals by Propagteam
During the autumn of 1946, the Yakovlev OKB (Design Bureau) initiated a relatively modest re-design of the Yak-15 which was initially referred to as the Yak-15U – Uluchshennyi (improved). The prototype, flown early in 1947, differed from its predecessor essentially in having a nose wheel rather than tail wheel undercarriage. Owing to the position of the engine, it was physically impossible to retract the nose wheel completely, and it was therefore partly enclosed by a fixed fairing. Introduction of a nose wheel demanded transfer of the main undercarriage members from the forward to the rear wing spar and dictated considerable structural redesign and a reduction in fuel tank capacity in the wings. To compensate for the latter, a jettisonable 300-litre tank was added beneath each wing tip.
Redesignated Yak-17 (NATO code name: Feather), this fighter was re-stressed throughout and, in series form, was fitted with a redesigned vertical tail and an RD-10A engine rated at 1000kg. Armament remained two 23mm NS-23 cannon. Production of the Yak-17 followed on from the Yak-15 in late 1947, and continued for a year, a total of 430 being built, including a proportion of tandem two-seat Yak-17UTI conversion trainers. The Yak-17UTI began flight testing in April 1948, and about 150 were eventually built, 20 of these being exported to Poland and several to China. One Yak-17 fighter was delivered to Czechoslovakia for evaluation, where it received the designation S 100, and three were supplied to Poland. Poland acquired manufacturing licences in 1950 for both the Yak-17 and its RD-10A turbojet, which were to be built at Mielec and Rzeszow, respectively. The Polish program was terminated in the winter of 1950-51 before any aircraft had been built as the Yak-17 had been overtaken by more effective fighters, but 30 RD-10 A engines were completed at Rzeszow. The Yak-17 and Yak-17UTI were phased out by the VVS in 1951 and 1953 respectively, and the latter from the Polish air arm by 1955.
Wingspan: 30 ft. 2 in. / 9.20 meters
Length: 29 ft. 10 in. / 8.78 meters
Maximum speed: 466 mph / 750 km/h
Cruising speed: 373 mph / 600 km/h
Range: 446 miles
Rate of climb: 2,362 ft/minute / 12 meters/second
Service ceiling: 41,820 ft. / 12,750 meters
Powerplant: Klimov RD-10 turbojet of 2,000 lbs. thrust
Armament: Two 23mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 cannon (60 rounds each)
Special Hobby’s Yak-17 is injection molded in gray plastic and consists of 34 parts, including 7 resin cockpit components and one vacuform canopy. There is a single sprue for the plastic parts and 4 resin blocks for the cockpit parts, including a highly detailed pilot’s seat and instrument panel. In addition, there are resin parts for the cockpit sidewalls and floor, as well as a gunsight and a detailed control stick.
There are finely engraved panel lines throughout the airframe, and care will have to be taken with the wing tip tanks when removing them from the sprue, as the trailing edges are not well formed where they connect to the sprue and will have to be sanded to obtain the proper shape. Overall the kit is rather basic but for the resin parts; the turbofan for the intake is rather simple, and the two 23mm nose cannon are not represented by separate parts, but rather partial fairings which will have to be drilled out with a pin vise. The kit features boxed in wheel wells and engraved detail on the interior of the landing gear doors.
Decals are by Propagteam and are of very good quality and perfectly in register. Markings are provided for two aircraft, one with the Soviet VVS, white 45; the second is for yellow 30, for an aircraft of the Czechoslovakian Air Force.
Although first released by Special Hobby in 1998, this kit remains the best injected molded example of a Yak-17. It is an impressive take on this early Soviet fighter, even factoring in the few drawbacks of limited run kits. An unusual subject, highly recommended.
- The Virtual Aircraft Museum – www.aviastar.org