Yak 9k

The finished Yak 9k

ICM Yak-9k boxtop


Kit Manufacturer




Out of Box (OOB) or Modified

Rating (1-10 10=best)








The YAK-9k was an offshoot of the succesful YAK-7 series of aircraft. It was a continuation of the Yakovlev's series of successful fighters (such as the Yak-1, -3, and -7) which came to dominate the Eastern Front against Germany - the YAK-9 becoming one of the most numerous types deployed.

The YAK-9k was deployed starting in 1944. Despite it being a superb fighter, pilots still tended to use their mounts in ground attack roles. The YAK-9k's predecessor, the YAK-9T, mounted a 35mm cannon in the nose and proved itself deadly against ground forces as well as aerial opponents. The -9k upgraded this cannon to a 45mm cannon, which required a longer barrel and the relocation rearward of the cockpit. The only other armament was a fixed 13mm machine gun.

The type was so successful, it continued in production even after the second world war, and was used in early phases of the war in Korea (1950) supporting North Korean forces.

In Box Review

SpruesThe kit itself seems reasonably simple on opening the box. You're presented with three dark green sprues of the main components, one commendably clear sprue with the canopy and rear armored glass included - though it only gives you the choice of a closed canopy, without surgery. Panel lines and fabric detail are well represented, without being overdone. On looking at the wings, you may think someone forgot to do their job, but the tops of the wings are indeed smooth, with fuel cap detail on top and tank bottoms below.

Going through the instructions and looking at the parts, it appears the cockpit may be somewhat 'sparse' - I have no details on the inside of the actual aircraft, but Russian cockpits were normally not all that cluttered. Sidewall detail is represented nicely, though again it seems somewhat sparse (this may be rectified during the build.) You're given the choice of displaying the engine compartment through removable cowl panels. If you take this option, you'll have to come up with some detailing for the engine bay such as wiring and supports - so far, this is the only 'complaint' I have about ICM's kits.

The instructions are clear and concise, and the decal sheet provides appropriate markings for multiple aircraft. The decals are matte finished - while this may seem odd, I've had no problems with them on previous kits such as the YAK-7a. Alternately, you could replace them with aftermarket markings - remember, these were used in Korea, as well as being used by Free French squadrons fighting in the USSR, not to mention Poland and Bulgaria (though I'm not 100% sure of the variant.)

All in all, this looks like a very easy build. I've come to expect decent fit and finish from ICM's kits, and this looks no different. It would make a great companion piece to Accurate Miniatures' IL-2 Sturmoviks and YAK-1 and -1m series.

Build review:

The kit comes in somewhat soft, dark green plastic. There are not all that many pieces to the kit - which was fine with me, as I was building this and the Accurate Miniatures Yak-1 at the same time for a contest at Modeling Madness.

Contrasting the two kits as I built them was interesting. I'll get more build pictures in as I find where I put them. Where the AM kit has a multipiece cockpit, including sidewall detail, the ICM kit is very spartan. A flat panel creates the cockpit floor, with a very basic seat, control stick, and another lever creating cockpit detail. The sidewall detail and side consoles are softly molded into the fuselage sides. These were all painted and given some detail, then set aside to dry. I added the seat harness with thin strips of masking tape.

Construction photo, note empty looking cockpitThe next thing to worry about was the engine. This has the cannon breech molded in, and can be built up if you want the engine cowl sides left off. There's no surrounding detail (or firewall behind it) however, so unless you either don't care or feel like scratchbuilding, you may want to close the cowl. Build the basic engine and blocks, though, as it gives the cannon breech a place to mount and sets it properly in the cockpit, as well as mounting the exhaust stacks in the right place.

While this dried, I worked on fitting the cowl panels to the front fuselage. The bars were trimmed away (they're there mostly to hold shape, as you can't mount the cowl flush with them there) and I started working on the cowl itself. The cowl panels needed quite a bit of trimming on the edges, and thinning from behind, before they fit. Even so, the right hand cowl panel still needed some sanding to fit flush with the rest of the fuselage. These were tacked in place with superglue so as not to lose the alignment, and then regular plastic cement was applied to keep them in place. The ICM plastic reacts nicely to model cement, and stays put.

One of the next steps was joining the fuselage together. The radio shelf (also very light on detail) had a sinkhole filled, then painted and straps painted on the radio. This was put in, as was the engine and instrument panel (no positive location there.) The exhaust stacks fit through the slots in the cowl. The cockpit floor made no sense at first - putting it on top of the locating tabs, as it seemed I was supposed to do, made it not fit. Fitting it underneath them, however, fit well. The whole assembly was put aside and let dry.

I prepainted the wings and wheel wells, and fit them together (leaving off the ailerons.) I then found I had some work fitting them to the fuselage - a bit of trimming and sanding was needed... enough that I broke the alignment of the cowl underside and had to re-glue IT. Once i got a decent fit, I glued it all together and taped it in place.

Suprisingly, at this point, I didn't have much left to do. I painted and assembled the propeller - you need to hollow out the tip a bit more for the cannon on this aircraft. I assembled the landing gear - it's slightly less detailed than the AM version, but quite passable. I drilled out the machine gun and cannon (which gets glued on and holds the propeller) for a bit more realism, and let things dry.

Painting and decals

This kit gives you three options - two two-tone grey and one single color grey scheme... I went for one of the two-tone, with the "winged sword" logo on the cowl. I used Pollyscale and ModelMaster acrylics to paint it. There's a hard demarcation between the blue and greys. They covered the dark green plastic really well, it didn't require very many coats at all.

The decals, as mentioned before, have a matte finish. They go on very easily, however, and snuggle down well. This aircraft doesn't have very many markings, so decalling didn't take very long. Since the aircraft didn't have many panels (esp. on the wings,) setting solution wasn't needed in many places. The places I DID use it, it reacted well to AeroSol.

After everything dried, I did some light weathering around the exhaust and gunports with pastels. It doesn't need much to show up against the grey background.


All in all, it turned out reasonably well. It still needs a bit of work in construction, however. I wouldn't reccommend this to a beginner, but if you've got a few models under your belt and you like the subject, give it a try.