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In-Box Review
Lavochkin La-5
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Originally published on:

Zvezda have followed up their excellent 1:48 scale La-5FN with a kit of its real-life "razorback" predecessor, the La-5.

The kit is well presented in a sturdy conventional box. The clear sprue is bagged separately from the main parts and the decals are protected under the instructions. I was a little worried when I reviewed the La-5F that some of the more delicate parts might be overstressed or prone to damage in transit as they arrived damaged; whatever happened that time, everything was perfectly intact with the new version. The kit comprises:

141 x grey styrene parts
9 x clear styrene parts
Decals for 3 x colour schemes

Although Zvezda aren't counted among the "major league" manufacturers, this is anything but a short-run kit. The parts are very crisply high-pressure moulded and feature delicate surface details that would put many of the "big boys" to shame. With a largely wooden airframe, the La-5 doesn't have much by way of panel lines, but those that there are are lightly engraved on the kit and backed up with really subtle riveting on the metal areas. The fabric covered control surfaces are also nicely represented. I found a couple of small sink marks at the wing roots, but very little by way of flash.

Construction is basically unchanged from the first release, with a highly detailed interior, including an engine / nose guns bay that can be displayed with the cowls removed. A test fit is very encouraging; the parts do need to be aligned with a little care, but despite the added complexity needed to accommodate the interior sub-assemblies, the fit is actually pretty neat.

Modelling the La-5 is much more involved than simply replacing the rear fuselage with a "razorback", and Zvezda seem to have tackled all the points highlighted in "Lovočkin La-5" by Miloš Veštšík and Jiří Vraný (MBI, 2006). So, along with the new fuselage halves and accompanying canopy, there are new cowling side panels with different-style latches, a top panel and front cowl with the earlier supercharger intake, different exhausts, and fresh wing root panels.

While the interior is pretty much unchanged, it's really nice to see that the one major weak point of the first kit has been addressed; the instrument panels have been completely redesigned with much better bezel details. In fact, blank versions are also included, should you wish to use the decal panels provided. The best of all worlds is to use a punch and die to add the decal dials to the moulded bezels.

Along with the razorback canopy comes a new windscreen. It's the type introduced in the light of combat experience with an optically flat centre panel. This, along with the absence of a port wing landing lamp, places the kit as representing the 9th production series or later.

Instructions & Decals
The assembly diagrams are clearly drawn and do a good job of depicting the quite complex assembly. There are a number of sub-assemblies involved and it's worth taking a moment or two to get a clear idea of what goes where. Model Master paint matches are keyed to details at each stage and seem to tie in with the MBI book and Erick Pilawskii's "Soviet Air Force Fighter Colours 1941-1945" (Classic Colours, 2003), but I'll use WEM's excellent VVS Colourcoat enamels for my build.

3 colour schemes are featured:

1. La-5 "White 60", 3rd IAK, May 1943
2. La-5 "White 23" flown by Lt. Patoka, 240th IAP, August 1942 (note: Steffen Arntd has suggested that this a/c could be the mount of Alexander Michailovitsh Lukyanov)
3. La-5 "White 04", flown by V.M. Dmitriev, 4th IAP, summer 1943.

The decals appear to be printed by Begemot, and are a distinct improvement over previous sheets I've seen; the register is very good and these also have a silky sheen with a very clear carrier film. I'll certainly be happy to give them an outing on the kit.

I've just begun building Zvezda's earlier La-5FN for a UK magazine and it's proving very enjoyable. The new kit looks equally good, if not even better with the improved instrument panels and decals. The complexity provides a little extra challenge, but the overall good design makes the kit suitable for all modellers of average ability. In my opinion, it represents exceptional value for money for the level of detail included and is another "must" from Zvezda for VVS enthusiasts. Highly recommended.

I bought my La-5 at Model Hobbies who offer a very useful discount over standard UK prices.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Well moulded and highly detailed. Good quality decals.
Lows: A little complex for beginners.
Verdict: Zvezda's La-5 is a great kit for anyone with a little modelling experience, even better than its predecessor, and excellent value for money.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 4803
  Suggested Retail: Ł13.49 at Model Hobbies
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jun 02, 2009

About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Thanks Steffen I'll add a note about scheme #2 to the Review tonight. All the best Rowan
JUN 02, 2009 - 09:50 PM
Hi Rowan well, I am not sure what this is all about, so it would be nice someone with better kyrilic knowledge than me could have a short look at that article. The slogan reads "Baumantsy (no idea what that could mean .. sounds somehow like the German name Baumann) of the Hero Lukyanov" could well be "From the Baumann's to Hero Lukyanow" ... you see there is some guessing involved. .. BTW the name in the instructions should read "Patok" (IMO --- could not find such a pilot though). So better double check! all the best Steffen
JUN 02, 2009 - 10:32 PM
Hi again Steffen Thanks for the extra info. I'll nip the "a" off Potaka. All the best Rowan
JUN 03, 2009 - 08:39 AM
First of all I should to tell, that it is really great kit. Probably "Zvezda" is not included into the first league of manufacturers of plastic kits, but with this (and some previous as well) release they have left many of elite choking in their exhaust. The only issue is not correct stabilizers and rudders which corresponds to late series La-5F and La-5FN (BTW I've made the same mistake in my Vector La-5). They should be like this: Concerning "Baumantsy". Such 3 planes (numbers 22, 23 and 24) have been built on the means collected by inhabitants of Bauman area of Moscow (area of Moscow where the state technical university named by N.E.Baumann is located, by the way I teach at this university), in memory of HSU Lukyanov. The commander of this zveno was lt. Patoka (was lost by this plane in August 1942 at Stalingrad). Feature of the La-5 from "Patoka zveno" was round windshield and landing light like on LaGG-3 (unfortunately there is no such windshield in a kit, but it is possible to use a Falcon canopy for LaGG-3). Lt. Patoka in his La-5: Sergey.
JUN 03, 2009 - 09:56 AM
Hi Sergey Many thanks for the tail plane references - I think MBI have missed the differences too. Not being able to read cyrillic, I'm at a total disadvantage on the Patok/Patoka issue - would there be an "a" in English (I see Dmitriev seems to end in an "a" in the Russian text in the instructions)? All the best Rowan
JUN 03, 2009 - 10:21 AM
hello Sergey Many thanks for the additional info and the translation. I have a question about the caption of the picture you posted. I would translate: "commander of a fighter flight named Lukyanov (Patoka) in the aircraft". I read it in a way that the two names both refer to the flight which was named after these .. so that was obviously wrong and Patoka refers to the subject of the sentence, "commander" which in this case has to be written with the a at the end .. correct? Thanks a lot .. my russian is very basic and very rusty, so I appologize for making basic errors. A 2nd question (off topic). We once talked about the wrong spinner form in the AccMin Il-2 kit and you sent me a pic of some masters you did. i tried to get them, but I could not find them. I also tried through Aerospezial who contacted NeOmega, but obviously to no avail ... can you tell me where to get these parts? also how far is your P-61 canopy .. I really need to get one of those! Again many thanks! all the best Steffen
JUN 03, 2009 - 10:30 AM
Yes, it should be "Patoka". "commander of a fighter flight (named Lukyanov) Patoka in the aircraft" "Commander" refer to Patoka, "named Lukyanov" refer to flight (zveno). No, no, no there were not my masters. Correction set was made by Scale Bureau and casted by NeOmega. I think I can find some for you. Contact me offboard. Next week, if everything will be OK. If I only knew how difficult it would be, I would never start this project. It will be pricey enough set and I am not assured, that it will hold on long enough in my catalogue. Sergey.
JUN 03, 2009 - 09:27 PM
Thanks a lot Sergey!! Much appreciated! I sent you a PM as i could not find your email address in my folders. all the best Steffen
JUN 03, 2009 - 10:54 PM
fine kit, but actually it`s very familiar to La-5FN kit which was released several months before. The model is quite nice, in addition Zvezda has only 2 models in 1/48 scale to the point here is my 1/48 Zvezda La-5FN
JUL 22, 2009 - 06:23 AM

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