Thanks to Ross at SAC for sending us improved metal landing gear for the new YAK-28 Firebar from a new manufacturer, Bobcat models, and thanks also to IPMS USA leadership for sending the SAC bits to me to review.
Another of SAC’s expansive line of white metal upgrades to basic kit plastic! The set consists of 15 parts: front and rear main gear, and replacements for the wing tip gear.
Firebar was an oddball aircraft designed during the rapid development era after World War II in the 1950’s, with an unconventional landing gear setup similar to the B-47. The main gear was centered on the aircraft datum line as a bicycle, with stabilizing gear on the wing tips. It worked, but in crosswinds the aircraft could easily be in trouble on landing or takeoff. The B-52 rarely has had a problem as the gear has such wide track and has crosswind-crab capability, but on an aircraft like this pilot skill was tested on every flight. And God help the crew that lost an engine on takeoff.
The main gear are duplicates of the kit items, and thereby are stronger and more durable, the standard set by SAC metal gear. The main improvement on this set, however is not only have they provided a metal outrigger gear for strength and durability, but have taken time to manufacture the gear fork and tire as separate items. The kit tip gear have the wheel/tire/strut as one part, a 1950’s model solution, but not so detailed. SAC fixed that issue, whereby you spread the strut fork with pliers, insert the painted wheel, and close the fork over the tire, trapping it on the axle nubs.
the release of this kit, Bobcat have stepped up to the plate and hit one out of the ballpark. Not only unique in appearance but also rare in the model kit world. Thanks to them we now have a different 1/48 ‘cat’ to put on display, and SAC takes the kit that much further.
couple of construction notes; Make sure the wings are fully seated and have correct anhedral. I was a bit careless and didn’t quite get the wings all the way in, which put too much anhedral in, and in turn made the outriggers too long, i.e. holding the tail too far off the ground. My solution was to carefully grasp the tail gear from the back and pivot it around the trunnion axle in the model itself, then re-cement.
It took some movement of the aft main gear pivot to make the gear stand a bit further out on the model to raise the tail. You can see the shock strut action in full compression mode on the wing wheel assemblies to make sure all four gear are on the ground. This instead of the outriggers keeping the tail gear off the ground. It barely made it. If you are a Harrier builder, you understand the concept as well, because it’s the same thing. Getting the gear right can be a nightmare.
Other note: The outriggers and nose gear assembly are multi-part bits but fit perfectly. Superglue is your friend and fills the gaps.
finished the model and broke out the camera… it looks pretty good to me. I also used a Master 1/32 Mig 23 nose pitot to replace the kit item, and it fit perfectly. Hmmmm. Speaking of sharp things sticking out, this model is injury waiting to happen for the unaware with all the probes, so be forewarned.
The strong metal tip gear itself is worth the price of admission, and provides excellent value for money. Max ratings as usual, much thanks to Ross and his crew for going the extra mile, and IPMS USA for allowing me to review such items.