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148
Building the YAK-130 Russian Jet Trainer

INTRODUCTION
There are plenty of videos and walk-around information about this aircraft if you need help. Prime Portal and walkarounds.ru along with YouTube are some of the references I used in this build. That said, combined with the kit instructions you'll have a decent result in your finished model.

Other than the kit all the tools and supplies used were out of my pocket so if a company is mentioned it's to give you a reference as to what went into the project. These items work for me and obviously use what works for you, but please consider looking into them.

To begin you should have the mindset that this is a well made "short-run" style of kit. If you've never built this kind of model before it requires close attention to the clean-up of flash and burring or witness lines, ejection mold release holes and raised nubs along with plenty of test fitting and problem solving. You can also look at my "In Box" review here on AeroScale. Now, let's dive right into the project.
THE BUILD
Clean-up is mandatory on all parts in any kit but with this Kitty Hawk model you may wish to keep some of the smaller parts on a bit of the sprue gate for easier handling and painting later. Not the norm to spray or brush paint parts on the tree yet it was appropriate in many cases with some very tiny bits.

The Instructions in some places are wrong or the parts have not been molded correctly. Thus, how do you eat an elephant... one bite at a time. Personally I like my saying of how do eat a massive plate of your favorite foods.

STEP 1 had no real serious issues. I found out the suggested color manufacturer is Mr. Hobby Mr. Color brand. You will have to adjust some parts that do not have insert tabs (as seen in the photo) yet when they are assembled and painted have nice detail. I could not find any aftermarket for this Jet to liven things up, however, I'll credit Phil Flory (Flory Models) for the suggestion of using Mr. Metal Color 214 Dark Iron to dry brush the black. It made a huge improvement and is now a staple in my supplies. Funny story, I asked my supplier if he could get this item in. His reply was "sure thing, a box of six will cost ???". In other words I have plenty to last me a while.

A flaw in this kit is the photo-etched harnesses. They have to be clipped in places and some parts discarded being they are wrong and way to big. If you paint your figures and leave them out this will be less of an issue. More on that later.

STEP 2 is missing the insert tabs for the control yokes so be aware of this and some heavier trimming of the side wall parts has to be done. I mixed a few Tamiya colors to get the right shade of blue although there are many different tones of this color. The decals for the instrument panels look really good yet must be cut in many places to fit properly over the different components.

STEP 3 has an issue with the middle shroud over the instrument panel. I cut the tabs off and sanded the inside until it rested flush with the side walls. An easy fix that took no time at all. You should consider leaving the seats and the tiny part C59 out until further in the build. You'll see why later.

STEP 4 has loads of detail to take a dark wash and the reason why I opted with grey white. The medium grey would have gone too dark otherwise. The nice thing is you can install the gear later and be more focused on properly weathering those small parts. Generally everything fit well, save for the tight fit of the two parts holding the rock guards around the wheel. In the photos I used a vice to hold them until they set-up.

STEP 5 have the holes pre-drilled for the cannon pod yet the instructions say drill them. The one area you must pay close attention to is how the cockpit tub fits on the lower half of the nose. It has to be perfectly level or the upper half will be thrown off. I'd wait to cement it until you reach the step where the upper and lower are joined.

STEP 6 needs attention paid to the lower parts of the front wing contours. There are no pins to place them and they stand very proud so you'll have to sand them fit flush. They will need to be filled and smoothed. The exposed components below the speed break will also have to be sanded to fit properly.I chose aluminum for this part after watching a video and thought it a better look than the suggested sea grey.

STEP 7 joins the upper and lower nose. Again, test fit and adjust around the gunsight area to make them fit. Don't be surprised if you remove an unexpected amount of material. Even with this done I had to walk back my cementing procedure since my kit had a warp in the upper part.

STEP 8 is critical to the fit in future steps. The open or upper area of the intakes has to be spread to match up with parts in step 11. If you cement them as illustrated they will be clearly visible later, so jump ahead and test fit to make the mouth wide enough. There is no paint suggested for these parts and all I can recommend is reference photos and videos and of course there will be filling and sanding the release marks to smooth them out.

STEP 9 is a rinse and repeat of 8.

STEP 10 has you fit the intakes with the main gear bay. Do not let the cement completely harden on the intakes and go right into test fitting with the lower half of the fuselage.

STEP 11 needs sanding of the intake mouths to mate with the outer walls. While the cement is still workable you will be able to make them fit correctly. This step required some time for me and I'd recommend not putting too much cement on the parts until it looks right. The auxiliary motor exhaust port wants to lean back but I would wait anyway until you dry fit the lower and upper parts to make the surrounding hole look correct.... it is not.

STEP 12 instructs you to add the exhaust ports and covers. While it is fine to add the center divider I painted then masked off each port and venturi and left the covers for later assembly after they were test fitted. The two tabs need to be removed since there is no slot for them to fit into.

STEP 13 is the most challenging part of the build. Before you begin have a sipping straw for your extra large beverage and have made a restroom visit... I did not!!! If your kit is molded with the same shape as mine you'll need to first sand down the lip on the back part of the lower nose by 1 mm. Also, the place it slips under on the lower fuselage has to be decreased my 1 mm. It's the only way they would come flush for me. Then you need to spread the upper part of the lower half to marry up to the upper half of the fuselage. While doing this you have to bend the upper half where the front and back lower sections join... and with some force. While I don't mind holding parts for some time to make sure they are right, this took a very long time and I had to make a heavy jig (basically whatever was at hand to bring it to submission) to pull it off. To review, you need to pull up the back of the lower nose, bend the upper half and spread the outer walls of the back lower half. Simple. If you wind up with a step in this are of the lower parts it will have to be removed in order for the cannon pod to fit (should you choose this option). After already making sure the aux. motor exhaust surround hole is A-OK you can seal the upper and lower halves.

STEP 14 requires you to sand the upper and lower wing sections. Here the fit is really tight and looks nice after you're done. The intake ports have a razor fit around walls but where they seat into the slots does not look good. Being that you'll probably opt to paint them separately make them conform to the inserts as best you can. Sadly they will have to be filled and sanded later so work out how you want to do this. Part B1 (pitot tube?) is tiny and best left til later and hand painted. All the leading edge control surfaces were set aside as well for later assembly. They are pose-able with no connection pins or slots.

2nd PRIMER STAGE. With all the areas that needed fine sanding completed I sprayed another coat of the primer to check for needed corrections.

SURFACE PAINT is by Mission Models Paint in Russian Dark Olive 2. I selected this scheme because a literary client of mine (Hi Petr L.) lives in Belarus and they recently purchased some of these Jets. In the aviation article about the purchase it showed this color and I liked how different it looked from the usual grey and light blues. A jet in tank colors was my impression. The paint went down fine and was thick enough to knock back some of the over done rivet and surface detail in the plastic. Then a thin coat of Tamiya clear went down to seal the paint.

DECALS vary from one company to the next and these were new to me. While bright and in register they have two challenges. First is they are doubled up and some are not reverse/mirrored. Yes, I am illiterate in Russian (and some would argue in English as well HA HA) and not reading carefully I added all the incorrect "NO STEP" decals. Once these guys are smoothed down they're extremely difficult to get back up. Oh well, it still looks good. You will need to cut the second of all the lined ones for the wing and fuselage. Second is the flat blotchy surface. They conform after 3 to 4 coats of Micro Sol but before that my water was warm and the Micro set was applied a second time (as per the instructions). The time it took them to lift from the paper was only a few seconds so be aware they will get away from you...quickly. This means you will have to dip your canopy in Future Clear or an AK product like Gausy Canopy clear. The decals will look horrible if you don't. Luckily this Jet does not have a lot of stencils so the job went relatively quickly, even with the extra time to correct the Kitty Hawk mistakes. These were sealed with another clear coat.

WASHES were done with Flory Models dark dirt and white for the panels lines and rivets. Easy to paint on and remove with a moist paper towel it makes this often time consuming procedure much quicker. There is a video of the process on YouTube and something I highly recommend. For the wheel bays and landing gear I used Abteilung 502 brown and smoke. After 6 hours it was cleaned up with cotton swabs and buffed with blue paper towel.

STEP 15 had most of the parts painted, decaled, washed and clear coated on their own. The back hub was added earlier and not to color call-outs because it looked odd. The insert for the flaps to the wings needs adjusting for them to slide together. The back wing tip light parts look nothing like the instructions and the parts will not fit. Some Microscale Krystal Klear was later used and looks the part.

STEP 16 asks you to assemble the wheels with the heavy duty landing gear. Normally I would sand the tires down to look weighted, however, the actual aircraft shows them on a slight outward angle making it really tough to gauge the right amount file down. Being that these Jets were meant to land on rough surfaces the tires could be heavily or under inflated. The landing lights should be added later to the doors otherwise the retraction arms will not fit where they're supposed to go.

STEP 17 is a busy one. After your parts are cleaned of paint where they join you may want to sand down the bottom of the main strut. This will allow the retraction arm to fit more easily. Let your cement set-up a little on parts C71 and C72 then parts C32 and C31 will rest on the tab of main gear. Fiddly stuff but pretty strong when it's dry.

Same thing with the doors, attach the arms to the doors first and let dry until they are still workable before connecting them to the fuselage.

STEP 18 has the doors for the nose gear going in. You will install your gear first obviously and all five went in with little trouble. The nose cone is not keyed and has a shape to match the contour of the body, so rotate it until it looks right. It's still too big, thus careful sanding away from the model will have to be done plus a few test fits. Put a mark on the nose lip and the inside of the cone so you know where it will be placed each time you dry fit. Leaving it off until the end assemble provides you with a perfect hole to slide a rod in for easy painting and clear coats. Make sure you open the holes for the tiny sensors and lights and decide if it's better for you to have them on before adding the ladder or the other way around. I chose to add them later.

The ladder requires patience. Once again let the cement go off a minute on the hand rails then add the cover plate at an almost 90 degree angle and dry a little. Next remove the pins on B41 (there are no holes in the hand rails for them) sliding it between the rails and plug into position on the body. Then you can pull up the cover plate to join up with the bottom of the hand rails.

The targeting sight unit needs material removed. First, cut off the connecting pegs then file the sides at the front until the part rests in the channel. Also on the underside of this part are two triangle supports that had to be trimmed back over half or the piece will not rest flat. I would strongly advise sanding the entire bottom until it sits just proud of the channel walls. The fit is really tight with the wind screen so you'll have to decide if it's clearance above the optics or a raised look of the component. Either way you're going to have to modify this part. After some Krystal Klear was added to attach the optics it was dry brushed with the buffable dark iron and looks pretty good.

STEP 19 has two major items to deal with.

The canopy has a center seam to clean-up and frame painting. If you have a technique for removing this line great! I chose to go MAX X on my magnifiers and use a new blade to delicately scrape away the raised point. Then gently going from 800 grit to 1000, 1200 to 1500 then 2500 to a mirrored polisher being as localized as possible yet always overlapping the rougher grades. Once wiped down with 99% rubbing alcohol you can mask it for paint and washes. Once removed after the model is painted the PE mirrors, which I painted black then used a Molotow chrome pen paint for the reflectors, can go in. Kitty Hawk were kind enough to send out a replacement PE fret since mine had a missing mirror. I put a tiny tab of Microscale Liquitape for this because it sticks super strong without fouling the clear part and dries a lot faster than Krystal Klear. Be sure to move the side mirrors up high enough to clear the front and center instrument panel shrouds. Then the canopy disintegrater line decals went on and the entire thing was dipped. The flaws in the decals were completely hidden along with any remaining micro scratches. Hand paint the frame with your favorite dull coat when this dries. Kitty Hawk does not supply a piston arm for an open canopy so you'll have to scratch build your own.

The figures at a glace look ok yet a closer examination show how the master was 3-D printed and needing plenty of clean-up. I gently cut, filed, sanded and bore holes where needed. From a 90 degree angle below sprayed the underside of details for a shadow. A 50/50 mix of white and blue made up the flight suits with a light green/black for the vest and dark yellow for the harness. Various other oils made up the face and helmet. Not the best looking but sure did revive my enjoyment of figure painting though. After a clear coat the dark brown wash did the rest. These were not easy to paint because of the layered texture yet at arm's length are passable. The instructor figure will not fit properly with the PE belts and ejection handles installed, thus were discarded.

STEP 20 is the gun pod. My kit had one irregularly molded flame suppressor and you may opt to micro drill them out for a better look. Remember that the back end rests on top of the troublesome seam area with the front and back fuselage.

STEP 21 shows how to assemble the rudder and stabilizers but I had put the vertical one on earlier for ease of handling. The horizontal stabilizers have a very small pin with not a lot of meat to bite into. One of the last items added, they can be posed tilted up if you wish, but either way you'll have to come up with something to hold them in place while the cement cures.

STEP 22 attaches the cannon pod and weapons hard point racks. The outer racks look very life like with the PE clasps, just make sure you countersink the place where the brass goes.

STEP 23 shows how to build the external fuel tanks for the inner racks. It is the ONLY external component molded specifically for this kit.

WEAPONS are found from pages 34 to 39 in the instructions. The assembly of these options is straightforward enough, but their placement is a huge problem. I could not find a single rack or rail that married up to one another causing me to think they are for another kit. The call-out page at the back is of no help and adds to the confusion. Disregard it all together since it shows no weapons at all for the middle rack.. You will have to modify and adjust parts plus consult references. What you see in this article comes close to one YAK-130 at an airshow.

THE DETAILS went on last with clear orange, titanium, chrome and white for the numerous detectors and lights.
THE BASE
This won't win any awards, but seeing that Kitty Hawk give you the start of a diorama the model would look out of place if there wasn't something underneath it. The base, fire extinguisher and maintenance ladder took all of a day to build and paint. A simple sheet of 1 mm plastic card was scribed with staggered concrete forms and a spare bit of PE grill made the drain hole cover. Then I grabbed 5 different tones of gray and staggered them. Next a blending coat of light grey was misted on. Then lines were masked off and sprayed white for the backing with orange, yellow and tire black for the other highlights plus the two spare decals. A clear coat went before random dots of a dozen oil colors were streaked until they blended the entire surface. then a dark wash went into the cracks and lines. Super simple to do while I was waiting for the glue and cement to dry on Brian D. O'Neill's 1/48 B-17 Luscious Lady (please visit his blog here on AeroScale to view a truly stunning and one of a kind piece of model building).

The other parts are just stretch sprue, 0.3 mm styrene sheet and some bits and bobs. Nothing special and no extraordinary effort required, but it makes a nice addition.
WRAP UP
Again, consider this like a short-run kit and your expectations will be exceeded. Many challenges equal a greater appreciation is my overall reflection of this project.

Many thanks go out to Hobby Elements for making the micro files which came in handy countless times and by all means please check them out on YouTube. To www.sunwardhobbies.com for getting me supplies super fast! Maple Air Brush Supplies who kept me up to date about when the Mission Models Paint was arriving and Flory Models for the two washes used.

Special Thanks go out to Kitty Hawk for sending the kit to do a build feature and to YOU for taking the time to read along.

When shopping for this kit please mention you saw an article on KitMaker Network AeroScale.
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About the Author

About HG Barnes (HGBARNES)
FROM: ALBERTA, CANADA

H.G. Barnes is a former voice artist and sales/marketing executive. Currently ghost writing, he's recently published the first of many Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, and Adventure novels. He's been building model kits of every genre since memory to go along with his short stories, yet aircraft h...