Bobcat Model 1/48 Yak-28P Firebar – Kit Review
A Yak-28P, who would have thought we would have a nice rendition of this important cold war warrior. It doesn´t come closer to a more Flash Gordon-esque aircraft than this, with huge engines, pointy things sticking out here and there, a weird bi-cycle undercarriage and a huge radome at the front end. After all modern MiGs and Suchois I´m quite happy we have this old beauty in our shops.
I´m not too much for speculating, so I will not say anything about Bobcat´s history, but the company is new to me and according to the model number this is kit number 48001 so it should be the company´s first model in 1/48. This is an original boxing as far as I can see. I have seen some scratch built models but not so sure about any kit models. The model was released in 2017.
The model comes in a traditional tray and top box in sturdy cardboard á la Trumpeter. This is a fair size box, bigger than expected, but then this model builds up to 450 x 245 mm so clear some shelf space, please. The bottom of the tray has a large drawing of next release, a Yak-28PP Brewer-E, with model number 48002.
On the box sides, we are given a short history in English and in Chinese. I have not seen any major fault regarding the translation into English which could mean they do pay attention to not only presentation but also accuracy. A good sign?
The kit consists of five light grey sprues plus a clear sprue.
The clear sprue contains two canopies (one with an extra frame), wind screen, a few lights and bits for the IR-seekers. The clear parts have some distortion.
All sprues are bagged separately. A few parts had broken off the sprues but no major drama. Some very sharp and pointy parts had penetrated the plastic bags and bent slightly. Padding for clear parts could be a god idea in the future.
A choice is given of long or short radome.
The long radome is separately bagged. However, it seems to have been cut from the sprue containing the short one as this is shown on the sprue layout. According to box top information the kit consists of 221 parts but that should include a handful of alternative parts for early and late versions.
There are no photo etched parts. No real need for it but maybe someone would like some seat belts.
Fantastic level of detail! Different size on rivets depending on where they are. Possibly this is to mark screws and rivets?
Panel lines as well as lines marking hatches have different sizes, a very nice touch. No obvious flash or mismoulds nor ejection marks to deal with.
Great detail around engine outlets,
missiles, all over actually.
An interesting feature are the locating tabs for the wings.
I almost feel like making a rough museum aircraft so I can fill in all rivets and panel lines with a lovely wash.
The A5 size sheet of decals is protected by a glossy sheet of paper and separately bagged. The decals say Bobcat but nothing else. Decals look very glossy, thin, in register and have high density colours. There are different reds to bort numbers and Soviet stars which is a very nice detail. There are decals for 18 individual aircraft on the sheet.
The instructions give you options for a few more so keep an eye on what aircraft you are building and its markings.
In total, there are around 90 stencils and national markings to make this into a multi-session drama before you can call it done. All look very nice.
The instruction booklet consists of 20 pages in black and white.
Colours are called out as you build but keep an eye open as the paints is just a letter and part numbers are a letter for the sprue and a number for the part, all in same font. So, I suggest you go over the instructions with a pen and circle all colours so you do not miss anything essential.
Do your research!
So, you have bought the kit…next is to do the reference homework. This is the foundation for it all and some decisions must be made. Someone at Bobcat should have a serious talk with the person responsible for the crappy information, like What went WRONG?! The model is beautiful and I can´t wait to start building it but it really is a letdown to have to do such research before I can do anything at all. Aerofax have a publication on the Yak-25-26-27-28 series that might be the answer for some of the questions.
Obviously, Bobcat must have had the information, why not let us have it too? Coloured instructions are getting quite the norm. Badly printed grays will not do the trick anymore. One wonders sometime if there is no one actually building and painting the model to check if all is OK before releasing it? Questions like “will anyone be able to build it or does it take an aircraft historian to succeed?” could be avoided if someone cared for the modelers.
As the builder have the option of fins, canopies, missile positions, radome sizes, colours and markings, there are quite a few things to deal with. I suggest the builder starts by having a look at the end first to figure out which aircraft to build.
The profiles could have been larger and a bit clearer but most builders will figure out what to do if they take a very good look and compare details like what fin and radome to go with a specific aircraft.
From photos, I can see that there were hard points for missiles on the inside of the engines, at least for the early version. Problem is how do we know when early becomes late version? Is it radome size or what? The drawings have same missile positions for all versions so they are not much help for the builder.
If you´re not a friend of all bare metal aircraft this is not the one for you. I don´t think they ever flew in anything else than unpainted aluminium. However, if you find the type to be cool enough for a try why not wait for the second rendition of the Yak-28, the glass nosed Brewer C, which is able to be dressed up in greens and browns also.
Now, one could possibly believe an all-natural metal finish would be boring. After a bit of research on the internet and looking in some books I would say this could come out as colourful as anything and with lots of nice contrasts. How about green, black or grey radome, green or grey (or even white?) dielectric fin panel, green, grey or aluminium ventral fin, black anti-glare panels on engine tops…. possibly even more alternatives. Add red, yellow or blue bort numbers to make things even more interesting.
I have seen photos of examples with black and white striped or all over orange Anab missiles, so there are plenty of scoop for a different looking model in your collection.
This is a great model and who knows what might come out of this in the future. The Firebar/Brewer family also saw ECM, photo reconnaissance and two seat trainers, so if we eat our veggies and hope for the best, we might get lucky. But please Mr Bobcat, have a word with your design department regarding the instructions!
I think this is a very accurate model. Why do I think so? Well, there are just too many details and logical solutions for it to be fake. The only thing I can´t get around is the fact that the instructions are way too lousy when it comes to a lot of instrumental choices for getting it right. They are just not clear enough. So, check your references and then go head first into this kit.
It´s not a full 10 for this one but the model is somewhere up there.
Now, if I only could find the time to build this beauty!