The Aero L-39 Albatros is a high-performance jet trainer aircraft developed in Czechoslovakia to meet requirements for a "C-39" (C for cvičný – trainer) during the 1960s to replace the L-29 Delfín as the main training aircraft. It was the first of the second-generation jet trainers, and the first turbofan-powered trainer produced, and was later updated as the L-59 Super Albatros and as the L-139 (prototype L-39 with Garrett TFE731 engine).
Significantly upgraded L-39ZO for armed training and light attack, employing sturdier landing gear, a higher payload (total 1,290 kg (2,844 lb)) and notably provision for a GSh-23L 23-millimeter twin-barrelled cannon attached in a conformal pod under the pilots' compartment, having a 150-round magazine within the airframe. Outer pylons wired to carry K-13 or R-60 air-to-air missiles. Two prototypes, with first flying on 29 September 1976. 208 aircraft delivered.
Info from Wikipedia
In the box
Packed in Eduard's familiar top opening box, the kit contains, two grey sprues, one clear sprue, a set of decals and one set of instructions. Being a Weekend edition kit there is no photo etch, or resin parts. Two colour schemes are supplied.
For a closer look at the parts, Tim Hatton's review on the ZO version, which has basically the same parts can be found here
Building the kit
The build sequence is over 7 stages and is easy to follow.
As normal the build starts in the cockpit.
The cockpit tub is one main part and features raised details for the side consoles, and decals are supplied if you don't fancy painting the details. The two instrument panels also have raised details and like the side consoles decals are also supplied. Two sets of rudder pedals fit onto the lower portion of the instrument panels. Two control columns are added, and due to the way the instructions are printed with the cockpit facing front, you cant quite see where they are supposed to fit, but you do get a rough idea. A central partition, in-between the two cockpits is fitted along with the two instrument panel shrouds. Several decals are supplied for the shrouds and side walls in the fuselage halves. With the cockpit done, the build now moves onto installing the cockpit into the fuselage.
Before the fuselage is closed up, a rear firewall, the air intake fan, a afterburner ring and the jet exhaust are fitted. The cockpit slots into the fuselage halves and is quite a tight fit. A central clear part fits in-between the pilot and co pilots cockpits. No weight needs to be added in the nose. The fuselage is closed up, and with the help of some clamps the fit is very good with only a touch of seam work required.
The ejection seats are made up of five parts each, and being a weekend edition boxing, no seatbelts are supplied. The detail is fairly good, and once built slot into the cockpit. A little pressure is needed to get them into position. If you are building the Profipack version of this kit, which has a load of P.E supplied for the seats then I would install the seats before installing the cockpit into the fuselage, as the fit is extremely tight as I found out building The Albatros Sisters - L-39C Dual Combo build here
. (Crikey, that was nine years ago).
Once the seats are fitted the build now moves onto attaching the wings, tail planes and air intakes.
The wings need holes opened up for the installation of the external ordnance, and depending which marking option you are doing dictates which weapons it will carry. As I am not building any particular version I opened all of them.
The wings are split into lower and upper halves, and once glued together, then fit into a recessed section in the lower fuselage. The fit is pretty tight but once in, the fit is quite good, with only minimal clean up required. The tail planes have two small pegs to attach to the fuselage and do need to be held in place until the glue sets to get the correct angle.
The air inlets fit straight onto the fuselage sides and do have a very small locating pin to help align then. The covers are fitted which also have two small locating tabs. A little filler will be needed for the fuselage/air inlet join.
Once all these parts are fitted and left too dry the build then moves onto installing the various parts that fit onto the underside of the aircraft.
The rest of the bits
If I was painting this beautiful little plane I would leave off most of this parts until after it was painted and decaled, but as I'm not I won't lol.
Two pitot tubes are added to the wing leading edges and an ariel fits to the underside of the aircraft. The underside also has a gun pod fitted just under the pilots station. Depending on which version you are building depends on which load out you can install. The Czech version has two drop tanks and the Algerian has two bombs. The drop tanks are in two parts each, and the bombs are one piece each. The fit of the tanks/bombs is a little dodgy and they do need time to dry in the correct position. I fitted everything. Two clear navigation lights fit into recesses in the wing tip tanks.
The undercarriage is simple to install but it is very delicate and not all that strong. The main gear legs install into very small holes and does need an overnight wait for the glue to dry or it will collapse. The nose gear although just as fragile does hold up remarkable well. The L-39 when it is on the ground has all the gear doors closed so no undercarriage bays are shown (or supplied in the kit). The kit could be built as inflight with filling the three small holes that accept the undercarriage legs.
The three piece canopy can be modelled open or closed, so I opened the pilots and closed the co-pilots. The fit is good, and the parts are clear and fairly thin.
Decals and markings
The decal sheet is printed by Eduard and has the main unit and roundels, along with about a hundred stencils. The print quality is good, and has a slight glossy appearance.
As already mentioned two marking options are available -
Aero L-39ZA Albatros, 1st „Tiger“ Squadron, 11th Fighter Regiment, Czechoslovak Air Force, Žatec Air Base, 1991
Blue Grey lowers. Two tone upper camo of olive and sand.
Aero L-39ZA Albatros, Algerian Air Force, 618th Advanced Training Sqn., Tafraoui AB
Blue Grey lowers, with red wingtips on the lower half. Two tone upper camo of olive and light sand.
All colours are for the Mr Color and Aqueous hobby paints.
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