The Lavochkin La-5 had a very interesting development history as it started as an in-line engine powered fighter but a bit underpowered. It then passed through a major redesign to fit a radial engine and performance was rapidly improved. The version FN presents one adaptation and the main visible change was air intake at the engine cowling top, where it was not in problem with dust. This machine was proven very efficient in combat but to regret, this type did not have much attention from model manufacturers.
The best we have is the Zvezda kit in 1/48 scale and Eduard has released at the beginning of this year an upgraded version of this kit as a Limited edition. I think that this is one of the best series released in the world. With its added content it brings much power to the basic kit (usually a re box of the other manufacturers kits) and this kit has been released under stock number 1183. Even as the basic plastic kit is it very well detailed and rich and Eduard provides two etched sets inside, an excellent decal sheet, resin wheels and protective mask.
The cockpit is beautifully detailed and it is the first component to be assembled in the kit. It is made from all basic frames construction inside with elements attached there. During the assembly I did not find any problems and I am impressed how the parts very precisely fitted in place. I suggest you to assemble all interior and then paint in the suggested color, grey. After that you can use all etched parts which go inside. Use of etched parts is easy in the first part of cockpit assembly but later it could be a bit difficult. The reason is that during assembly you need to cement starboard fuselage half in place and approach will be a bit tricky to complete it with remained etched parts. You need long and thin tweezers. But before that, you need to assemble the whole interior frame and wings and all of this cement together. The cockpit bottom is placed on the wing center section and then the frame attaches on it. Then comes first starboard and then port fuselage half. Good thing is that parts are very precise so there will not be any problems in precise fit.
After fuselage assembly you need to complete the engine. No matter it is invisible after engine cowling assembly, it is not possible to skip it as it holds the propeller shaft and exhaust which protrudes on the side slots. This assembly has many parts starting from engine halves, gear box, pipelines and separately exhaust pipes. It is very well designed and assembly goes without any problems. When completed it sits perfectly on the front part of the cockpit frame, which presents the engine mount. Next step is placing of the engine cowling on it. You must take great care when placing them since they have no pins or slots to guide on place but set on join lines. With some care it can be completed fast and very precisely.
Last work before painting presents cementing the pilot seat inside, enclosing cockpit, cement landing gear, under nose cooler, aerial mast and pitot tube under the wing.
I decide to use my color mix, based on preserved chips of original colors. They differ much from many paints provided by other paint manufacturers. My choice was to do a plane flown by Konstantin Nazimov. I have a few images of his plane and shapes of the camouflage pattern did not match those provided in the painting instruction so I paint kit in this way, as seen on images. But the decals are perfect and very attractive and since the acrylic paints dried fast, in the evening of the same day I applied all the decals.
This is a very good release from Eduard and definitely an interesting kit to do. No matter that I have done this kit in closed options (closed armament bay and cockpit to make it as much as possible aerodynamic shaped), you can make it with open cockpit and armament bay and provide full kit details. I give top recommendation to this kit!
Great thanks to Eduard for free sample kit.