The story of this plane begins in 1946 and ends quite quickly in 1948. During this period 1559 Lavochkin La-9 aircraft were built. Among NATO forces it was known as Lavochkin La-9 Fritz. This is most likely due to the resemblance to the Focke Wulf Fw-190. I will not insist on the history of this aircraft because there is enough information online about this type of plane. The 1:48 scale model is produced by Mikro Mir and will be registered in the colors Romanian Aviation from the ‘50s. The manufacturer does not offer the necessary decals for this registration, which is why I will have to make them or buy decals from another producer. The Romanian Air Force had 10 such aircraft that were purchased in 1950. Out of these 5 were single-seater pieces and 5 double-seater. Of these, only one Lavochkin La-9 survived. This a single-seater that can be seen at the National Aviation Museum in Bucharest.
Mikro Mir Lavochkin La-9 is not the only 1:48 scale model of this plane on the market. There is the one made by Ark Models and another one, a resin model, made by L.E.M. Kits. So let’s see what’s in the box. When you open the box you will find a number of 6 plastic frames, photo-etched parts, masks for painting the canopy and photo-film for the dashboard. The model is cast from a gray plastic and engraved in negative. The photo-etched offers parts for the cockpit, fuselage and landing gear. In the case of the cockpit, well lots of small parts, lots of work and not much visible once you set the canopy in place. So most likely I will only use photo etched for the seat belts and, not very sure, for the dashboard. When it comes to the fuselage and the landing gear the photo-etched bring considerable improvements to the final appearance of the model. So I am definitely going to use them. The canopy can only be placed in closed position. Being very small I don’t think it can be cut safely to be positioned open. Because of this I will leave it as it is. The parts seem to fit well but the opinions of other modelers regarding the assembly of this kit are not among the most positive. I’ll have to figure that out when I will start working on the model.
Decals and instruction sheet
The decal sheet offers four registration options: Lavochkin La-9 U.R.S.S. – 2 variants from 1950; Lavochkin La-9 People’s Republic of China – 1 version from 1951; Lavochkin La-9 North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) – 1 version from 1951. Decal seem to be pretty good and I think they will fit well on the model. The assembly instructions are printed in black and white. They seem pretty clear. For painting and marking the instructions sheet is printed in color. Only the color is indicated without a code from a manufacturer. I don’t think that this is a problem because it’s not a very complicated paint scheme. So it should be easy finding the correct color code of your preferred paint manufacturer.
Lavochkin La-9 came out right at the end of piston aircraft era. The jet planes were here and everyone wanted one, which is why most users replaced their Lavochkin La-9 fairly quickly with jet fighters. Hence the very short period in service with various air forces. As a model, it is a subject that comes to complete the history of aviation in general and of Romanian Aviation in particular. The number of parts is reasonable and it comes with a lot of goodies (photo-etched, paint masks). Most likely some problems will appear while assembling it, but where is the fun if everything goes perfect? I think quite a successful model of the Lavochkin La-9 in 1:48 scale will result.