Yak-1b, unknown iap/giap (related to Pokrovskiy)

By Michal Sekula

Updated on August 21, 2021

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This Yak-1b is usually attributed to V.P. Pokrovskiy, 2 giap SF (North Fleet). However, according to http://scalemodels.ru/modules/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14205&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=160 it did not belong to Pokrovskiy. The pilots were filmed somewhere in Bulgaria (the sailors seemed to be standing at the Yambol airfield) near someone's damaged plane, while maintenance was performed - the photo shows the tapes of the water radiator hanging under the fuselage. This information originates from Pokrovskiy himself.

According to http://airaces.narod.ru/all3/pokrovsk.htm Pokrovskiy flew Hurricane, P-40 Kittyhawk and P-39 Airacobra. No Yak is mentioned there, the regiment did not use Yak-1b in combat operations.

According to https://massimotessitori.altervista.org/sovietwarplanes/board/index.php?topic=873.msg10335#msg10335 Pokrovskiy in the interview couldn't remember what colour was on the tail, but he insisted it wasn't red.
Btw, how did he know details about colors of this plane when he was far on the North (North Fleet) while this plane was on the South (Black See Fleet)?

Well, what where the colors? We have only this one photo, where only known color is red on the stars. Front part of the plane is not known at all. But because painting on this plane shows similar characteristics like Stepanian's Il-2M http://massimotessitori.altervista.org/sovietwarplanes/board/index.php?topic=995.msg16040#msg16040 and other decorated planes, its front part was very probably also quite colorful. Definitely we see here distinctive anti-camouflage, not camouflage in standard war colors.
Almost everything on this plane is a pure guess and this is the reason why so many interpretations exist.

Here is my interpretation:

- Looking at the shadows, sun is almost directly above and slightly to the left and behind the photographer.
- Base color could be silver, because the small reliefs of the sides are put in great evidence. Besides there is clearly a dark stripe visible on the wingroots, plus a lighter one that is likely a reflection on a silver painted fillet. There is also a strong reflection of the sun on the metal wing root as well as top of the fuselage (AMT paints were semigloss/matt).
- No color demarcation line on the fuselage is visible - was silver paint on the whole plane, or only on the upper surfaces while underwings were original light blue AMT-7?
- Leading edge on the horizontal stabilizer is significantly brighter than rest of the stabilizer upper surface, probably white.
- Color of the tail is different from the red star – could be any polished dark color – my choice was blue. Grey would not be “decorative” enough.
- Bright rectangular looks like repair - yellowish nitroputty over fabric?
- Whole mid-to-front part of the plane is pure speculation – I chose at least style & color consistent with the rest of the plane (and with other colorful planes).
- Color of the antenna mast? Shade of grey is similar to the shade on the tail while tip is dark as the red stars.
- Moving part and the rear part of the cockpit canopy is missing and pilot leans against the covered armored glass behind the seat.