G-4 Super Galeb - Myanmar Air Force / Tamdaw Lay
Soko 1/72 scale
by Sebastian Lim
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The G-4 Super Galeb, a twin-seat basic trainer/light strike aircraft, was designed and built to replace the ageing G-2 Galeb. The prototypes first flew in 1978, along with pre-preproduction units in late December 1980. However, it was only in late 1983 that production G-4s became operational with the Yugoslav Air Force. Powered by a 4000-lb Rolls-Royce Viper 632 turbojet, the G-4 was developed into an advanced ground-attack trainer, with somewhat advanced avionics & nav/attack systems.
In 1991, six G-4 Super Galebs were delivered to Myanmar Air Force and assigned to Meiktila air base in central Myanmar. This deal was supposedly part of a 12 aircraft order, delivered in 2 batches of 6. But it appears only the initial six were delivered and 2 examples are probably still flying today. Due to the lack of spares and support, the G-4s are due to be replaced by the joint Chinese-Pakistani built K-8 Karakoram advance jet trainer.
About the kit
Since my interests are primarily in small air forces, I noticed of this unusual kit while browsing at my local hobby shop. It was the only box left stashed in one corner, and without any further hesitation (bloody bad habit of mine!), I grabbed it like I was a small kid having bought my first toy. Got back home, opened up the tiny box and saw what I like. Featuring nice recessed details with parts in 3 sprues, along with a nice injected clear canopy, all these bagged nicely!
But the 'thumbs up' goes to the decal sheet. With schemes for 3 different markings, 1)Yugoslav AF (prior 1992), 2) Bosnian Serb AF (prior 1992) and 3) Myanmar AF(1991), the sheet also includes more than 100 data stencils and mind you this kit measures not more than 16cm!! Reminds me of the countless number of stencils found on Japanese F-4 Phantoms :-).
Basically, this kit was built straight of the box, with only minor modifications made. The kit antennas were replaced by plastic styrene sheets. The kit HUD was also too thick, so I had replaced with a clear plastic sheet. The only other scratch-building effort was the nose section. A clear nose section that came with the kit was misplaced. Took me half a day rummaging for it and gave up after having decided to scratch-build one instead...and that took me only 30mins!
Despite the relative ease of construction, this kit is not without problems. But an average modeller can fix these with ease. Here goes:
1) Canopy & fuselage alignment - took the easy way out by working on the canopy. Some putty required.
2) Air intakes - shape problem. Requires some serious reshaping.
3) Sink marks - 'catch them while you can'. At 1/72 it sure looks humongous!
4) Decal registration - despite my positive assessment earlier, take note when using the Myanmar AF insignia. White 'lines' were visible against the 'blue edge' and even more on the dark green camo! The decals were printed on the somewhat off-white decal paper, making it hard to spot.
Colour callouts were included for both FS and Humbrol but I opted for Gunze enamels. Both H309 & H118(RLM78) were used and I added approximately 5% white to both colours. Weathering were used using a mixture of pastel + dishwashing liquid. Due to harsh tropical climate in Asia, I opted for a heavy weathered look but then again my photography skill is so bad that you could hardly see...somehow the seatbelts vanished as well! Must be the lighting I reckoned.
Decided to depict this bird with an GSh-231L 23mm under-fuselage gun pod, 2x drop tanks (of unknown capacity) and a pair of 4-shots rocket pod.
1) The Complete Encyclopaedia of World Aircraft
4) World Air Forces - Aerospace Publishing Ltd
Credit must be given to YuMo for their debut release. It's not the Tamigawa standard that we love to see but a lot of effort were put into this tiny gem. The level of research done is nothing short of spectacular...along with a nice box design. What's tempting me is that the instruction sheet did mentioned upcoming kits such as the G-2 Galeb, J-1 Jastreb & NJ-1 Jastreb Trainer. Would be even better if the J-22 Orao is in the pipeline!!
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