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Author Topic: La-5FN of V.I. Popkov  (Read 42073 times)
Audrius
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2007, 07:43:04 PM »

hello,

there are some more news about this a/c and it's profile. On Russian board was able to communicate with skin author Bomber and known expert on Lavochkin Milos Vestsik.

First of all there should be no white cap on the tail. Bomber did so after he saw a color profile of this a/c in Osprey and it is wrong.

Second, Milos has informed that some time ago Slovakian VVS amateur who in that time communicated with Popkov by letters (not emails) trying to get as close to color profile of La-5 nr.01 as possible. After that profile was first published in Czech magazine with all that mottled camo, Guards sing and Lion head. Seems that this profile was repeated by Osprey as well just changing camo to AMT11/12 what was already obvious in the time of its printing. The Eduards's color profile seems to repeat the profile which was printed by Czech magazine.

In the time when the picture of La-5 Nr.01 was made there was just usual distinguishing signs of that 5giap and its corp: white stripes on the fuselage and white spinner with the edge of motor's cowling. BTW, the roots of blade were painted in white as well.

Moreover, the Guards sing and Lion head was painted actually!!! But that was made later after the war, 5giap still being in Germany. It was in Yellow. This news came from Milos who talked to Popkov.

Here I present the color profile by Milos presented in his book by MBI



BR Audrius

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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2007, 10:00:23 PM »

Hi Audrius, Smiley
great research indeed!
By the way, your contact with Milos could help to solve many other problems about Lavochkins.
This one, for example:
http://vvs.hobbyvista.com/Forum/showthread.php?tid=552.

Massimo
« Last Edit: July 01, 2007, 10:08:48 PM by Massimo Tessitori » Logged
Renato71
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« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2007, 05:36:59 AM »

Thank you all for putting so much effort into researching this subject.

First of all, permit me two flashbacks…

Yellow or white outline and/or number? Both are probable but white is getting more and more liable in my head. While I was pondering over this (and turning some pics of modern aircraft into greyscale), I've noted something in my kitchen: while all ceramic tiles and newly installed electrical plugs (made of white plastic) are still in shiny white, older plastic plugs and white painted woodwork is quite yellow in shade, very close to natural shade of light wood. Cheap, universal white paint looses it "white" very fast, sometimes within 6 months. So, white is quite believable, but in very dark, aged shade.

Second one is about that aircraft in the background of the pic that Audrius provided. On a closer examination I noted that two stripes are painted more to the forward than on Popkov's plane. And there is a star; just a tip of it is visible (between the stripes). Still, the strange details are weird shapes on the rear of the fuselage, prominent outline of the star on the tail, and it looks like the rear edge of the tail is painted. Any thoughts on that? Could this give any clue to the details about main subject? If there is some sort of outline on the tail, this could give a clue on why they are speculations whether tails on 5 GIAP a/c were painted or not.

To return to latest info…
I have to admit that thing are getting weirder and weirder. Looks to me that we have two sources, and they are both slightly contradicting themselves? If I got it right, Milos Vestsik came in touch with the source from which a mottled scheme came from, but in his later works he opted for grey-grey scheme. Then, Erik Pilawskii in his reviews of decal sheets says that numbers should be yellow (and on La5-FN), and later on he says numbers are whiter (and on La-5F).

Let me try with a reverse approach, motivated something that Audrius quoted:

Quote
Moreover, the Guards sing and Lion head was painted actually!!! But that was made later after the war, 5giap still being in Germany. It was in Yellow. This news came from Milos who talked to Popkov.

(Question: what was in yellow?)

Is it correct to assume that at this period of time (late in the war and after) Popkov had La-7? If so, then the following is quite probable:
-   Late in the war 5 GIAP received La-7
-   The whole GIAP was not converted simultaneously (there may be some La-5F/FN leftovers)
-   Aircraft came from the factory wearing only one shade of grey
-   Various camouflaged schemes were applied in the field, most probably using paints from captured stocks (assuming that they were flying from the same airfields that Germans used)

If this is possible, then:
-   The aircraft with mottled cammo scheme is in fact a La-7
-   Guards badge and lions head were applied after the VE, maybe to impress Western newsmen (or simply because ground crew had more time on their hands).
-   Yellow outline could be applied because white was worn out and yellow was chosen because western newsmen expected (were accustomed to?) "a communist star with golden outline", or because of politically/propaganda motivated decision ("Paint it yellow! They have color cameras and it will look great in American magazines!"). It is quite possible that some painting was done by propaganda section, not by ground crew.
-   Popkov's La-5F and 5FN (most probably) had grey-grey cammo.

This irregularity is consistent with all of the debate regarding Kozhedub's La-7, as well with all of the one-grey La-7 and quite diverse two-grey schemes on La-7 (result of painting in the field, without paying proper attention to guidelines, but also in factory because they did care so much at the end?).
Also, using German paint is quite probable. I did not paint anything with the paints stated in Eduard sheet yet, but assuming that other modeler used those paints (and taking a look at their finished work)… Well, La-5FN painted like that looks quite "germanic", painted with shades of green and brown that are closer to those used on German vehicles than on Soviet aircraft.

In this case, each paint scheme is correct, but the type of the aircraft under each scheme is in question. Let me conclude with this speculation:
-   La-7 after VE day: with mottled cammo scheme, Guards badge, lions head, yellow outline(s) and numbers
-   La-7 before VE day: with mottled cammo scheme, no Guards badge and lions head, white outline(s) and numbers
-   La-5FN: grey-grey camo, no Guards badge and lions head, white outline(s) and numbers
-   La-5F: grey-grey camo, no Guards badge and lions head, white outline(s) and numbers
-   Any painting on the tail is out of the game for any aircraft (?)

In each case, dates are needed as a cross-reference to the numbed of victory stars (stil working on it).

A bit long lamenting, but I hope that it's not too difficult to follow? Grin

BR

EDIT:
In another thread there is a link with following information:

129 IAP (5 GIAP)*
Type - Start of exploatation - End of exploatation
I-153 - June 1941 - Autumn 1941
MiG-3 - June 1941 - Autumn 1941
LaGG-3 - August 1941 - September1942
La-5 - December 1942 - December 1944
La-7 - January 1945 - May 1945
* Formed in december 1941.

On that page there are no notes about La-5 versions ("zero", F or FN):
http://avia-hobby.ru/publ/soviaps/1_50iap.html
« Last Edit: July 04, 2007, 12:18:11 PM by Renato71 » Logged

Renato
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« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2007, 04:27:26 PM »

Hi,

I've been doing some research, mainly trying to read Russian pages. Got headache. Rusty in Cyrillic. Keep forgetting the start of sentence when I came to the end of one. Big notebook with scribbles. Until I compose myself, just few more pics that I've found lately.

Looks like lot of a excellent data on page http://aces.boom.ru/ (Krasnie Sokoli - Red Hawks), aces sorted out by theatre, and those from WW2 sorted by number of total victories.

V.I. Popkov: http://airaces.narod.ru/all1/popkov.htm
Number of victories # Combat sorties # Aerial engagements
55 - (41 + 13) + 1 unconfirmed # 475 # 117

There I found following illustrations:

"Истребитель ЛаГГ-3, зима 1942 - 1943 гг."
(Fighter LaGG-3, winter 1942 - 1943)
Date is tight match with a timetable about 129 IAP (5 GIAP).
This drawing looks generaly familiar to me. Anybody saw it before? Maybe its just included there for illustrative purposes (still struggling with text).

Same pic as before, but a bit higher:

"Виталий Попков у своего Ла-5ФН."
(Vitalii Popkov with his La-5FN)
Looks like some crates were put under the tail for a better pic Smiley

And finally, from another site (link lost):

"Baevsky-Popkov-Eremenko"

Marvelously supports profile and description kindly given by Audrius. No Guards badge. Silver strips on engine cowlings.

Any way to tell F from FN by any of this this pics?

But, take a look at the tail. Could the rear edge be trimmed in white? If you compare above pic with a detail from the pic Audrios provided (its slightly better visible on other two pics of mine, but stands out on each of them) :


This way, both the authors of color profiles with white-capped tail and those that painted profiles with diagonal strips are misinterpreting various descriptions. Maybe in some interview Popkov (or somebody from his unit) spoke of "white trim on tail" and on other occasion of "white stripe". But, in fact it is "trimmed with white stripe". Lost in translation, ayeh?

While performing this research, I've noted something interesting (when you read between the lines…):
-   In Soviet (Russian) sources that describe unit or pilot activity, not the aircraft itself, there is almost no mention of "F" version. In some sources there is not mention of "FN" at all.
-   Quite a lot of Guards badges, HSU orders and victory markings were (re)painted during May 1945. Most probably by order from HQ, for propaganda reasons.

I have few more thoughts, but I rather hear your opinios.

BR
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Renato
John Thompson
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« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2007, 05:32:17 PM »

Great images, Renato! The first photo (Popkov standing by the tail of "Stallion"), despite its familiarity, is interesting because of the resolution - you can actually see what appears to be the diagonal edge of the reinforcing plate on the fuselage side below the cockpit, which identifies the aircraft as a La-5FN! The apparent absence of this plate in a less-clear version of the same image was what led Erik to propose that the aircraft was a La-5F, not a La-5FN. So this seems to be solved, in favour of the commonly-accepted La-5FN designation of "White 01" (darn - I really wanted it to be an F...? Wink ).

In the second photo (Baevsky, Popkov. Eremenko), the length and shape of the bulge (actually the intake scoop) on the top of the cowling are pretty definitely features of the La-5FN. Even from this angle, I think the "hump" on the cowling of the La-5F would appear differently-shaped. The small cockpit ventilation scoop visible just ahead of the windscreen was a feature of both the La-5F (late?) and the La-5FN, so this doesn't help. But I think it's pretty clearly a La-5FN!

I do think the apparent white edging on the rudder of the aircraft in the background is just a trick of the light, though...

Nice work, Renato - you've really done your homework on this one, and I thank you for adding to my own knowledge on this subject, and perhaps other people's, too!

John
« Last Edit: July 07, 2007, 05:38:04 PM by John Thompson » Logged
Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2007, 10:09:22 PM »

Hi Renato, Smiley
 thank you for sharing your researches.
I think you are right about the white cap on the rudder top, both images seem to show it.
About the plane in the photo with 3 pilots, I agree with John to identify it as a FN, because the F had a different exhaust flap on the engine cowling side, with one protruding pipe on each side, as La-5.
John, please note that this one has the whole reinforcing plate camouflaged. Wink
About LaGG-3 n.25, I don't think to have ever seen photos of it. If anyone finds it, please let me know. It worts a profile.
Massimo
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Dark Green Man
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« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2007, 12:39:15 AM »



Hello, gentlemen and a very interesting discussion you have here.
if the aircraft in the background of the image with the three men is Popkov's then it is definitely an FN.
the FN badge is visible above the head of the middle man.
this is diamond-shaped whereas the 'F' logo was round.
also the sides of the engine cowling are cylindrical...denoting FN
La-5 and La-5F have 'onion-shaped' cowlings.
Thank You very much for this high-quality image too, it's very nice.

[/color]
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John Thompson
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« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2007, 02:03:47 AM »


also the sides of the engine cowling are cylindrical...denoting FN
La-5 and La-5F have 'onion-shaped' cowlings.
Thank You very much for this high-quality image too, it's very nice.
[/color]

No no - go here:
http://mig3.sovietwarplanes.com/la5/cowling/cowling.html
...for the latest La-5 series cowling thinking, substantiated with photos. It's also what's shown in the drawings in Milos Vestsik's "Lavochkin La-5" book, published by MBI. Noooo onion-shapes!!!? Shocked

Again, for everyone's entertainment, I'll trot out my crazed theory about how the onion-shape idea originated: The very early transitional aircraft between the LaGG-3 and the La-5 was the LaG-5. Less than a hundred of these were built, using ASh-82 (M-82) radial engines and existing LaGG-3 fuselages. That much is fact; here's the theory part: In order to adapt the large radial to the narrow LaGG-3 fuselage, a tapered ("onion-shaped") cowling was created. After combat trials with the LaG-5, the airframe was redesigned, and the fuselage widened ahead of the cockpit to suit the engine diameter more accurately. The redesigned aircraft was designated La-5; this, and all subsequent aircraft in the series, had cylindrical cowlings.

I have to stress that this is my own theory, which agrees with details of the development history of the La-5. I've never seen any definite proof that it's correct, but on the other hand, no one's ever said it's wrong, either! Bottom line, though - Massimo and Milos seem to be in agreement on the La-5 cowling shape, and that's where I'm putting my money!? Wink Anyway, read Massimo's article, and you'll see what I mean.

BTW, this also means that the VES/Cooperativa/Eastern Express 1/72 kit, which, in its Cooperativa form at least, is called a "LaG-5", is correctly molded, in that it has a tapered cowling. Trouble is, just try to find decals for one, or photos of a *real* LaG-5...

And Massimo - nice catch - I missed the cowling flap shape! But I was really pleased to see the visible edge of the wing root area reinforcing plate (unless anyone wants to argue that it's something else) in Renato's image of Popkov posing beside his favourite fighter - this puts the La-5F/La-5FN argument to bed quite nicely!

John
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Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2007, 09:31:05 AM »

Hi John, Smiley
there are excellent photos of LaGG-3 M-82 prototype on Lavochkin's piston-engined fighter, even from the rear and showing the frames supporting the engine cowling panels, and I see that it was cylindrical. The metal plates on the sides were not only for hot exhaust fumes, but also to contribute to widen the fuselage of LaGG-3, whose wooden part was identical to that of La-5.
Massimo
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John Thompson
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« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2007, 12:59:40 AM »

The value in advancing a theory, even if it's rubbish, is that it can lead to useful discussion of the subject - I'm quite happy to poke my hat out on a stick to see if anyone shoots at it, if I learn something from the experience!  Cheesy So, if even the prototype LaGG-3/M-82 had a cylindrical cowling, where did the idea come from that the La-5 and La-5F had a tapered cowling? According to Milos Vestsik's La-5 book, it seems that cowling manufacture was a significant obstacle in completing the first production batches of the LaGG-5; could this be a clue?

I wonder if anything might be determined from one of the Russian forums? I'd be curious to know on what information Voronin based his 1986 drawings - these show *all* La-5 series aircraft, including the La-5F and La-5FN, to have tapered ("onion-shaped") cowlings, which we dispute today, based on photographic evidence.

John
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Dark Green Man
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« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2007, 02:39:32 AM »


No no - go here:
http://mig3.sovietwarplanes.com/la5/cowling/cowling.html
...for the latest La-5 series cowling thinking, substantiated with photos. It's also what's shown in the drawings in Milos Vestsik's "Lavochkin La-5" book, published by MBI. No onion-shapes!!!? Shocked
BTW, this also means that the VES/Cooperativa/Eastern Express 1/72 kit, which, in its Cooperativa form at least, is called a "LaG-5", is correctly molded, in that it has a tapered cowling. Trouble is, just try to find decals for one, or photos of a *real* LaG-5...


having reviewed the matter in more detail I believe the truth is more complicated...as usual.
it seems to me the onion-shaped cowling was on earlier planes and not on the later ones, and I do not know exactly when it changed.
I do not believe it has any significance with the engine fitted under the cowling
it seems the cowling was complicated and difficult to manufacture so it was deemed necessary to simplify it so that production would not be slowed down.
add to that the scarcity of the 'F' engine and many of the aircraft you think are La-5F are really just La-5 ,
even if it has a bubble canopy.
it seems logical to me the same thing goes for the 'FN' engine, as I imagine that fuel-injection must have been a very new idea in the USSR at the time.
so it seems that unless it has an 'F' or 'FN' badge on the cowling or tail it is just an La-5
even if it has a cylindrical cowling and bubble canopy

as you can probably tell I'm also interested in finding correct decals and also what kit they are intended to fit. I am in agreement with you about the VES kit and the lack of correct and accurate decals for it.
(also boxed under the Maquette name with an excellent quality set of decals, as for accuracy that is a different matter)

are you saying that Milos' new book on the La-5 shows cylindrical cowling for all, including the 'Razorback'?
(another book on the list that hasn't been added to my collection yet)
edit : this book is now in my collection--it was worth the wait!
I would like to see some 1/48 decals based on this book.

[/color]
« Last Edit: June 14, 2008, 06:22:49 AM by Dark Green Man » Logged

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Dark Green Man
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« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2007, 03:28:25 AM »

The value in advancing a theory, even if it's rubbish, is that it can lead to useful discussion of the subject -


I don't think your theory is rubbish , it actually makes a lot of sense.
[/color]

Quote
I'm quite happy to poke my hat out on a stick to see if anyone shoots at it, if I learn something from the experience! Cheesy

consider it shot at !
(good-natured teasing Smiley )
life should be a learning experience from your birth to your death.
[/color]

Quote
According to Milos Vestsik's La-5 book, it seems that cowling manufacture was a significant obstacle in completing the first production batches of the LaGG-5; could this be a clue?

Yes! I think it is a significant clue.
perhaps the cowling was more tapered ('onion') in the early machines and as production matured the angle of the taper was reduced slowly in stages.
it was also the complexity of fitting the M-82A , M-82F and M-82FN all under the same cowling,that could not have been easy!
also keep in mind there are a lot of series in between 312136xx (LaGG-3 M-82) and 312143xx (312145xx is La-7) and these might have been for continuing improvements in the cowling.
(aside from series 36 I do not know of any even-numbered series of La-5 , might these have been the La-5 UTI ? )
[/color]


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Renato71
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« Reply #27 on: July 09, 2007, 10:24:33 AM »

Man, those constructors are lucky to be far away from you guys - you would tear them apart? Grin

About onions, potatoes, F and FN… As far as I understood the story of La-5, "onion shaped" is much larger figure of speech then you would estimate. When designing cowling for first radial engine there were two things that presented problems: haste and manufacturing. There was a haste to start a new production line, and the design of cowling came out imperfect. Combined with relative poor manufacturing process (due to circumstances), new cowling was not hermetic enough. Air escaped everywhere and distorted the cowling, in some places/areas more then in another and as a result an aircraft with strangely shaped cowling could return from test flight.
You see, there are two means to control the cooling of radial engine, by regulating the intake and by regulating the exhaust (venting). If you close exhaust flap, air is trapped inside the engine space (plenum) and it prevents fresh air from entering. But, it requires hermetic vessel, and if it's not hermetic, air will try to escape through small openings, widening them in process in possibly deforming them as well. Non-hermetic space also cause drag due to inability to control the airflow, and that was the main reason to introduce changes in cowling in first "true" La-5 series.
I believe that any shape other then cylindrical was either result of poor initial craftsmanship, or later deformations during exploitation, and not a deliberate intention by designers.

Dark Green is correct regarding difficulties in production. There was also a problem if distributing the blueprints. Some factories had to invent their own solutions to already solved problem, especially when adapting old tools to new parts.
Engines available to individual factory led to funny combinations of engines and fuselages. One example is described by Dark Green: regular M-82 on a bubbletop fuselage. Another one is a reverse situation. Some factories kept producing LaGG-3, and much later on they received M-82 engines. So, they re-engined LaGG-3 into La-5. But, they never received blueprint for bubbletop fuselage and canopy, or blueprints for new tools. Before they were done or even started with re-tooling, they received a batch M-82F, and they simply screw it up on LaGG fuselage:

From "Voyna v vozduhe":


From "Lavochkin La-5" by MBI:


Of note is difference in comments, where Russian simply states "Area of Byelgorod, summer 1943", while Czech issue claims more in detail.
They looks like they are cammo, not one-colored.

Presence and type of the badge on the cowling is probably most important detail. It was not only an important telltale for mechanics, but most probably it was intended for pilots, as flying with each type of engine differed a lot.

But, let me return to Popkov saga… Here is the same pic as before, in different quality, and <FN> is clearly visible! (I've missed it last time, thanks for spotting)



Comment to pic says that white propeller tips were common to 5th GIAP.

And now, a bit of Jazz in F-major...

Quote: "National artist of Soviet Union, Leonid Utesov (on the wing, left) presents two? La-5F named "Veselye rebyata" specifically for the 5th GIAP. Both aircraft survived to the end of war."
Left side: "Veselye rebyata" ("Jolly bunch", name of Utesovs popular Jazz album and movie from 30's)
Right side: "Ot dzhaz-orkestra L. Utesova" (From L. Utesov's Jazz orchestra)




Photographed March 22nd 1944 (MBI), spring 1943 (Osprey), November 1943 (Voyna), depending on the source.? Roll Eyes
Luckily, I've been working on 5th GIAP history, so I guarantee its November '43, as at that time the regiment was converted to "new La-5".
Interestingly, there is no (F) on cowling, although all sources claim it's "F". Exhaust also looks more like non-F.

Now, this profile claims that this aircraft was flown by Alexandar Masterkov in November 1943, but colors look a bit dark to me. On pics it looks more like grey-grey cammo, especially when you take a look at hats and coats. Also, spinner is green, and it should be white.



As I'm still working on Popkov's and his regiment history, but I'm going to say only this:
He was awarded HSU on 8th September 1943, while on sick leave, after loosing his a/c immediately after scoring his 17th victory.
5th GIAP started to convert to "new La-5" during September '43.
Number of Victories on "01" is 33.

Thanks for all comments and M-82 discussion. They are more helpful then you think, for theory has advanced!

Well, LaGG-3 "25" with 3 victories - style of the number is familiar, but so far I found only pics that claim 3rd or 4th GIAP. And Popkov scored only 3 or 4 victories on LaGG-3. So, 17 - 3 = 14, on what machine?

Just for John, I've just run into this gem...? Cool



(dramatic space)






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Renato
Massimo Tessitori
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« Reply #28 on: July 09, 2007, 05:41:31 PM »

Hi Renato,  Smiley
I've found the same image on the MBI monograph  and I was ready to upload it. According to the comments and to the thing protruding from the flap, it should be an F, but not the 01 plane.
My compliments for the documents that you've collected.
Hi John, Smiley
about the drawings of Voronin: this could be an interpretation from front photos. They show the front ring as circular, the side panel line on the cowling as  curved, and reached the conclusion that the cowling was tapered as that of Ki-100. Possibly he didn't see images of the flaps from the rear, they only were decisive on this argument.
Massimo
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John Thompson
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« Reply #29 on: July 09, 2007, 11:14:56 PM »

Well, thanks, all, especially Renato for some great images. I guess I expected too much - I hoped the La-5/La-5F/La-5FN progression could have been better defined, but obviously not. I'm not surprised, considering the way the LaGG-3 "evolved", with (despite Stapfer's attempt at rationalizing things) no clear distinctions regarding (for example) a sharp cut-off between series 3 and series 4, or whatever. I guess it boils down to the late Modeler Al's signature line, "Build what you want, the way you want to, and enjoy yourself!". I'm at least confident now that I could build a model of "Stallion/White 01" that could be defended against the critics, *and* have fun doing it! (Sorry for derailing things here - this *was* Renato's thread to begin with, wasn't it!)? Wink

Note to DGM - yes, the drawings in Milos Vestsik's book show all variants to have the cylindrical (not shaped like an onion, turnip, or any other edible root...? Grin) cowling. I was willing to believe that this was based on Massimo's research, but it may be that Milos had other sources to refer to as well. You *really* should buy this excellent book!

John
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