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KIT REVIEW


Eduard L-29 Delfín Weekend Edition -- 1:48 Scale



Until 2015, the L-29 Delfín was a long-neglected subject in nearly every scale.  AMK produced an outstanding 1:48 scale L-29 kit.  Recently, Eduard has repackaged the AMK kit (see their ProfiPACK edition HERE) and their second release of that plastic comes in the form of a no-frills Weekend Edition of the L-29.  Let’s take a look. 

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The Aero L-29 Delfín (or Dolphin; NATO reporting name “Maya”) was the first jet aircraft produced in Czechoslovakia, and it served as a mainstay jet trainer across the Warsaw Pact throughout the Cold War.  The prototype XL-29 airframe first flew in 1959.  In 1961, the Soviet Union chose the L-29 as their primary trainer for the Warsaw Pact, beating out the Yak-30 and a Polish design.  The production run of the L-29 began in 1963 and ended in 1974 with a total of 3,500-plus aircraft being manufactured by Aero Vodochody.  The L-29 was the trainer variant.  The L-29A was purpose built for aerobatic flight, and the L-29R was a recce platform with cameras installed in the nose.  Indeed, it is an interesting exercise to study the L-29 and see how much of its “DNA” was passed along to its direct successor, the L-39 Albatross.

The design philosophy underscoring the Delfín involved making it as simple and reliable as possible, such that it was both easy to manufacture and friendly to student pilots.  Aerodynamically, it was a very stable design, hard to spin, and forgiving.  It was also rugged, capable of operating from unimproved runways, grass landing strips, and even sandy surfaces.  The L-29 was adopted by all of the Warsaw Pact nations and the Soviet Air Force.  Further exports were made to various Middle Eastern and African air forces.

The Delfín served well in the training of pilots but was also adapted to the delivery of air-to-ground weapons (e.g., bombs, gun pods, and unguided rockets).  Delfín trainers were pressed into combat by Egypt and tasked to go after Israeli armor during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  L-29s also saw combat in more recent conflicts, being flown by the Georgian Air Force during the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.  In 2015, at least one L-29 was reported as operational by separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.  In the West, the L-29 is a popular civilian air racer.  In 2007, an L-29 was the first unmodified aircraft in history to be powered completely by biodiesel on a flight from Reno, Nevada, to Leesberg, Florida.  The University of Iowa and Ohio University employ L-29s as research and teaching platforms.

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Eduard’s Weekend Edition of the 1:48 scale L-29 includes all the AMK plastic:  94 gray-colored injection molded parts on five sprues along with nine clear parts on one sprue.  The Eduard components also includes one photoetched fret containing eight parts.  The high-quality instruction booklet is printed in full color and guides the build over some 12 steps.  Eduard decals are also provided and feature two schemes: 

Strengths: All the good things that I previously said about the AMK L-29 kit of course apply in this offering (again, see our previous review HERE). 

But to recap, this is a wonderfully engineered and made kit, earning high marks for fit, detail, and relative simplicity of construction.  Beginners and experienced builders alike will enjoy this kit.  The cockpit is well detailed, the nitrogen bay in the nose can be positioned open to display the hardware underneath, and the quality of the integrally molded surface details, including cable bundles, is very impressive for a plastic kit.  The flaps can be dropped, speed brakes opened, and rudder deflected.  AMK does great small parts here, too, from gear bay door actuators to antennas.  Clear parts are crystal clear, and no mold seams are present.  In nearly all cases, ejection pin markings are strategically hidden, out of sight and out of mind, with the exception of the front and aft cockpit side panels.  In the built-up model, these may be very hard to see, regardless.

For many, the greatest highlight of Eduard’s Weekend Edition L-29 kit involves the decals.  They appear to have been printed in-house by Eduard, and they look great from a technical printing perspective.  While there’s only two choices (as per Weekend Edition kit status) the two schemes are great.  The tiger scheme is eye-popping to be sure, and the stripes (yes, all of them!) are all provided as decals.  It’s a bit complex, but the decal placement guide is both clear and thorough.  Take your time and follow the instructions.  The other markings option with the dolphin nose art is a much more standard L-29 scheme, and the stenciling for that airplane is quite complete.

Weaknesses:  There’s virtually nothing to critique here.  A few points, though:  the original issue of this kit contained a photoetched metal fret that had parts for the flap hinges.  These parts are not included in the Eduard Weekend Edition issue of the kit.  In my past reviews, I’ve always felt the kit was weak in three areas:  fairly indistinct and featureless instrument panels, simplified cockpit side consoles, and a lack of shoulder harnesses and lap belts on the ejection seats.  This edition of the kit provides the side consoles and ejection seat harness details as decals.

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You can’t go wrong with Eduard’s Weekend Edition of the 1:48 scale AMK L-29 Delfín.  The markings are a real high point.  If you want to make this great kit better, there’s a range of other PE and resin details sets for the 1:48 AMK Delfín by Eduard (such as ejection seats, instrument panels, masking sets) as well as Aires, Quickboost, and others.  However you choose to outfit your Eduard Weekend Edition L-29, this kit combines a straightforward build with a pair of great markings options along with many opportunities for extra detail.

We extend our sincere thanks to Eduard for the review sample. You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany/.


Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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** Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.**


   

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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
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