Lavochkin La7 - Rapier of the Red Army
Up until recently the Red Air Force fighters have been largely ignored. This is a great pity because the air battles over the Eastern front were epic affairs bringing together two titanic forces with entirely different philosophies.
As aviation enthusiasts, the design concepts between the Russian and German Fighters is of particular interest. The German process for designing aircraft often by committee, which resulted in the designers having to incorporate a multitude of features enabling the aircraft to take on a number of different roles.
The end result was of course a superb machine, but production time was considerably longer and the maintenance of such a complicated machine in harsh conditions was another ongoing problem. Naturally the end product will be quite heavy as it carries equipment to deal with its multirole capability and therefore it requires a highly developed and complicated engine to haul it around.
The Russian philosophy was entirely different, perhaps brought about partly by the "dictatorship" style of management! When the Luftwaffe swept into Russia, the Red Airforce was woefully equipped and virtually destroyed in a matter of weeks. The Russian design teams had to come up with something quick, time was not on their side.
The requirement would be for fighters that could operate at low level in direct support of the Red Army. They must be as fast as the Bf109 and Fw190, easy to build and maintain and be made in some part of wood, which was in plentiful supply. On the minus side, wood is generally heavier than alloy for the same strength, and the Russians engines were not as sophisticated or powerful as their German counterparts.
On the plus side, the Red Fighters had only one role and as they would operate from forward airfields, they didn't need to carry much fuel. As a result, the designers went for very simple designs with the bare minimum of equipment to do the job, which kept the weight down and the build time to a minimum.
Highly tapered wings gave superb handling when speeding along in the turbulent air at low level, the swept leading edges punch through cold dense air like an arrow, whilst the short span resulted in a lightning quick roll rate.
Both the La7 and Yak 3 were more than a match for the 109 and 190 at low level and in addition they must have been a very small target to hit. If you ever get the opportunity to see either of these aircraft parked alongside a Mustang you will realise they are almost 25% smaller in every area.
The incredible scores racked up by the Luftwaffe "Experten" implies that there were no Russian equivalents. This is certainly not the case, in fact several Soviet Aces claimed over 50 victories and many more scored over 30. Given the relatively short time span of this war these claims are all the more impressive, and there is no doubt that the elite guards unit Soviet pilot, combined with the superb La7 was one of the finest air combat combinations in the world.
Lavochkin La7 and the Warbird Replicas Model.
The full size La7 has many of the features we require as a practical model. It has a wide stance undercarriage, but with relatively short legs. It was designed to operate from rough fields, which suits our needs perfectly.
It is a very clean design, so with the correct engine and wing section, we can expect a huge speed range. The large radial cowl allows us to hide an engine and exhaust while at the same time keeping cool.
The proud Guard Units that operated the La7 in 1944 couldn't resist the temptation to embellish their mounts with their favourite colour (red, of course). So, all things considered, we have an ideal model, sleek, colourful and exciting to fly without many of the problems associated with other WWII fighters.
Of all of our designs, the La7 has possibly been the biggest surprise. We could not have guessed how popular this little beauty would become, in fact we have been working on a slightly larger one due to popular demand.
The prototype equipped with an OS52, completed an incredible 1200 flights over a five year period! Testimony indeed to not only the design, but also the quality of modern synthetic fuel!
A quick web search will bring up many online builds of the Warbird Replicas La7. Why not check one out and get a good insight as to how pleasant she is to build.
Having put in so many hours flying the La7, I can honestly say she is a beauty, but must be built light to get the best from her. The ultimate fun is to get two of these colourful fighters up together in loose formation. The sound of the two four strokes resonating together, and the sight of those huge red snouts streaking in for a low pass is something else. It's a little secret that we have kept for over fifteen years.
Why don't you let us share it with you?
To make construction quick and easy, the kit features obechi covered foam core wing including, foam veneer top deck, plastic cowl, canopy & scoops, exhaust stacks, fuel tank, tailwheel, instructions, plan, CNC plywood parts and hand picked pre-cut balsa. The new version of the 56" La7 is biased toward electric power and designed to take the FMS and Dynam Fighters head on !! The new La7 kit comes with a detachable top deck for battery access and a motor mount for the Spitfire's powerful brushless motor shown on our site .
The retract kit for the Spitfire can also be used and helps to keep weight to a minimum .
This is a quick build kit with very few component parts and is intended to be a tough but light practical flyer .
On 4S Lipo batteries this model will out perform the bulk of the FMs range thanks to its hard skinned stiff airframe.
The HWDMAC build four of Richards New La7.
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Kit difficulty rating: 2 out of 5
Wingspan: 1450mm [57"]
Radio: 4-5 channel
Motor: 40-46 2st or equivalent 4 stroke
Weight: 5.5lb approx
4 stroke in-cowl silencer
Mechanical retract set including servo & wheels
Pilot & cockpit set