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Special Hobby 1/32 Yak3 Normandie Nieman Soviet Fighter Kit

Special Hobby 1/32 Yak3 Normandie Nieman Soviet Fighter Kit

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$76.99 $96.99

In 1941, the Germans invaded Russia in Operation Barbarossa and the Luftwaffe significantly outclassed Soviet air power. Attempts at parity emerged in the Yak-1 and I-30 designs, but only the MiG-3 was a comparable match to the likes of the Bf 109 and Fw 190. In 1943, Yakovlev Design Bureau proposed the Yak-1M variant that eventually became the Yak-3. It utilized metal and wood in its construction. It was not radically dissimilar to the Yak-1 airframe, but this new design was powered by the Klimov M-105PF-2 engine. The new wing was smaller, featured better aerodynamic loading characteristics, and moved the oil radiator intake to the wing roots. A 20 mm ShVAK cannon fired through the hollow-driveshaft nose spinner and twin synchronized 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns were located into in cowl mounts ahead of the cockpit. The features, underscored by the excellent thrust-to-weight ratio of this new fighter, and its promise was made clear during its flight test program. Production began in 1943 and it entered combat in 1944. Among the first units to be equipped with the new plane was the Normandie-Niemen unit - free French pilots flying for the Russians. Production went on beyond the close of the war, and by 1946, nearly 5,000 airplanes had been built.

On one hand, the Yak-3 did have its share of problems. Its exterior plywood surfaces had a nasty habit of delaminating in high-speed dives. Production standards at the Klimov factory were inconsistent, and the engine (undeniably a true asset) was sometimes unreliable. The pneumatic system that operated the actuating landing gear, flaps and brakes were sometimes prone to failure. On the other hand, the Yak-3 gained a reputation as a forgiving aircraft that was easy to fly and maintain. It was employed mostly as a tactical fighter and thrived at altitudes below 13,000 feet, and in that region of the envelope, the Yak-3 could out-climb, out-accelerate, and turn inside the Bf 109 and Fw 190. It began to accumulate an excellent kill-to-loss ratio against Luftwaffe fighters and bombers, and by 1945, the Yak-3 was considered by the Allies and Axis powers alike to be one of the most capable fighters developed during the war.
Special Hobby’s 1:32 scale Yak-3 is an injection molded plastic model kit, and this Hi-Tech version of the kit also contains additional resin and photo-etch metal detail parts along with pre-cut vinyl painting masks.  It contains 114 medium gray parts distributed across five sprues (approximately 20 parts will go unused) along with an additional 8 clear parts on one sprue, 15 resin parts, and one small photoetch metal fret.  Also included in the box is a very well-printed color instruction booklet which guides the builder through the assembly of the Yak-3 over 39 steps. 

Markings are provided for five aircraft:

  • Yak-3, 6 Wht, Normandie-Niemen Regiment, Sterki, Lithuania, Autumn 1944
  • Yak-3, 00 Wht, Normandie-Niemen Regiment, Eastern Prussia, 1944-45
  • Yak-3, 24 Wht, Normandie-Niemen Regiment (Roland de la Poype), Eastern Prussia, 1944-45
  • Yak-3, 22 Wht, Normandie-Niemen Regiment, Le Bourget airfield, France, June 1945
  • Yak-3, 4 Wht, Normandie-Niemen Regiment, Lithuania, Summer 1944

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