Yak-3 Soviet fighter. 1:48 Eduard. Советский истребитель Як-3.

Yak-3 flown by Semyon Ivanovich Rogovoi, 64 Guards Fighter Regiment, 2nd Baltic Front, Autumn, 1944. His name is on the side of the fuselage, and it says that the aircraft was funded by the sailors of the Amur Red Fleet.

The Yakovlev Yak-3 (Russian: Я́ковлев Як-3) designed by the engineers of the Yakovlev design bureau was a World War II Soviet fighter aircraft that became operational in 1944. Robust and easy to maintain, it was much liked by pilots and ground crew alike. It was one of the smallest and lightest major combat fighters fielded by any combatant during the war and its high power-to-weight ratio gave it excellent performance making it a formidable dogfighter. It was more than a match for the Messerschmitt 109 F/G variants, and the Focke-Wulf 190, in fact it is said the German pilots tried to avoid it in combat.

In combat, the Yak-3 proved its worth almost immediately as it arrived. It maintained a stellar kill-to-loss ratio over Luftwaffe fighters and held the upper hand in most engagements thanks to its inherent capabilities and powerful armament. The addition of the Klimov VK-107 1,700 horsepower engines upped the ante even further as now the Yak-3 was capable of improved top speeds reaching 450 miles per hour. Marcel Albert, World War II French ace, who flew the Yak-3 in the USSR with the Normandie-Niémen Group, considered it a superior aircraft when compared to the P-51D Mustang and the Supermarine Spitfire. By war’s end, nearly 5,000 Yak-3s in 12 variants would roll off of Soviet assembly lines and into battle against the Luftwaffe. Production continued into 1946 when the era of jet fighters began.

She looks the business! I highlighted the rivet detail and added a bit of exhaust staining as usual. She was armed with two 12,7mm machine guns and had a 20mm cannon in the nose.
A lovely, sleek design. I put her up there with the Spitfire and P-51 Mustang! The instrument panel just visible is a decal.

This was a fairly easy build from the Eduard ‘Weekend’ edition of kits, which are supposed to be cheap and cheerful. I did have a few fit issues with it but nothing too bothersome. I brush painted this one again using my specialist Hataka line of camouflage paints for Russian WW2 aircraft.

I partially damaged the decal with the writing on the starboard side, so out came the trusty 000 fine brush and re-wrote it again with white paint!
The cockpit was fairly basic. The seat belts came as decals. The canopy didn’t quite fit when closed which is why I chose the open option. There is no antennae as it was supposed to fix to the back of the canopy and I didn’t want to risk it!
Alongside the La-5, showing the similarity in size. My Red Air Force is growing!
Box top. The other colourful version was for the famous Normandie-Niemen squadron, flown by French volunteers, in this case Captain Marcel Albert.
Next to a destroyed Me-109
The pilot officers appear to be having a discussion while the ground crew effect repairs.
The man himself Semyon Rogovoi and his aircraft

An interesting incident apparently took place at the end of the war over Yugoslavia in November 1944 between Soviet Yak-3s and American P-38 Lightning fighters, which mistook the Soviet fighters for Germans. As a result of the action, the Americans lost four aircraft, after which the Allies managed to effect a degree of co-operation. American recollections about the outcome of the combat differ somewhat from the Soviet with the American pilots claiming they shot down eight Soviet fighters!

ICM 1:48 I-153 Soviet Biplane fighter ‘Chaika’.Истребитель И-153 “Чайка”.

I-153. Think she looks rather cute even if a little on the tubby side!

This is the ICM kit of the legendary I-153 Soviet fighter, the last and most perfect of the N.N. Polikarpov design bureau biplane fighter family. It had a gull or v-shaped upper wing, hence the nickname ‘Chaika’ or ‘Seagull’, which became its official second name, also retractable chassis and four ShKAS machine guns. It had an M-62 radial engine while later versions had a more powerful M-63.

Actually today most researchers and aircraft connoisseurs do not rate the Chaika very highly, as they consider producing biplanes during 1938-40 a mistake.

After the Spanish Civil war, monoplanes showed their superiority to bi-planes, but they continued to be produced.

To achieve an increase in speed while retaining manoeuvrability was only possible by reducing aerodynamic drag. Therefore, the aircraft was equipped with an upper wing of the ‘seagull’ type.

The maiden flight of the Chaika was in August 1938. During 1939-41, 3,437 I-153s were produced. In the summer of 1941, the Chaika was the basis of Soviet Fighter Aviation together with the I-16. They were used in combat until 1943.

Has a nice radial engine, pity it is hidden by the cowling!
This particular version was part of the Northern Fleet Air Force, Vaenga, 1941
Some of the camouflage options. Was quite attracted to the top one which flew in the battle of Khalkhin-Gol in August, 1939, one of my favourite battles!
The new background-my attempt at being Van Gogh!
Could carry bombs or rockets
Actually a very attractive looking aircraft. Tupolev, the Soviet aircraft designer, said an aircraft should look beautiful and I heartily agree!
The detailed engine-just in case you don’t believe there is one inside!
The set of rigging wires I used for the kit. There are enough braces for another model!
Box art
There is my model! The guy running alongside is saying see if you can catch me!
And this is how a lot ended up! Used en masse at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the I-153 suffered heavy losses and later types were rarely used in combat.

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!

Soviet I-16 fighter. Academy 1/48. Советский истребитель И-16.

The little I-16 on a grassy field somewhere in Western Ukraine in 1941, at least I like to think so!

The short, stubby I-16 occupies a special place in my affections as my Father recalls seeing them at the start of the German invasion of the USSR in June 22, 1941. He said they were referred to simply as ‘istrebitelyi‘, from the Russian word ‘istrebitel‘, which means ‘fighter’. The Soviet pilots nickname of “Ishak” or “Ishachok” (“Donkey” or “Little Donkey”) apparently derived from the designation I-16 which in Russian sounds like ‘ee‘ and ‘shestnadtsat‘ (’16’).

This is what my Father said about these planes in 1941 in his memoir (p.86 3rd ed.):

“Before the war, the Soviets had masses of aircraft and we used to watch the Soviet Istrebiteli or ‘fighters’, as we simply called them in Russian, flying in huge formations of thirty or forty planes. But these stubby little fighters with their open cockpits looked completely obsolete in comparison to the sleek German Messerschmitts and now the Red Air Force had disappeared from the skies, most of its planes having been annihilated on the ground.”

I am not exactly sure but I think this is the Academy kit of the I-16 type 24. It is a very simple, straightforward build out of the box.

It is a shame a lot of the engine detail is not very visible through the shutter openings on the cowl face.

First flown in 1933, the legendary I-16 was one of the first mass produced monoplanes with retractable undercarriage in the world.

Along with the phenomenally successful I-15, it helped secure Polikarpov a place of lasting fame in the annals of Soviet aviation history. It possessed high speed, great agility, high survivability and was easy to maintain at airfields, very often nothing more than a grassy strip on the steppes. It was in mass production from 1934 to 1941 and overall 9,450 I-16s had been built, a colossal number for that era.

The I-16 saw its combat debut in the Spanish Civil war where it was called the Rata (‘Rat’) by the Nationalists and Germans or more affectionately as Mosca (‘Fly’) by the Republicans. It took part in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol against the Japanese (who nicknamed it ‘abu’ or ‘gadfly’), the Winter War and in the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Air regiments armed with I-16s also took part in the campaigns of the RKKA or ‘The Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army (РККА– Рабоче-крестьянская Красная армия) into western Ukraine and western Belarus in September, 1939.

In 1941, perhaps 60% of the Soviet fighter inventory consisted of of I-16s of various types. By the time of the the German invasion, the I-16 was obsolete and even with the maximum speed of 326 mph of the best types it was still 50 mph slower than a Bf 109E and only as fast as a Ju 88 bomber.

However, one I-16 did manage to carry out the first aerial ramming of an enemy plane!

Most of the Red Air force was destroyed on the ground in the first days of the invasion. Paradoxically, the destruction of so many I-16s and other obsolete types paved the way for the Soviets to introduce more advanced aircraft although the I-16 was still produced as a stop-gap fighter.

The I-16 had four 7.62mm machine guns (two synchronized in fuselage and two unsynchronized in wings)
The I-16 had a relatively short landing and take-off distance, which is as well or it would fly off the end of my modelling case!
Under its wings six rocket projectiles, type RS-82. These rocket weapons were successfully employed for the first time against the Japanese at the Battle of Khalkin Gol in Mongolia in 1939.
From the book ‘Encyclopedia of 20th Century Air Warfare ed. Chris Bishop. The caption reads: During a break between sorties, Soviet pilots have a nerve-steadying cigarette and play dominoes. The Polikarpov I-16 is on an airfield in the region of the Khalkhin Gol river in Barga province in July, 1941’.
Also from above book referring to the Battle of Khalkhin Gol or Nomonhan incident

Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 fighter 1/48 scale

The sleek MiG-3 was designed as a high-altitude interceptor. The slogan on the fuselage says ‘For the Party of the Bolsheviks’. This was one of many Soviet types completely unknown in the West in June, 1941.

I cannot recall the manufacturer of this model but hey, it’s a beautiful looking aircraft and that’s all that matters! It’s sleek lines remind me of a thorough bred race horse. I have set it in a typical snow scene as it would have appeared in the spring of 1942. The red and white colours contrast very well.

Mig-3 February 1942.The plane had great speed and could achieve 398 mph (640 km/h) which exceeded that of any fighter in any Western air force at the time and was faster than any Luftwaffe fighter. It was notoriously tricky to fly but it was nevertheless brought into service as its high speed gave it some hope of intercepting the Messerschmitt Bf 109s that were enjoying air superiority over the Eastern Front.
The white winter camouflage shows off the sleek lines well but the MiG-3 suffered from a number of defects above all its poor performance at low altitude where it could not compete with the German Messerschmitt 109s. That is why it was assigned mainly to interior defence of the major cities like Moscow and Leningrad where this did not matter so much.

The typical Russian blue camouflage underneath. Normally the fuselage would have been painted dark green and dark brown.

Although this aircraft was developed by Mikoyan and Gurevich, who were unknown aircraft engineers at the time, it was actually the brain child of N. Polikarpov who for some reason was taken off the project:

” In April 1940, the I-200 high altitude fighter designed by the Mikoyan/Gurevitch EDB made its maiden flight, in which it developed a high speed (up to 650 km/h at 7,000m). In terms of speed at altitudes of over 5,000m the I-200 left all its contemporary rivals far behind.

Series (i.e. mass) production of the new fighter began in January 1941. The first 100 production aircraft made were known as the MiG-1s. A later modification was designated the MiG-3. A total of 3,272 of these fighters were produced until in late December 1942 they were phased out of production because the plants making the AM-35A engines for the MiGs urgently had to switch to the production of the Am-38 engines for the Il-2 attack aircraft (i.e. Stormovik).

The MiG-3 was of little use as a front-line fighter, because at low altitudes it was outperformed by other fighters, and German fighters did not wage air combat at high altitudes. But the MiGs played an important role in the anti-aircraft defence system and, specifically, in defending Moscow against German air raids. Of the many enemy aircraft he shot out of the sky, famous Soviet ace pilot A.I. Pokryshin downed 10 while flying a MiG3.

There is a notion of repair-ability of an aircraft. In this respect the MiG-3 was an outstanding machine, for it remained in service long after production had been discontinued”.

From Russian Aircraft edited by Professor A.G. Bratukhin. Moscow ‘Mashinostroenie’ 1995.

The Mig-3 had several serious drawbacks. The canopy would not open during flight making it impossible for the pilot to bail out in an emergency, the cockpit was poorly ventilated, and worst of all it was difficult to control due to the rear alignment of the plane causing it to go into a tailspin easily from which it was difficult to pull out. This added to the fatigue of the pilot. Paradoxically, the Soviets ended up with far more MiG-3s than pilots who could fly these difficult machines.

Serving in the defence of Moscow under General Voronov’s command, winter-camouflaged MiG-3 fighters parked ready for action. Two of the aircraft in the row retain the dark-green/dark-brown summer camouflage.

The footage on link below has a brief view of the above MiG-3 ‘For the Party of the Bolsheviks’: