1/48 ICM LaGG-3

Galchenko's LaGG-3

Gallery Article by Polly Singh on Feb 13 2013

 

 

In October-December/41 the 145 IAP of the Soviet Air Force was moved from the Murmansk front and reorganized into 609 IAP at Kandalaksha; this unit was equipped with I-16, LaGG-3 (Lavochkin-Gorbunov-Gudkov-3) and MiG-3s. Major Leonid Galchenko was made commander of the new unit. By 6th Jun 42 Galchenko was made a Hero of the Soviet Union. The famous white cat was painted in Semptember 1941. Galchenko decided to paint a cat in answer to the "Tigers head" he saw on a Me-109 that he tangled with several times on the Karelian front. He considered this as a sort of talisman, and it looks to have functioned well, because he was never shot down. (This aircraft with a later black cat was shot down once, but that time the pilot was not Galchenko but his wingman- Mironov. The red stars on the tail and fuselage were overpainted with camo colors; the addition of a red star on the spinner was probably painted at the time, because the whole fuselage was left without any national marking. Large splotches of white distemper were applied during the winter and probably to clean up the aircraft for a PRO shoot the scuffing on the wing walks were painted over with black.

 

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This is my rendition of that aircraft using the excellent ICM example. Completely OOB, I used Tamiya acrylics and artists water colours for the white distemper.

Galchenko became deputy commander of 324 IAD (Fighter Aviation Division), and he received an La-5F, on whose tail he painted the cat emblem again.  He continued to fly combat over the Arctic and on Karelia till the end of the war, totalling 24 individual victories, plus 12 shared, in 310 sorties. 

(Thanx to Massimo Tessitori)

Polly Singh

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Photos and text by Polly Singh