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ICM 1/32 scale Yakovlev Yak-9T plastic model kit review

Plenty of detail, but engine complicates fit
Kit:32090 // Scale:1/32 // Price:$99.99
ICM (Sample courtesy of mfr.)
Good design; plenty of detail
No seat belts; decals not especially forgiving
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); 167 parts, decals
During World War II, the Soviet Union developed a number of effective fighters, among these the Yak-9 series, which was developed from the Yak-3. Most Yak-9s were used as interceptors and escorts, but a few variants focused on other roles. The Yak-9T was an effective ground-support aircraft carrying a 37mm cannon nestled between the V12 engine’s cylinder banks. The cockpit of the standard Yak-9 was moved aft slightly to compensate for the cannon’s weight.

ICM’s 1/32 scale Yak-9T, captures the diminutive, svelte lines of the Yak series. A fully detailed cockpit — however, sadly lacking seat belts — is complemented by an engine bay packed with a detailed Klimov M-105 engine, cannon, heavy machine gun, ammo cans, and other accessories. Decals for four airframes round out the package, one in the early green and black camo, the others using the later two-tone grey scheme.

The cockpit assembles easily, but use care when removing the fragile tubular sidewall frames from the tree. I discovered late in the build that the oxygen bottle (parts E41 and E42) interferes with the fit of the cockpit — and it can’t really be seen on the finished model.

There was a significant amount of clear film around the instrument decals, so I cut most of it away when applying them. Pay attention in Step 7 because the instructions would have you incorrectly place the side console decal on the underside of Part E20.

When painting the interior, remember to paint the center of the lower wing; it is visible through the cockpit and the open engine bay. The tailwheel strut should be placed before closing up the fuselage, but the attachment lugs must be trimmed to ensure the halves fit cleanly.

You need to decide early in the build whether to leave the engine bay open. Many parts are unnecessary, and some will not fit if you model the engine compartment closed. Alternately, the upper forward fuselage parts will not fit if you install all the engine components. Opting for open, I filled a handful of ejector-pin marks in the engine bay. Leaving the engine separate, I taped the upper panels during painting to match the camouflage pattern. The way the machine gun blast tube mounts to the engine is not very precise, leading to alignment issues. I also found the framework over the engine bay (Part A8) challenging to fit around the engine rocker covers. I left it for display along with the upper fuselage panels.
The main gear bay is formed from several wall sections and a sturdy wing spar – I had no trouble building the wing or its associated gear bay. The separate control surfaces fit perfectly.

The wonderful clear parts are extremely thin. ICM supplies a clear armored windscreen that I added using Tamiya Clear (No. X-22) as an adhesive.

After I finished the model with Hataka lacquers, the decals settled onto the surface nicely. Be warned, they grab quickly and refuse to move unless floated with water underneath. The carrier film wrinkles easily, especially on long, thin decals like the patriotic slogans on the fuselage.

I had to trim small, triangular tabs molded on the main landing gear legs so that they popped into place when pivoted into their sockets, as shown in the instructions. Adding the propeller finished the build. Take care with the spinner backplate because it is so thin. Mine was cracked on one side when taken out of the box, but it isn’t noticeable.

I spent just under 30 hours on my Yak-9, and the result is a credit to ICM. The somewhat pesky decals and the packed engine bay make for a bit more effort than I expected, but the kit is good enough that it won’t cause anyone undue trouble.
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