Yak-23 Short History …
The Tbilisi aircraft factory began producing the Yak-23 jet fighter in 1949. It entered service of the Soviet Air Force starting with the same year. A total of 316 aircraft were built, Yakovlev ceasing production in 1952. The Yak-23 was exported to Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Romania. Most of the countries that used it, replaced the Yak 23 quite quickly with the new and more powerful jet MiG-15, produced by Mikoyan-Gurevici. After 1950, Romania remained the only operator of the Yak-23 jet. It was not until 1960 that it was retired from service by the Socialist Republic of Romania Air Force. In total, Romania owned a number of 62 pieces of this type of aircraft, of which the ASAM Workshops transformed 2 into twin-seaters. These were known as Yak-23DC.
Yak-23 – 1:48 Scale Model
At the moment, there are 3 scale models manufacturers on the market that have the Yak-23 aircraft in their portfolio. These are Mikro Mir, Bilek and NeOmega Resin. The model of Mikro Mir is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find and purchase. I don’t know if it’s still being produced. The second manufacturer, NeOmega Resin, sells the resin variant at a price of 57,50 euro. Being made of resin and at a fairly high price, I decided not to try my luck with this scale model. So the only remaing manufacturer was Bilek, whose model is sold for about 20-30 euros; it’s the one that I decided to buy. In addition to the variants mentioned above, there is also the scalemodel of A&A Models, which represents a Yak-23 DC twin-seater aircraft with Romanian markings. But being a twin-seater we will not include it in this presentation.
Kit number – BIL4804; scale – 1:48; manufacturer – Bilek; total parts – 63; resin parts – 0; photo-etched parts – 44; transparents parts – 2; paint masks – 0; lenghet – 17 cm; wingspan – 18 cm.
Instruction sheet and decals
It contains a total of 8 color pages along which there are all the necessary steps to be followed in assembling the scale model. The instructions are very clear, so there should not be any problems with the assembly, painting and marking. The instruction sheet for the photo-etched parts contains two color pages. The decal sheet offers four marking options: Czechoslovakia, Poland, USSR and USA. The most interesting is the variant that flew, for a short time, under the US Air Force colors. It is the plane piloted by the Romanian pilot Mihail Diaconu, who in 1953 landed in Yugoslavia where he apparently requested political asylum. What is certain is that the plane was packed and shipped to the USA where it was subjected to several flight tests; afterwards, very discreetly, it was returned to Yugoslavia. The plane belonged to the 153rd Aviation Regiment based at Caransebes, Romania.
At a first glance I could say that the scale model is a pretty good one, with fine details. The transparent part, the cupola, is quite thick. Because of this aspect it is very possible that once installed, the interior will not be very visible. This would be somewhat unpleasant given the fact that photo-etched parts are offered for the dashboard, seat-belts, ejection-seat and other details specific to the cockpit. I don’t know how the assembly process will proceed, but I will come back with these details when I start working on this model. Anyway, given the fact that it is a model that represents a plane from the beginning of the jet era, I think it is an interesting topic that is worth addressing. I do not think any problems that might arise during assembly will be so difficult that they could not be overcome so that in the end you get a good looking scale model of the Yak-23.