SkyMax Models SM2005 Soviet Lavochkin La-5FN Fighter - Captain Konstantin Savelievich Nazimov, 254 IAP, Poland, Summer 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"I requested a transfer to the front more than once. But the front required well-trained fliers. While training them for future battles, I was also training myself. At the same time, it felt good to hear of their exploits at the front. In late 1942, I was sent to learn to fly a new plane, the Lavochkin LaG-5. After March 1943, I was finally in active service."
- Ivan Kozhedub, recalling his first exploits as a combat pilot on the Eastern Front
The Lavochkin La-5 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II. It was a development and refinement of the LaGG-3 and was one of the Soviet Air Force's most capable types of warplane.
The La-5's heritage began even before the outbreak of war, with the LaGG-1, a promising yet underpowered aircraft - turning a full circle, for example, took 20 seconds. The LaGG-3 was a modification of that design that attempted to correct this by both lightening the airframe and fitting a more powerful engine. Nevertheless, this was not enough, and the lack of power remained a significant problem.
In early 1942, two of the LaGG-1 and -3's designers, Semyon Lavochkin and Vladimir Gorbunov, attempted to correct this deficiency by experimentally fitting a LaGG-3 with the more powerful Shvetsov ASh-82 radial engine. Since the LaGG-3 was powered by an inline engine, they accomplished this by grafting on the nose section of a Sukhoi Su-2 (which used this engine). By now, the shortcomings of the LaGG-3 had caused Lavochkin to fall out of Stalin's favour, and factories previously assigned to LaGG-3 construction had been turned over to building the rival Yakovlev Yak-1 and Yak-7. The design work required to adapt the LaGG-3 to the new engine and still maintain the aircraft's balance was undertaken by Lavochkin in a small hut beside an airfield over the winter of 1941-1942, all completely unofficially.
When the prototype took flight in March, the result was extremely pleasing - the fighter finally had a powerplant that allowed it to perform as well in the air as it had been supposed to on paper. After flying, the LaG-5 (the change in name reflecting that one of the original LaGG designers was no longer with the program), Air Force test pilots declared it superior to the Yak-7, and intensive flight tests began in April. After only a few weeks, the design was modified further, cutting down the rear fuselage to give the pilot better visibility.
By July, Stalin ordered maximum-rate production of the aircraft, now simply known as the La-5 and the conversion of any incomplete LaGG-3 airframes to the new configuration. While still inferior to the best German fighters at high altitudes, the La-5 proved to be every bit their match closer to the ground. With most of the air combat over the Eastern Front taking place at altitudes of under 5,000 m (16,400 ft), the La-5 was very much in its element. Its rate of roll was excellent.
Further refinement of the aircraft involved a fuel-injected engine, further lightening of the aircraft, and fixed slats to improve all-round performance. This was designated the La-5FN and would become the definitive version of the aircraft. A full circle turn took 18-19 seconds - a beautiful dogfighter. Altogether, 9,920 La-5s of all variants were built, including a number of dedicated trainer versions, designated La-5UTI. Further refinements of the aircraft would lead to the Lavochkin La-7 with a reputation for the aileron turn. Some had three new B-20 cannon in the cowl with a salvo of 3.4 kg per second weight of fire.
Whenever a low flying attacker couldn't be intercepted even by the new Yak-9U, the La-7 would be utilized. The leading Soviet ace of World War II, Ivan Kozhedub (62 kills), flew this fighter when he shot down an Me 262 jet.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a Soviet Lavochkin La-5FN fighter that was piloted by Captain K.S. Nazimov, who was attached to the 254 IAP, then deployed to Poland during the summer of 1944.
Wingspan: 5 inches
Length: 5 inches
Release Date: June 2011