One of the few criticisms that can be levelled fairly against Zvezda's La-5FN is that the engine doesn't really quite match up the overall level of detail; lacking any rear accessories pack, it really needs a bit of extra scratchbuilding and detailing before it's suitable to be displayed with the cowlings open, as the designers intended.
The Polish firm Karaya changed all that with the release of a superbly detailed resin ASh-82FN engine by Maciej Cobel.
The sets comprises 41 pale grey-green resin parts accompanied by a small sheet of instructions. The casting is flawless, with no sign of bubbles and clean-up looks very quick and painless.
The level of detail is excellent throughout. The cylinders feature delicate cooling vanes, while the crankcase has a mass of small details omitted by Zvezda. Of course, the big plus is an intricate rear accessories pack, missing entirely in the plastic kit (leaving a yawning gap behind the engine if you open up the cowls), and the resin version is beautifully done with intricate magnetos, carburettor etc.
The instructions state "For experienced modellers only" and this is perhaps due to the fact that the builder is required to make a few items such as push-rods and cowl supports from scratch. The exhausts also need trimming to length. Despite this, the assembly looks logical enough, and the clearly drawn instructions include useful colour notes.
This is the first Karaya detail set I've seen, but I'll certainly look out for more. The set is very competitively priced and the quality second to none, and of course the low price of the Zvezda kit makes it all the affordable to splash out on aftermarket sets like this one and still not break the bank. I'd recommend Karaya's ASh-82FN without hesitation for anyone used to working with resin sets who's looking to superdetail Zvezda's La-5FN.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Hghly detailed and beautifully cast.Lows:Verdict: Karaya's ASh-82 FN is a very affordable upgrade for Zvezda's La-5FN.
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...