L-39ZA Weekend Edition S.A. Photoetch

Published: August 15th, 2015     
Product Image
Reviewed by: Paul R. Brown - IPMS# 24085
Scale: 1/72
Company: Eduard
Price: $14.95
Product / Stock #: SS517
Product provided by: Eduard

The L-39 is a Czech built jet trainer that has served with many air forces around the world as both a trainer and as a light attack aircraft and had recently become available for civil ownership as well. Eduard recently released its 1/72 scale Albatros in a weekend edition, which was of course followed by a photo-etch set for the kit.

This set is for the most part a pre-painted self-adhesive set designed to upgrade and improve the cockpit, ejection seats and selected external areas of the jet, primarily the gun pod seen on most military versions of the aircraft.

As expected construction starts in the cockpit where you are instructed to remove the existing molded on details from all of the side consoles and both instrument panels. Once smooth, these are replaced with the photo-etched consoles and instrument panels. There are also several small pieces that are installed along the sidewalls of the cockpit on top of the existing raised details. As this was my first time using a photo-etched cockpit, I made a rookie mistake and simply stuck the new side panels on, relying on the self-adhesive nature to keep them in place. After fishing them out of odd places several times, my son, an armor builder told me to ignore the self-adhesive part and use superglue to attach the parts. I followed his advice and things finally stayed put! The instrument panels really look great installed and each includes the landing gear handle, which is a very tiny part, but really looks great installed. Since I was planning on sitting the jet on its landing gear, I made sure the gear handle was installed in the gear down position. My only problem with the cockpit parts was due to my own poor planning. I really wanted to see how it all looked, so I built up both instrument panels and installed all of the photo-etch, including the tiny bracket for the head's-up display's glass. However, at some point while installing the cockpit into the fuselage, I managed to wipe out both support arms for the HUD and will have to come up with some sort of replacements when painting is all done.

There are also quite a few photo-etched parts to detail the seats including the lower ejection handle, which has to be bent slightly into its characteristic butterfly shape, details for the sides of the ejection seats and the tops of the headrest, along with seat harnesses. In researching the L-39, I discovered that the ejection seat for the L-39 apparently comes in different colors as I found photographs where the seats were all black, others that were partially black and partially gray and others that were all gray, so check the photographs of the aircraft you are building to see which is appropriate for your kit. I did not use the photo-etch belts as I also received a set of fabric seatbelts for the L-39 and wanted to try them out. I am saving the photo-etched set for the second L-39 in my stash.

The set also includes several external details for the aircraft primary focused on detailing the underbelly gun pod. There are six grills to be installed on the gun pod, representing what appear to be cooling vents for the gun pod. The photo-etch grills look great, but on the real aircraft these grills are flush with the external skin of the aircraft, so unless you are really good with engraving small recesses, when installed the photo-etch grills strand proud from the kit's surface and look a bit odd to me. The other external items are a really fine replacement for the blade antenna on the belly of the jet and the "odd rods" IFF antenna under the nose. They look great installed, but I managed to knock the IFF antenna off into the carpet monster during painting, so it does not appear in the photos. Finally the set includes a set of main landing gear doors that replace the much thicker kit parts.

As my first photo-etch set, I really enjoyed using this one and I learned a lot of new techniques very quickly. I also learned that I need to photograph the completed cockpit before it installed in the kit, as little can be seen once the fuselage is closed up.

I highly recommend this set and will be looking to pick up another one for the other L-39 in my stash.

Thank you to Eduard for the review sample and to IPMS-USA for letting me try something new.

  • L-39 PE
    L-39 PE
  • L-39 Underside
    L-39 Underside
  • L-39  Gun Pod
    L-39 Gun Pod
  • L-39 Seat
    L-39 Seat
  • L-39 Front Cockpit
    L-39 Front Cockpit
  • L-39 Rear Cockpit
    L-39 Rear Cockpit

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