by: Tim Hatton [ ]
HISTORYThe L-39C Albatros was built in Czechoslovakia by Aero to serve as a second generation tandem two seat trainer for Warsaw Pact countries. The prototype, X-02, was first flown in November, 1969. Production started in 1971 and 2,260 aircraft were produced of this variant, making it the most widely produced jet trainer in the world. The L-39C was sold to numerous air forces and latterly has become very popular as a civil aircraft with many owners in the USA. It is a favourite mount in the jet section of the Reno Air Races, last year  the Albatros came in 3,4,5 6 positions in the Jet Gold Race. The Albatros is also used by the Breitling jet team, based in France. To date it is one of the largest civilian aerobatic teams in the world to use jets.
CONTENTSThis is a re edition of this particular kit, so may be familiar to some.
3 sheets of A4 sized instructions and one A4 sheet painting guide. Gunze Sangyo colour references.
There are two sprues of Eduard's distinctive beige coloured injected plastic, A and B containing 57 parts. Sprue B has four wing pylons, a couple of drop tanks and two small bombs if you want to arm your aircraft. A under fuselage mounted GS-23 cannon is included, but not fitted to this kit.
There is one transparent sprue containing the canopy in three parts, blast screen deflector for the rear pilot and the landing light covers. Canopies are moulded thinly. They come in a separate resealable transparent bag.
There is one pre-painted photo etched sheet containing cockpit details such as instrument panels, side console, throttle levers, head up display for the front cockpit, ejector seat belts, detailing for the ejector seat and handles for the canopies. Also included on the PE sheet are aerials, aileron and flap actuators. It comes in a separate resealable transparent bag which is backed by strong card. The size of some of the parts for the cockpit and antennas will be a challenge to some. Highly recommend a good magnifying lens.
There is also a sheet of express masks for the canopy framing, wheels, masks for creating stripes on various aircraft, and the natural metal lip on the air intake.
A single decal with markings for four different aircraft and large quantity of stencils.
NOTESOne distinctive feature of a parked Albatros is that the neutral position of the elevators is full up. So if you want to show the aircraft parked accurately you will need to cut the elevators and reposition them for a more Albatros look. The horizontal tail attachment point is not very positive and some care will be needed.
Another feature which had me puzzled and looking at a lot of photos, is the lack of undercarriage bays! From what I can see from references is that all the doors are closed when the wheels are down. This is presumably a design feature as the L-39 is able to use unprepared landing strips, so this feature gives better ground clearance. Curious though that there are doors attached to the two main oleos, but this is a common feature on all the photos of parked aircraft. Outline looks good although the forward fuselage under the cockpit looks a little shallow to me, but does not spoil the overall shape of this lovely aircraft. The housing for the servos on the upper wing operating the flaps look a little long, but are easily corrected with care. Panel lines are nicely done on the beige coloured plastic. There is no representation of what I think is the starter motor vent on the fuselage just aft of the left wing root. This is a very prominent feature and could easily be drilled out. Some protruding rivet detail on the horizontal tail surfaces, but finely done. There are a couple of sink marks on the jet pipe fairing [A14] and at the extreme end of the fuselage [A1 and A2] just below the rudder. There is a tiny bit of flash here and there, but nothing a quick swipe with a sanding stick won't cure. The torsion link on one of the main undercarriage legs on my sample needs a little cleaning as the gap has a thin film of flash.
There are very few location points on the fuselage and wings so care will be need when gluing and aligning parts.
The representation of the VS1-BRI ejection seat looks a bit simplified, but with the addition of some included PE bits will help the overall look. Interestingly Aero, the company that made the C-39 also produced the ejection seat and it does look a lot less complicated than western bang seats.
Incidentally if you are after the real thing, you can buy one from around 250,000 USD with 1600hrs on the airframe and 340hrs on the engine! Bargain!
MARKINGSFour aircraft can be depicted:
Aero L-39C Albatros, Training Flight, 1st Tiger Squadron, 11th Fighter Regiment, Czech Air Force, Žatec Air Base, 1994.
Aero L-39C Albatros, 1st Tactical Squadron ,4th Special Forces Air Base, Čáslav ,Czech Air Force, 2002
Aero L-39C Albatros, Aerobatic Team Rus (Russia) -Vjazma Aero Club, ex DOSAAF, Russia, 1992. This plane is very weathered
Aero L-39C Albatros, 11th Squadron, Lithuanian Air Force, Siauliai Air Base, 1997.
DECALSThey are produced by Eduard and look good. Decals for instrument are included if you don't fancy the PE's. The tiger stripes of option A are included as decals. There is an enormous amount of stencils also included on the sheet.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.