Yakovlev’s fighters formed the spine of the Soviet fighter air force – VVS during the Great Patriotic War. The first of the series was the Yak-1, introduced into the armament of the Air Force in 1940 under the designation I-26. An improved variant, Yak-1b, began to be delivered to units at the end of 1942. Besides the VVS units, the type was used in combat also by the German Luftwaffe. At the beginning of 1943, the Germans captured two Yak´s-1b and immediately began using them for reconnaissance and diversionary actions. The Germans acquired another machine on May 11, 1943, when Capt. Shkomplektov from the 148th IAP landed at the German-controlled airport Anapa after a navigation error. It was a White 2, the plane of the commander of the 148th IAP Cpt. Leonid Smirnov. The machine was almost immediately involved in actions against its former owners, most likely with the original red star insignia. The whole history of the machine, including fates of Cpt. Smirnov and Cpt. Shkomplektov can be found here and for those who know Russian, also here.
I was so fascinated by the story of the Cpt. Smirnov´s machine, that I decided to build a scaled copy of it.
In the case of the Yak-1b in 1/72 scale, there is a pretty decent choice, the ArmaHobby, Brengun kit and for specialists, a resin kit by Armory from Ukraine. And I don’t count the antiquated ZTS Mikro ☺ After previous experience with PZL.7a and PZL.11c kits, I chose Arma Hobby here. It may sound exaggerated, but Arma Hobby’s Yak-1b is a great kit. Detailed surface, sharp engraving, perfectly fitting parts, top decals, and attractive camouflages. The basic construction was completed in one weekend. Everything fitted perfectly. Putty was almost not needed, only for mistakes made by my own awkwardness. I decided to slightly improve the model with the dashboard and wing fuel gauges from Yahu Models. I also replaced barrels of the weapons and the pitot’s tube with brass tubes. On the propeller cone, I made the teeth of the auxiliary starting. I added the u/c hydraulic hoses made of lead wires, reinforcements to the bulletproof glass behind the pilot’s head, and drilled the exhausts. After equipping the interior with a dashboard from Yahu Models, I decided to open the cabin so that it could be seen ☺. I made the sliding part of the cover from acetate foil and thinned the fixed part of the cabin cover. Finally, I added a rearview mirror, chassis extension indicators, and a sight glass. The color choice was clear, White 2 Cpt. Smirnov in camouflage used by VVS from 1941 to 1943 in a combination of colors AMT-4, AMT-6 and AMT-7. For the AMT-4 I used a green Gunze C303 with a drop of yellow C113. For the black AMT-6 I used black Tamiya XF-1. For the lower surfaces from AMT-7 I mixed up Gunze C323 and C115 in a 1/1 ratio. This was followed by the application of decals and a light patina of the surface. I enjoyed building the model a lot and I am sure I will add other models to Smirnov’s Yak in the future.
Thanks to David Henyk for the photos.