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Eduard 1/72 scale Lavochkin La-7

Kit: No. 7064
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Eduard, Obrnice 170, 43521 Obrnice, Czech Republic, 420-47-611-8259,
Price: $14.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 64 parts, decals, masks for canopy and wheels
Pros: Easy to assemble, lots of decal options
Cons: Poor fit of wing, no radio deck, no seat harness
One of the best Soviet fighters of World War II was the nimble Lavochkin La-7. It was an improvement over the earlier La-5, with better aerodynamics, a new lighter fuselage, and increased firepower.

Eduard's kit of the three-gun La-7 has optional parts for the two-gun version, and both open and closed canopies. Also included are Eduard's Express Masks for the canopies and wheels and a decal sheet with markings for two WWII fighters as well as post-war Soviet and Czech aircraft. Eight pages of instructions and four color-and-markings diagrams guide the builder.

The cockpit has average detail, but the seat has no harness and the radio deck behind the pilot is absent. I fashioned one from sheet styrene to fill the void.

The opening in the fuselage bottom is a bit small for the wing assembly. Careful sanding and test-fitting took care of this problem. The exhaust pipes (parts No. A24) are hard to align through the small openings in the cowl.

Building the prop was a little finicky, as each blade root fits into an unkeyed hole in the spinner. I had to align them by eye and establish the correct pitch.

The main landing gear inner doors have no actuators, but the rest of the landing gear parts are well detailed. You have a choice of main-gear wheels: ones with separate hubs (for easy painting) or one-piece moldings.

I painted my model with Gunze Aqueous colors. The masks for the canopy were too stiff and lifted before I could paint the frames. You might want to use the precut masks as templates and cut new ones from more flexible tape or frisket. I chose the markings of Lt. Col. V.F. Golubyev's aircraft. The decals went down fine on a glossy surface. The national markings for the sides of the fuselage were off register in my sample. I touched up with a little red paint to cover the white.

The model scales close to the dimensions in Squadron/Signal's La-5/7 in Action. You'll encounter a few minor challenges with this kit, but a little effort results in a handsome addition to a 1/72 scale WWII collection.

- Tom Foti


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