Linden Hill Imports

 

Yakovlev UT-1 from Neomega

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Background

The UT-1 (Uchebno-Trenirovochnyi - Educational Trainer) was the service designation of the single-seat AIR-14 that had been designed in 1936 by Yakovlev, assisted by Sinel'shchikov, Lis and Sinitsyn as a fun machine that was stressed to a load factor of 10 for unlimited aerobatics.

The fuselage was a welded steel truss with fabric covering and the one-piece wing had plywood skinning forward of the rear spar and fabric aft.

The engine was a five-cylinder M-11Ye of 150hp and a total of 1,241 UT-1s were built for the fighter pilot schools of the VVS.

An armed version was produced called the Moskit (Mosquito) with various armaments including two 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns mounted above the wings and four RS-82 rockets underwing.

 

The Model

Neomega's model of the UT-1 comprises just 35 resin parts, two rubber tyres, a length of wire, a piece of clear acetate and a small decal sheet cut from a much larger sheet by the Rostov-on-Don firm of Travers.

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The whole lot arrives in a stout cardboard box about the size of a packet of cigars with the words "Very Limited Series". Included is a leaflet containing a three-view drawing and a list of all the parts in Cyrillic.

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For those who don't speak Russian (I don't but I do possess a Russian/English dictionary), the parts listed on the leaflet are as follows :-

1. Fuselage.

2. Wing.

3. Engine Cowling.

4. Wheel Spats.

5. Wheels.

6. Tailplanes.

7. Tailskid

8. Engine Cylinders.

9. Propeller

10. Exhaust.

11. Control Column.

12. Pilots Seat.

13. Instrument Panel.

14. Cabin Sidewall Right.

15. Cabin Sidewall Left.

16. Venturi Tube.

17. Undercarriage Supports.

18. Tail Unit Supports.

19. Cabin Door/Flap.

20. Windscreen.

 

There is no instruction sheet as such - but the identification and location of the parts is self-evident and I had no trouble at all assembling the kit. Nor is there any indication of colour schemes etc, which is a pity, because despite my extensive collection of reference material, there is not a lot out there on Yak UT-1 colour schemes. Issue 1/98 of the Russian aviation magazine Mir Aviatsiya -  has a short article (In Russian) about the combat use of the UT-1b during WWII. Included in the article are black-and-white photographs (with English captions) and a magnificent pull-out set of plans in 1:48 scale showing a standard  UT-1 and an armed UT-1b. There is a photo of  'my' machine from the Yak OKB museum - but in the photograph it sports a bigger fin. There is also a large colour centrespread of a camouflaged UT-1b.

 

The Parts

Having been slightly critical of the kit's presentation, I have to report that the resin castings are some of the very best I have ever seen. The mouldings are crisp and contain a staggering amount of detail. The fabric effect on the fuselage is exquisite and the plywood and fabric wings are captured to perfection. The five cylinders of the M-11 radial engine are moulded separately and have to be seen to be believed - the cooling fins are all there, as are the pushrods and valve rockers. Some of the resin parts are so tiny that is almost impossible to handle them - the side mounted Venturi for example is about 2mm long - but perfectly cast ! The fuselage is one-piece, but hollow and the wing is a single casting that incorporates the cockpit floor with stringer detail and rudder pedals. I could rave on for hours about the resin moulding - it is that good, but on to the construction..

 

Assembly

The first job is to carefully remove the casting flash from the top of the fuselage/fin and clean up the mould line - a few deft swipes from a piece of your favourite sanding medium is all that is needed. The cockpit area is flashed over, but again this is easily removed. The kit is designed with the side access flaps open and these are supplied as separate items, so there is plenty to see inside the cockpit. Neomega supply port and starboard sidewalls that fit into a recesses in the fuselage. These sidewalls have moulded detail that can be highlighted. A resin bucket seat is included complete with moulded-on seat belt detail. The seat is mounted on a pouring plinth with two distinct 'steps'. Lacking instructions, I removed the lower step, leaving the seat with a vestige of a base - figuring it would not be mounted directly to the cockpit floor, but this caused me problems later on. A beautifully moulded control column is included and there is an instrument panel supplied that needs to be removed from its casting plinth (by the way - do you know what a plinth is ?? It's the brother of a plintheth !! - Sorry !)

I don't know what the interior colour of a UT-1 is, so I played safe and chose medium grey for the sidewalls, floor and instrument panel, with a matt duralumin bucket seat and a black control column. The instrument dials were painted black and the seat belts were painted tan to represent the (presumably) canvas of the originals. The seat and control column were cemented to the wing centre section  - making sure that the seat didn't foul the rear cockit bulkhead (with moulded padding - painted black).

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The side walls had the detail picked out and were cemented to the insides of the fuselage and when all was dry, the wing was offered up to the fuselage.

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It was here that I hit the problem mentioned above. The seat was fouling the insides of the fuselage. The interior was now narrower due to the inserts and I had either mounted the seat too high - although it looked about right - or Neomega did not take this into account when making their seat.

To get the seat to fit into the interior, I had to gently sand away the seat sides until it slid in without any fuss - not a great problem, but be aware ! The fit of the wing to the fuselage would put Tamiya to shame - it fit perfectly. Indeed this is one of the few kits - resin or injection moulded - where I did not have to resort to the filler on any part. It was a pleasure to build.

The tailplanes are moulded with a little flash on their leading edges which needs to be carefully removed - go easy as the resin is rather brittle. The taiplanes incorporate tiny locating pins that fit perfectly into tiny holes in the sides of the fin. No filler was needed here - but there is a slight mis-match between the tailplane roots and the fuselage moulding. Nothing to get worked up about though.

The wheel spats were removed from their casting blocks and the mating faces cleaned up. They were cemented to flats on the wing underside - there are no locating pins or holes, but they aren't needed. The spats are hollow to take the wheels and even have tiny little hinges moulded on them where the side panels open to gain access to the wheel hub on the real thing. Again a tribute to whoever made the masters. Neomega supply a length of wire - presumably to be used to make the struts that connect the wheel spats to the wing roots and the tailplane struts. I used short lengths of Contrail strut - which have an airfoil section - in place of the wire resulting in a much better appearance.. Note :- The UK company Contrail made packs of airfoil struts in varying thicknesses - they are now sold by Aeroclub I think.

A tiny faring for the tailskid fits into a recess under the rear fuselage and this completes the main assembly. I added a short length of sprue to this fairing to reproduce the tailskid.

The engine cover is a separate part that has to be removed from its casting plinth. It has recesses for the five engine cylinders, but two of these had a small bubble inside that would have prevented the cylinders from seating properly, so they were quickly removed using a drill bit. This was the only flaw I could find in the whole kit - a tribute to the resin casters art. The engine cover was then attached to the front fuselage - making sure that the hole for the exhaust is at the bottom -

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Painting

Like I said, photographic references to the UT-1 are a bit thin on the ground - and Neomega don't help at all in this area. It seems that a common colour scheme was cream with red cheatlines and scalloped shapes on the wings and wheel spats. During a visit to Moscow last August, our party visited the Yakovlev OKB museum and sitting there amongst all the other exhibits was a smart all-red UT-1.

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(Photo 9 courtesy of David Hames - http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/5634/ ) .

At the time of our visit I didn't take the time to take some close-ups of the interior or engine - a missed opportunity that I will try to put right on my next visit. I did take a picture of the whole machine and it is this that I based my model's colour scheme on. The museum's UT-1 is, in fact, an armed version, with troughs for two machine guns in the upper fuselage decking, but I claim artistic licence. The only relief from the all-red colour is the white striping on the rudder.

After giving the model a wash in warm soapy water to remove mould release agent and sticky finger marks, I masked off the cockpit and sprayed the whole model using an aerosol can of Halfords Acrylic car spray - Mars Red to be precise. Nothing could have been easier, the aerosol produces a smooth gloss finish that really highlights the delicate moulding detail.

The rudder striping was made from strips of white decal film, cut to size over a scale drawing of the aircraft. This helped to get the size and shape of each stripe correct - they do not extend to the full chord of the rudder, but terminate just before the edge, leaving a red trailing edge.

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The Yak OKB machine has black outline-only stars on the fuselage sides and these are supplied on the kits decal sheet, together with two red stars and an instrument panel decal that was not used. The outline stars are slightly too big, but they were used anyway. Take care when applying them as they are very thin and have a tendency to curl up if handled too much.

 

Finishing

The propeller was removed from its casting block, cleaned up and painted all over red with matt black on the rear of each blade. The five individual engine cylinders were painted whilst still attached to their casting blocks for ease of handling. Humbrol Polished Steel was applied first and when dry it was buffed up to give a shiny steel effect. Thinned black paint was then washed into the cylinders to bring out the fin detail and the pushrods and rockers were picked out in silver. I can honestly say that I have seen far worse detail on some 1:48 scale radials - never mind these tiny 1:72 scale examples - they really are exquisite.

Once dry, the cylinders pots were carefully removed from the plinth and - after a little bit of judicious sanding - were popped into place into their respective recesses in the engine cover.

The only other items to be added are the wheels and this is where the kit fell down at the last hurdle. The wheel hubs are cast separately and are meant to be push-fitted through the rubber tyres. Because of the way they are moulded, one face of the wheel hub is attached to its casting block and the wheel rims are extremely delicate. I took the greatest care possible, but I still damaged one of the rims whilst removing it from its block. Even if I hadn't been so ham-fisted, I would have still been left with a good rim, but one hub face would have been bereft of detail where is was sawn off. However, the hubs were painted red and the good one was push fitted into its tyre, the other was inserted and the 'bad' face was covered with a tiny disc of etched brass of exactly the correct diameter that I found on a MiG-21 detail set !

The wheels fit into the recesses in the wheel spats, but they go in too far and there is no axle to hold them. I made them protrude further by adding a small 'block' of plastic card onto the top of each wheel and then cementing them in place within the spat.

 

Exhaust

Neomega supply a boomerang shaped exhaust port that fits underneath the engine, but it lacks the twin pipes that extend rearwrads from each end. These are clearly shown on the kits drawing and were easily made from short lengths of rod, pared down to a cone shape with a hole drilled into the ends. They were attached to the central 'arm' with superglue and the whole assembly was glued in place under the engine.

 

 

Final Details

The only things left to add are the tiny little venturi tube to the starboard side of the fuselage, the cockpit entry flaps and the windscreen. Neomega supply a small piece of clear acetate, but I thought it a bit too thick and used a thinner piece of my own. A template for the windscreen is on the instruction sheet, so it was simply cut to shape, folded and attached to the fuselage in front of the cockpit.

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The entry flaps are moulded separately, so they were removed from their casting blocks, cleaned up, painted red and attached in the open position - they hinge at their bottom edge, just like the entrance flap on a Spitfire. Take care when removing them from their blocks - one of mine broke a corner off and had to be repaired, but that was the only breakage I had in the whole kit. Finally, I added bracing wire on each tailplane half, made from a length of stretched sprue and attached between the fin and tailplane and a pitot head to the starboard wing leading edge.

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There is a walkway moulded on the port upper wingroot. I assume that this would be made of some sort of non-slip material, but I left it painted red until I can confirm this.

The photo below shows the model on the page of Mir Aviatsiya with the picture of the real aircraft - note the larger fin.

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The photo below shows the model on the centrespread from M.A.

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The photo below shows the model on the reduced plans from M.A.

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And finally,  the finished model - note that the star is too big compared to the real a/c.

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This shows how tiny the a/c is next to a Su-33 Flanker

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Summary

As you may have gathered, I found this little kit a delight to build and it gave me a great deal of pleasure that was disproportionate to its size. It is not perfect - a decent instruction sheet with some colour notes would not go amiss - and it needs some better decals. How about some of those nice scalloped trim lines ? But it is a limited run kit aimed at the enthusiast and I guess we are a little spoiled here in the west - our fellow modellers in Russia have been turning these things out for years with only the minimum of accessories - no proper paints, glue or decals, not to mention such luxuries as etched brass ! They are catching up fast - as is evident from this little beauty. It is also a little pricey - but quality costs.

 

Ken Duffey 

April 1999

P.S.

You can visit the Yakovlev Museum online here

(From Linden Hill: you can order this kit for $32 plus shipping from us. Please visit our Neomega page for more details)

 

 

 

 

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