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KIT REVIEW


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



Back in 2015, we first staring receiving material for reviews at Detail & Scale, and one of the first kits we looked at was AMK’s 1:48 scale L-29 Delfín.  This was a long-neglected subject in nearly every scale, and by all measures, the AMK was really well done (see our review HERE).  Recently, Eduard has repackaged the AMK kit, added some photoetched detail parts, a self-adhesive masking set, and new decals.  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 ProfiPACK 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 involve three photoetched frets containing 80 parts (many of which feature pre-painted details).  The high-quality instruction booklet is printed in full color and guides the build over some 30 steps.  Eduard decals are also provided and feature the following five 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 any plastic kit.  The flaps can be dropped, speedbrakes 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.

In my past review, I felt the kit was weak in in two areas:  fairly indistinct and featureless instrument panel and seemingly simplified cockpit side consoles as well as the lack of shoulder harnesses and lap belts on the ejection seats.  The Eduard ProfiPACK edition addresses these shortcomings, among others, with gorgeously produced pre-painted photoetched metal parts.  These PE parts also include range of other cockpit details (e.g., rudder pedals, knobs, levers) and a few external airframe parts (e.g., an antenna).  They really elevate this kit’s level of already excellent detail.  The prepainted harnesses are particularly impressive, right down to the stitching on the belts.  The pre-cut self-adhesive masking set will make masking off the clear parts a quick, painless, and accurate affair.  Beyond the great and very diverse choices of markings options, the decals look technically great, and the range of stenciling for each of these airplanes appears impressively exhaustive.  

Weaknesses:  There’s virtually nothing to critique here except for one point: 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 ProfiPACK issue of the kit.

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Eduard’s ProfiPACK edition of the 1:48 scale AMK L-29 Delfín is a great little offering.  While I am left wondering what happened to the kit’s neat little flap hinge parts, the details here make up for the kit’s only real shortcomings.  They will make an excellent kit all that much better.  There’s now also a range of other PE and resin details sets by Eduard, Aires, Quickboost, and others.  However you choose to outfit your Eduard ProfiPACK L-29, this kit combines a straightforward build with great markings options and 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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