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LaGG-3
late version - 66 series
 

Vector, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Vector VRK 48-004 - LaGG-3 late version - 66 series
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 58 parts in grey-green coloured resin; 1 clear vacform part; printed acetate sheet (instruments); compound wheels; markings for four aircraft.
Price: USD $91.00 plus postage and handling ($5.50 in the USA, $7.50 elsewhere) available online from Buffie's Best website
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Beautifully detailed; excellent surface features including raised reinforcement strips, restrained fabric texture and crisply engraved panel lines where appropriate; separate control surfaces; perfectly cast; minimal preparation of resin parts; simple parts breakdown; excellent fit; includes instrument dials on printed sheet; three nice marking options.
Disadvantages: A second (emergency) vacform canopy might have been nice.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com

 

FirstLook

 

The LaGG-3 was born of the urgent requirement to build a fighter from non-essential materials such as wood. Within a remarkably short period, the design team of Lavochkin, Gorbunov, and Goudkov (hence the LaGG acronym) delivered a prototype which was immediately ordered into production.

The first LaGG-3s to enter service suffered from being overweight and underpowered, poor manufacturing standards and slow climb performance. Its pilots were also endangered by a deadly high stall speed. The first versions of the LaGG-3 were inferior to the Messerschmitt Bf 109 F in every aspect of dogfighting except in the horizontal plane, and even then the Bf 109 could simply break off combat and climb to safety. The LaGG was so mistrusted that its pilots dubbed it the "lakirovanny garantirovanny grob ("guaranteed varnished coffin").

Despite these shortcomings, the LaGG-3 showed promise thanks to its very heavy armament and robust survivability. Even after being shot to pieces, a LaGG could often limp home to its base.

Later versions of the LaGG-3 were far superior machines with more more powerful engines, leading edge slats (eliminating the high stall speed), lighter weight and overall performance superior to a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G. Later still, the airframe was further streamlined with measures including retractable tail wheel, and stripped of additional weight.

Vector has chosen one of these late versions, the LaGG-3 66 series, as the first kit in their 1/48 scale LaGG family.

The kit comprises 58 parts in grey-green coloured resin; 1 clear vacform part; printed acetate sheet (instruments);  and markings for three aircraft.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The resin is perfectly cast and beautifully detailed. It is amongst the most impressive casting that I have seen.

Being a largely wooden aircraft, surface detail is minimal but it is subtle and appropriate where present. The recessed rivet detail on the engine cowl is incredibly fine. Fabric detail on control surfaces is convincingly restrained.

The larger parts (wings and fuselage) are supplied almost ready to use, with no casting blocks or strips to remove. There are a couple of raised circles on the mating surfaces of the fuselage halves that will only take a few minutes to remove. A few swipes of the fuselage halves against some medium grade abrasive paper, and these major parts will be ready to assemble.

Lovely, deep sidewall detail is cast onto the insides of the fuselage halves.

The wing is supplied as a single part with the wheel well detail cast in place. The ailerons, elevators and rudder are all provided separately and may be posed either neutral or deflected as desired.

A separate fuselage floor with structural detail is supplied, as is a very nice pilot's seat with the harness cast in place. The instrument panel is resin too, with a separate sheet supplied with printed acetate instruments.

Construction will be very straightforward, and test-fitting my sample suggests that there will be few, if any, gaps or steps when the main parts are assembled. Once the cockpit is painted and installed, construction should really fly. In fact, I have already prepared and assembled most of the cockpit over the course of a couple of hours this afternoon.

 

 

Only a single vacform canopy is supplied, which always makes me a little nervous. This canopy is well presented though, being very clear and thin with well-defined frames. The rear quarter windows are a DIY affair - you will have to measure and cut the pieces yourself..

Vector includes markings for three aircraft, all in the late-war two-tone grey upper surfaces. Decals are in register and fairly crisply printed.

Instructions are supplied on a single sheet with a parts layout and construction diagrams. Considering the simplicity of parts breakdown, they are adequate.
 

 

Conclusion

 

Resin casting technology has reached a level of sophistication in 2006 that has seen some very ambitious full kits hitting the marketplace. In the best of these releases, cleanup of parts before assembly is easier, the main parts are thinner and less prone to warpage, and detail is world-class.

Vector's 1/48 scale LaGG-3 meets this high standard. It is, in my opinion, even better than Vector's excellent predecessors, the La-5 and La-5F, thanks to the absence of casting strips and the improved appearance of the resin.

I suppose comparisons with South Front's recent 1/48 scale LaGG-3 early version (4th series) are inevitable, even if they are somewhat moot. It is apples versus oranges. The Vector kit depicts a very different variant, occupies a vastly superior detail universe and will be much, much easier and faster to build. The only round that the South Front wins is cost, at around a third of the retail price of the resin Vector kit. So, the decision is one of philosophy - price versus quality, detail and ease of construction.

Myself? I like apples and oranges. I will happily build both - but I will build the Vector kit more happily!

If you are a modeller with limited experience, but you have dabbled with resin accessories and are considering your first full-resin kit, Vector's 1/48 scale LaGG-3 will be an ideal choice.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Buffie's Best for the review sample


Review and Images Copyright 2006 by Brett Green
Page Created 08 December, 2006
Last updated 21 February, 2007

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