Among the recent additions to Hobby Boss's range of Easy Assembly 1/72 scale kits is a neat little La-7. As with the other kits in the series, the La-7 arrives with the parts held in a distinctive black plastic tray. Aimed at newcomers and younger modellers, construction could hardly be simpler, with the kit comprising:
27 x grey styrene parts
1 x clear canopy
A metal propeller shaft
Decals for 2 x colour schemes
The Easy Assembly kits seem to have their roots in pre-painted display models, so they are designed to be built with as few parts as possible and the minimum of glueing and assembly time - all of which also makes them ideal beginners' construction kits. At the heart of this is a very unusual approach to the main airframe parts. In this case, there is a one-piece hollow fuselage top and sides, which clips firmly to an integral wing/fuselage bottom, again moulded as a single piece. The fit is good and the joint at the wing root is cleverly hidden. The moulds necessary to produce these parts must be quite complex and it's surprising just how much detail has been included. Inevitably, there's some down-side for the sake of simple assembly - here the cowl rings don't extend to the underside and the wing's trailing edge is rather thick (although, to be fair, some other kits in the range have excellent, thin trailing edges). The La-7 includes optional 2- or 3-gun noses and exterior detail is a mixture of engraved panel lines, some crisp raised details and a rather heavy fabric effect for the control surfaces.
As you'd expect with such a simple kit, interior detail is very basic with just a floor and seat, there not even being a control column. The instrument panel is blank and moulded integrally with the fuselage. On the plus side, the undercarriage has delicate legs and doors with some interior detail. The mainwheels have some neat hub detail, but exaggerated tyre treads. The tailwheel plugs into a neat little bay with the doors moulded open.
The propeller is cleverly designed with a metal shaft to allow it to rotate and the whole unit can be added after the main painting is finished.
The canopy a little thick, but very clear and has well defined frames. A neat touch for beginners is that it has large location tabs which mean it can be clipped in place with no risk of clouding it with styrene cement. The downside is that these tabs cause a little optical distortion.
The kit includes a clear set of assembly instruction (although experienced modellers will scarcely need them, there being so few parts to deal with) which also include a few spot colour notes for Gunze Sangyo paints. The rear page of the instructions is a full colour painting and decal guide for the following schemes:
1. "White 23", Capt. P. Ya. Golovachev, 9th GFAR.
2. "White 27", Kozhedub 176, GFAR.
The captions are reversed, compared with the illustrations, but the decals included seem to be good quality - thin and glossy with minimal carrier film and printed in excellent register.
Hobby Boss's La-7 is an ideal kit for newcomers or youngsters, as the assembly will be quick and easy, resulting in a colourful and attractive model. As such it makes a perfect introduction to aircraft modelling. Experienced modellers could add a lot more detail to make it the basis for a little gem of a kit or, alternatively, just treat it as a cheap fun build to get the creative juices flowing.
Highs: Cheap, well moulded and very easy to assemble.Lows: Some simplified detail in places.Verdict: An excellent choice for beginners or youngsters - but it still shouldn't be dismissed as a
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...