MAQ-7237 1/72 Yakovlev Yak-3 Soviet WW2 fighter model kit
Yakovlev Yak-3 was a continuation of the long line of fighters designed by A.S.Yakovlev, which started with the Yak-1, first built in 1940 on the eve of the Great Patriotic War. Incorporating all Yak-1's best combat tested features Yak-1 and adding a number of new ones, designers created a fighter plane that arguably became the most popular wartime fighter one among Soviet pilots.
Small weight which largely ensured high flying qualities of Yak-3 was one of its main merits (it was approximately 300 kilograms lighter than Yak-1). Combined with the same engine power this gave a better power-to-weight ratio, and combined with the smaller wing area resulted in the increase of speed and improved maneuverability.
A meticulous review of the construction of the aircraft helped in making it lighter. Sometimes suggested solutions contradicted traditional views and at the same time were strikingly simple. For instance, the designers made the engine bearing frame as a non-detachable part of the fuselage. This contradicted the rules of technological breakdown of the aircraft but provided gains in weight. Another significant gain was achieved by replacing the wooden wing spars with metal ones.
Another concern for designers was the improvement of aerodynamic forms of the aircraft. All protruding parts, which increased the air drag, were eliminated or refined. Even the water and oil radiator intakes were installed in such a way that they barely stepped out of the the aircraft outline. The tail wheel was made retractable. As a result, they managed to build an ultimate, simple and beautiful looking aircraft. In addition, the Yak-3 was very easy to fly, which was also an important factor for a mass frontline aircraft.
Flight tests proved that the concept incorporated in the design was correct and the Yak-3 was put into mass production in 1943. As Yak-3 construction was rather close to the Yak-1 that was still produced at the time in large numbers, the mass production was organized without decrease in numbers of completed fighters.
First encounters of Soviet pilots flying Yak-3 with Messerschmitt Bf-109s and Focke-Wulf Fw-190s showed superiority of new Soviet fighters. In combat with the lightest German fighter - Bf-109, Yak-3 normally managed to get on its tail after one vertical turn or after 2 or 3 horizontal turns. Focke-Wulf Fw-190 being even heavier was losing to Yak even worse.
The Yak-3 was also flown by the French of Normandie-Niemen regiment who fought shoulder to shoulder with Soviet airmen against Nazi Germany. Yak-3 collected most flattering accounts from French pilots which is a good evidence of high performance of the aircraft.
Series production of Yak-3 continued until 1946. 4500 planes were produced.
Single-seater frontline fighter Yakovlev Yak-3 was a monoplane with retractable landing gear. V-shaped, 12 cylinder, water cooled VK-105PF engine of 1250hp rotated a three-blade changing pitch VISh-105SV propeller. The fuselage was a welded framework of steel pipes skinned by duraluminum in front and plywood in the tail and tailplane area. Engine frame was made integral to the fuselage. A round vision canopy had the sliding middle part that was jetissonable in emergency. The wing was a two-part one with plywood skin. Two 120 liter fuel tanks were located between the wing main spars. In the middle part of the wings a small emergency tank was installed. All three tanks had rubber protection to avoid losing fuel through bullet holes. Wings were equipped with landing flaps. The tail fin and stabilizers were no-load design. The fin and stabilizers were made of wood and covered with plywood. The controls were made of duraluminum and covered with fabric. Ailerons had the same structure as rudders.
The landing gear was fully retractable. Main undercarriage legs had telescopic pneumo/oleo shock absorbers. They were retracted into the wells towards the main axis of the aircraft. The landing gear had covers. The tail wheel was retracted into fuselage in the direction opposite to flight direction and also had covers. Special rods protruding over the top surface of the wings signaled about the position of the undercarriage.
The cockpit had a radio transmitter and receiver, gun sight and oxygen apparatus installed, apart from the usual pilot and engine gauges, control stick and rudder pedals. Steel armored back of the pilot's seat and back armored glass protected the pilot from the gun fire and shell splinters.
Maquette 1/72 Yakovlev Yak-3 Soviet WW2 fighter model kit. Pic.1
Maquette 1/72 Yakovlev Yak-3 Soviet WW2 fighter model kit. Pic.2