Completed views of Yak-1


Kit Manufacturer




Out of Box (OOB) or Modified

Rating (1-10 10=best)

Yakovlev Yak-1

Accurate Miniatures



Modified markings


Completed YAKThe Yak-1 was one of the first really modern fighters to take to the air in the Soviet Union. The previous I-15/I-16 monoplanes that fought in the Spanish civil war were outclassed by the Messerschmidt fighters the Germans brought in their invasion. The Yak-1 became one of the most important fighters in the Soviet air arsenal. While their armament was considered light and their performance at high altitude left much to be desired, they fought well at low altitude (which was where most air combat took place on the Russian front) and were simple to build in quantity and to maintain.

This aircraft led to the YAK-3, 7, and 9, which served throughout the Second World War and into Korea (in the Yak-9.) It's hard to argue with success.


The kit was a welcome sight, created by the late lamented Accurate Miniatures (and which will probably be re-released by Italeri in the future, as they purchased most of the molds.) It comes on four crisply molded light grey sprues, and one clear sprue. The markings given are only for one aircraft, Lilya Litvyak's. This is the first Accurate Miniatures kit that people found "problems" with - the rear decking supposedly doesn't fit the assembled fuselage halves. (For the record, I didn't find a problem on this issue, and the decking in reality was poorly fitting anyway.) There are no problems in the molds themselves - I hope they stay that way after Italeri's purchase.

Sprue layout


Construction starts with the cockpit. This is a nice, multi-piece assembly with seperate side framing (and consoles that attach to them,) the control panel (with seperThe cockpitate machine gun handles,) a nice seat and backing, control stick, cannon breech and shell chute. This was painted an overall grey-green (RLM02 is said to be a good match) and detail painting done. You have to take some time with this to make sure the firewall (which folds up from the floor) attaches firmly to the side panels. The side panels have a "pin" that fits into the "beam" on he floor (going upward.) Nice touch, and it makes for good alignment. (I also prepainted the decking, fuselage sides, and landing gear bits at this point.)

Fuselage assembly comes next - and it goes together well. I triple-checked the fit of the rear decking because of reported problems... and found none. If the aircraft you're modelling has an antenna, don't forget to clear out the antenna. As far as teh decking, it fit reasonably well. The only real difficulties that came in here was in fitting the various exhaust doors - the fit was *very* tight, I'd suggest doing this quickly...

The wings went together without a hitch. This variant has "crescent" lights that make up part of the wingtip - keep these off until after painting. I did find I had to put in a slight bit of filler between the wing and root. The wings went together somewhat slowly, waiting for the integrated "spar" to dry on the lower wing. This holds in the cockpit, which until then is fit loose in the fuselage. Don't forget to drill out the holes for the rockets and/or fuel tanks, if you want to use them.

At this point, there was quite a bit of tape on the fuselage and wings... The tail was also added at this time. There's a small clear bit in the tail (the rear light,) leave this out (of course) until after painting. Alignment was checked, and this was left to dry. You do have a choice of cutting out and dropping the flaps, but I decided not to do this. They are detailed if you choose to do this, but there's a template you must cut out of sheet plastic to block the wing openings.

While that was drying, I painted the propeller and spinner, and assembled the landing gear. These are nice assemblies... I prepainted them with ModelMaster acryl paints, and slight weathering was added with pastels. These were put aside as well. Once the wings and fuselage were dry, I added the ailerons (left to droop slightly.)

At this point, I glued on the windshield and rear window (there are two choices, all clear or two rear windows - I used the one piece for "something different.") I also tacked on the center canopy, and masked everything off for painting.


I still had some of my Aeromaster paints, as well as Pollyscale and Model Master Acryls. I used Russian Underside Blue (a very bright, light blue) first, then once that dried, masked off the underside (for the cowl, it follows the panel line.) I then painted a Russian green on the topside for the base camoflage color. Once that had set, I used AIrcraft Interior Black for the other camoflage color (it's slightly less "stark" than a full black, being more of a dark grey.) Once all this dried, I unmasked it all and went to the next step.

More assembly!

After all this had dried, it was time to add all the "fiddly bits." I lost the clear wingtip lights at least once, but they finally got on. The engine exhaust stubs were added - though again, one flew off to who-knows-where. (Tip... for these little pieces, try putting them and a cutting board or glass in a plastic bag - I would have, if I'd have thought of it then!) The landing gear and rockets were also added at this point, and allowed to dry. The fuel indicator wells were painted silver on the wings, and the clear covers added.


As I mentioned before, the only markings given in the kit are for Lilya Litvyak's "Yellow 44." This is great... unless you want to build a different aircraft. Looking through Scale Aviation Modeler International, there were other options available for both this and the Yak-1M (cut down "bubbletop" version.) I scavenged a white "7" from another kit to do a representative aircraft of another unit (I believe it was from the Ukraine, but I don't have the profile here to check at the moment.) The decals settle down nicely, but they seem slightly translucent. A little MicroSol and MicroSet were used, but weren't really necessary except at the tail - and that only for insurance.

Once the decals were done, slight weathering with pastels were applied, and the aerial wire was added out of stretched sprue. Chipping of paint was done only on the cowl, as much of the aircraft was wood and fabric. And with that, we were done, pictures were taken, and a contest entered.


If you haven't built this kit and have an interest in WWII Russian aircraft - why haven't you built it? Check on eBay, or wait for Italeri to reissue it.... Reccommended to anyone with a kit or two under their belt.