Zvezda 1:48 Lavochkin La-5FN single seat Soviet Fighter. Лавочкин ла-5фн. Academy 1:48 Lavochkin La-7 Soviet fighter.

Piloted by Hero of the Soviet Union senior lieutenant George Baevsky of 1st Guard Fighter Regiment. I think I should be awarded Hero of the Soviet Union medal for finishing this one!

This is the Zvezda kit of the legendary La-5FN , the most mass produced of all Soviet fighters. A total of 10,000 La-5s were produced in all modifications!

As it is such an iconic aircraft, I felt I simply had to have one in my collection. However, building this kit turned out to be something of a nightmare! It has a full interior with engine detail but unfortunately, I was not able in the end to display it as I had trouble mating the fuselage halves. I then had problems with the paint job and in the end, I stripped it all off and started all over again!! That’s a first for me! Yes, even I make cock ups from time to time!

Actually even in real life they had problems with the aircraft in development so maybe it carried onto me! During some test flights the wings fell off! At first, sabotage was suspected but later they found out the problem was worn drill bits. The holes for the wing attachments were too small for the bolts and the workers used hefty hammer blows to get them in!

Evolved from the Lagg-3 and was made mainly from wood and with no scarce raw materials

According to a modern Russian source: the front-line pilots liked the plane for its simplicity and reliability. They unanimously noted the high flight performance of the aircraft. The La-5 was one of the most easily controllable fighters, possessed exceptionally high manoeuvrability and had good speed. This aircraft, armed with two synchronous 20-mm ShVAK cannons, allowed Soviet pilots, for the first time since the beginning of the war, to fight on equal terms with any German fighter, changing the tactics of air combat from defensive to active offensive.Источник и подробности: http://www.airaces.ru/plane/voennye-samoljoty-sssr/la-5.html

The ‘FN’ meant it was fuel injected, the ‘F’ standing for ‘forced’.

The air-cooled engine possessed high reliability and survivability – it remained operational in the event of a shot or shrapnel damage even to several of the 14 cylinders. The instrumentation made it possible to pilot the fighter at night and in adverse weather conditions.Источник и подробности: http://www.airaces.ru/plane/voennye-samoljoty-sssr/la-5.html

The canopy was a vac form kit as I lost the original. I had thrown it out by mistake after I had temporarily given up on the model aggghh! These things happen in one’s modelling career, fortunately not too often!
Nevertheless, despite all the trials and tribulations of the build, it’s still a beautiful looking kite and one that fairly represents the original. I shall definitely keep it in my collection if only as a reminder to persevere!
The paint scheme for these Soviet era fighters is really beautiful in my opinion, lovely subtle colours which are hard to match, especially the grey blue tone on top. One can never be too sure about colour shades, as few, if any colour photos of the originals exist, and even then photos are not always the most reliable guides.
A special paint set I acquired for this build. It is designed specially for brush painting but the paints can be airbrushed as well. I was very impressed with the quality. I believe they are made in Poland although the name sounds Japanese! Such is our global economy!
I shall use these paints for all my future Soviet world war two projects!
Alongside the Academy 1:48 La-7, a much simpler build I hasten to add!

The La-7 was produced in 1943 and was a redesigned and improved version of the La-5. It had a radial engine which gave it a power of 1800 h.p. and a speed of 420 m.p.h. It was the most advanced of all the Soviet fighters and Stalin was so impressed with it he awarded Lavochkin a special prize of 100,000 roubles! Buy a few tractors with that!!

Box art. Sometimes boxes can be deceiving! That was the version I wanted to make on my first attempt! Oh well, got there in the end!
Started in mass production in April 1942
When something looks right, it usually is!
Training video!

Airfix 1:48 Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.1

An unusual beast, the Defiant is usually seen as a failure.

This is my version of the Airfix 1:48 Defiant, a fairly recent release. I was having lots of trouble with my airbrush (it happens often!) so decided to brush paint instead for a change. Quite pleased with the result. You just need to thin the paint properly, take your time, and apply several thin coats The camo may not be quite accurate but it is near enough!

Added a fair amount of chipping

The Boulton Paul Defiant was the only ‘turret fighter’ to enter service with the RAF. A contemporary of the only other turret fighter, the Royal Navy’s Blackburn Roc, the Defiant was conceived as a fighter that would be able to enter a bomber stream and cause havoc with the four machine guns bristling from its turret and the turret would also enable it to defend itself from enemy fighters.

However, despite its sleek lines and powerful Merlin engine, the Defiant proved a failure as a daytime interceptor. During the Battle of Britain, the Defiant proved fairly successful at first as enemy pilots were taken by surprise. But the Luftwaffe pilots worked out its weaknesses, especially the lack of forward firing guns which meant head on attacks from enemy fighters were often fatal.

The Defiant was soon relegated to a night fighting role were it fared better, before being eventually re-assigned to Air Sea Rescue and training duties.

Building the kit was not as challenging as I was expecting. However, the instructions are a little confusing with so many options for the turret, open, closed, sideways facing or rear facing, with the back upper panel either raised or lowered! Took some figuring out believe me!

No 264 Squadron, Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, England, July 1940
A surprisingly large aircraft
Behind the turret sits the green canopy cover which can be raised or lowered in real life depending on which way the turret is facing
Box Art
Was left scratching my head at first when I saw all the turret options!
In the end I plumped for the rear firing turret option with closed canopy just to keep things simple!

‘The Boulton Paul Defiant is an aircraft which has suffered from a great deal of misinformation and scorn over the years, though it remains a quirky favourite of many people. It is said to have been a hopeless failure in air combat, yet only thirty-seven Defiants were ever shot down by the Luftwaffe, while recording 152 victories of their own: a healthy ratio. In fact, the Defiant had only had two really bad days in aerial combat: 13 May 1940 when B Flight of No 264 Squadron lost five of its six aircraft over Holland, while claiming five German aircraft shot down, and 19 July 1940 when seven out of nine Defiants of No. 141 Squadron were shot down by superior numbers of Bf.109s, four of which were claimed in return. It was this action more than any other which has dogged the reputation of the aircraft.

I have spoken to many ex-Defiant aircrew over the years, and not one of them had a bad word to say against it. Those who flew with No. 264 Squadron, which undertook all but one of its combats in daylight, saw no reason for the type to be taken off day fighting; they totally believed they could hold their own against the Bf.109s, and the records show that they were right.’

From ‘Boulton Paul Defiant: An Illustrated History’ Amberley Publishing 2019

by Alec Brew