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Kitty Hawk Yak-130

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/48 scale aircraft kit with nice resin figures
The Yak-130, Russia’s newest advanced jet trainer and light strike aircraft, is known to  NATO as the “Mitten.”

For a relatively small aircraft, the kit comes in a very big box! This is because Kitty Hawk includes two pairs of standard Russian weapons sprues, as seen in previous releases such as the Su-35. The subject-specific parts count comes in at 228, 18 of which are in clear styrene, two really nice pilot figures in resin, and 24 photo-etched (PE) brass items. However, the weapons set add another 432 parts in gray styrene! 

Three well-printed decal sheets are included, plus another with cockpit-specific items and national roundels for the Bangladeshi marking option, and finally, a sheet with decals for the supplied weapons. 

This kit is somewhat of a mixed bag in that there are some things that are done well, but there are other areas that make you scratch your head. 

Overall, the spirit of the real aircraft is captured nicely! Kitty Hawk has rendered its interesting shape convincingly. 

However, the engineering choices and parts breakdown, on top of the suggested assembly sequence, make this area difficult to build. If the modeler follows the directions for the intakes, there will be problems. I chose to attach the intake lips to the lower fuselage and build backward from there. This resulted in a much easier assembly. 

The cockpit is quite detailed and is accurate. However, the supplied instrument panel decals would be nearly impossible to apply and have them lay down correctly over the multilevel panel surfaces. I cut the individual screens from the decals and applied them separately. 

The big letdown in the cockpit is the seats. The Yak-130 uses Zvezda K-36L seats, lightweight versions of the long-established K-36 series seat. The K-36L seat is also used in the Su-35, so it’s not that unusual. The seats supplied by Kitty Hawk are best described as an approximate version of the K-36DM. Unfortunately, there are no aftermarket alternatives for the K-36L currently.

All of the control surfaces are separate parts and can be mounted in any position desired. Note that to mount the flaps in the raised position, leave out the eyelids (parts C73 and C74) and attach the flap directly to the wing underside. Kitty Hawk did a lovely job of replicating the tire sidewall detail.

Kitty Hawk only provides the option of mounting the counter-measures pods on the wingtips, with no information regarding the use of wingtip missile rails. Similarly, while the idea of supplying the vast array of weapons with this kit seems like a great one, the fact is most of the supplied weapons are not applicable to the Yak-130.
The other common ordnance loaded is the B-8M rocket pod. Unfortunately, these pods aren’t included. 

The color and markings options are certainly interesting — there’s even an aircraft in overall yellow primer. I chose the overall dark green pre-production scheme. This aircraft also carried a prominent nose probe aerial, which is not provided by Kitty Hawk and will need to be scratchbuilt.

The surface detail on the Yak-130 is not as clean as Kitty Hawk’s Su-34 and -35. There are areas where it seems as though the production was rushed, with no input from a modeler. For example, the HUD frame has locating tabs on the bottom of them, which are meant to insert into holes in the cowling. But instead of holes, as shown in the instructions, the cowling has rectangular protrusions which have to be removed. 

The decal sheet provides the large wing-walk outlines in three appropriate colors. In the instructions, they are shown with the yellow set as being correctly handed, but the dark gray and white are both left versions. The decal sheet provides left versions for all three options. I had to cut up the decal and patch it together for the right-side wing-walk.

Ultimately the kit produces a good representation of the real Yak-130, but strange oversights and flaws hurt its quality. It looks great when completed, but the journey can be a challenge.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2019 issue.
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