1/72 Eduard L-39 Albatross

Gallery Article by Carmel J. Attard on Nov 3 2010


L-39 Albatross Kit No 2102 by Eduard

The L-39 is a successful Czech built trainer and light attack aircraft that has seen service with a good number of former Eastern Block air forces as well as Russia’s client states in Africa over the years but the type now represents the manner that the L-39 is appearing in civil fast jet private livery in the West.

The kit
The L-39 kit pack (double kit) is a really impressive one with so much details that one would need all-inclusive. The 1/72 scale model set of two L-39 kits, one being a US and the other Russian both carry civil registration. These come in a cardboard box depicting on the cover the Russian civil registered L-39 in a wonderful color scheme of blue and grey and has a unique dragon painted in great detail across the rear fuselage and tail fin and rudder. Upon opening the box there are two injection molded tan colored plastic sprues containing 45 quality kit parts and one clear sprue comprising 3-part clear cockpit, an inside clear wind shield and tip tank lights; several detail resin parts and pre-painted brass detail frets.  All these items come in five separate sealed plastic packs.  A fancy decal sheet for the two civil registered aircraft and masking material for the L-39 models also come in separate clear packing.  Making civil registered aircraft is not normally my style of kit marking but the two distinctive liveries make such stylish civil trainers and joy to build.  Color schemes differ but both carry closely related basic colours of bright blue and white or grey. 

The brass etch frets, contain a large number of items some of which are so minute that it needs patience to cut them and transfer them to the required location.  Many of the items as gauges and seat straps among others come already in their correct paint detail in shades of grays, black, red and white. Other detail recess on the kit looks amazing while fit of parts is excellent.  There are tabs on tail planes that avoid butt-jointed wings. These are split in two, an upper and lower portion and have locating pins. There is an inside clear windshield fitted in middle of cockpit that needed some trimming to fit. The main cockpit parts are crystal clear and care is essential to preserve these so that all the interior detail remains visible. There is finely raised cockpit detail and colored brass etch are also provided for the headrest and are well executed to look exactly like the real cockpit interior detail in all respects. The side console of cockpit interior are carefully embossed in case one prefers to hand paint these and the painted etch parts simplify matters and this is done so amazingly with all the minute instruments for the front and back seat in a variety of matt colours. 

Click on images below to see larger images




The only difficulty that I came across was when fitting the ejection seat assemblies inside the cockpit bucket. These are slightly oversize at the lower end and needs careful trimming down. This is best done at an early stage. Stores also come with the kits but these are intended to leave out though the pylon of mid wing tank is indicated to fit in place. There are a variety of antennae supplied in the kit and one may need to refer to the web sites detail of which is given in the instruction book. This helps to come to the correct type that the different models carry.

Color and markings
The instruction book contains clear steps of easy to follow assembly sequence, one page of which contains color layout and detail for decal emplacement and this comes in color for both the Russian and the American registered version. Consideration is also given in the instruction book to the small differences between the two subjects that the kit can build. One detail that I found misleading, which concerns the colours is that the Russian aircraft has light blue areas where in fact these areas should be light aircraft grey, thanks to the reference web sites. Also in order to arrive to the correct shade of dark blue that one has to use, one should visit the web site again which I found that a close match is Blue Angels blue color 1772E by Model Master which in fact I have used. 

I also found that the masking provided in thin tape form, similar to the Tamiya type, is very accurately cut to take the curved trims that decorate the fuselage, so a little care may be necessary to make the best use of this asset. There is sufficient masking for the dragon decorated Russian RA-1039K (scheme A) that is the more complicated of the two. But then the left over masking should be adequate for the other kit which represents, "Wild Child" owned by California Mach I aviation. The decals are of very good quality with a carefully drawn dragon that comes in two decal parts to simplify applying it onto the fuselage. The colours are fine and correctly registered and do not take lot of time to slide from its wet backing paper.

Beyond any doubt this is an impressive and wonderful kit pack by Eduard Czech Company, not beyond the capacity of most modelers with ample of patience. I enjoyed building the two L-39s, this time in civil markings.

Carmel J. Attard

Click on images below to see larger images













Photos and text © by Carmel J. Attard