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Yakovlev Yak-23

The first Yakovlev jet fighters

Yellow • 2008
AuthorsMarian Mikołajczuk
IllustratorArtur Juszczak, Marek Radomski
Release date2008-10-01
Cat. No.6124
CategorySold Out CategoryWyprzedana
FormatB5, 152 pages (84 in colour)
Price44.00 PLN Price13.99 GBP

The Yak-23 was the final development of the highly successful Soviet fighter series which began with the Yak-1 in 1940. Its immediate predecessors were the Yak-15 and Yak-17, both simple jet-powered versions of the wartime Yak-3, but the Yak-23 was an updated all-metal version of the basic design. It saw service with several Warsaw Pact air forces, as a lightweight fast-climbing interceptor. The design, development and operations of the Yak-15, -17 and -23 are described and illustrated in this book, which is copiously illustrated with photos, scale plans, drawings and colour profiles. An essential guide to these first-generation Soviet fighter aircraft!

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  • Aircraft Model • 2010-02-17
  • http://www.aerostories.org • 2010-02-17
    The Yak-23 is not among the best known Soviet jet fighter of the post-war era. It belongs to that category which fills the gap between the early Soviet jet fighters and the famous MiG-15. The book introduced the type by narrating the story of the previous Yak jet fighters (Yak-15 and Yak-17) which eventually paved the way to the Yak-23. If I am not an enthusiastic of the this part of the aviation history, I must say that I have learnt many things, and I took a real pleasure to read the book.

    Nevertheless, even if the career of the Yak-23 was short in Soviet Union, I would have appreciated to read more about its Soviet career. Indeed the career of the Yak-23 in Soviet Union was shortened when the MiG-15 was introduced into service and most of the Yak-23s found a second life with the Warsaw Pact countries. This chapter is well detailed with some interesting recollections, and is richly illustrated with many photographs (74 for the historical chapters) recalling the atmosphere of that time when taking photographs was a bit risky. Another point of interest, the story of the sole American Yak-23, borrowed after the defection of a Romanian pilot in Yugoslavia in 1953.

    As usual, the second part of the book is dedicated to the close-up of parts of the aircraft with photographs taken on surviving airframe and over 50 sides views, without forgetting the numerous 1/72e scales plans. For sure, another good book from Mushroom at a very reasonable price.

    Phil Listemann
  • IPMSUSA.org • 2010-02-17
    Reviewed By Charles Landrum, IPMS# 26328

    My thanks to Roger Wallsgrove, Editor-in-Chief of Mushroom Model Publications, who provided this review sample. I had the pleasure of meeting him and his team at the 2008 Nationals.

    The Yak-23 was the final fighter from Yakovlev which could trace its lineage that began with the Yak-1. The "Flora" (as named by NATO), while a great deal different than the Yak-15 and 17, still showed hints of its origin as a tadpole derivative of the Yak-3. The Yak-23 went on to populate many of the Warsaw Pact air forces as the Soviet Union transitioned to the Mig-15. With the ascendancy of Mig, the Yak-23s days were numbered the last of them were phased out in the late 1950s. Still the Flora was a good and forgiving transition aircraft for these air forces before they too moved on to their Migs.

    This latest portfolio in Mushroom models Yellow Series not only covers the Yak-23 but also the preceding Yak-17 and Yak-15 models. Poland had a central role in the operation and aborted production of the Yak-23 and it is obvious that this author had access to veterans, archives and photographs providing an additional richness to the book. It is a good mix of narrative for the aviation enthusiast and detail for the modeler. The book is full of high quality photographs, vintage images in clear B&W and sharp modern color photos. It also contains a good number of excerpts from aircraft technical manuals. The first 60 pages of the book is the narrative with photos and drawings that traces the development of the family starting with the Yak-15 through to the Yak-23 including an overview of operational history of each. The next sixty pages provide the detail photos and drawings of each aircraft. The final 30 pages is a series of color profiles, again covering all three aircraft. The chapter break down is as follows.

    Yak-15 Design and Development

    The book opens with the story of the development of the Yak-15. The chapter briefly mentions the other competitors in the race for a Soviet jet fighter, but really focuses on what was achieved. Included are some nice drawings of the Yak-15. A very helpful development diagram precedes the chapter outlining the family tree.

    Birth of the Yak-17

    This is a brief chapter that outlines not only the refinements, notably the tricycle landing gear, which formed the basis for the Yak-17. Also highlighted was the development of the Yak-17 UTI 2-seat trainer, which became the first two seated Soviet trainers.

    Yak-17 Successors

    A two-page chapter, it discusses the Yak-19 and Yak-25. Although dead-ends, their development contributed to the development of the Yak-23.

    Yak-23 Development

    This chapter is not long on design details; it really is a summary of the short developmental life of the aircraft. The Yak-23 began as a private development by a team of designers of the Yakovlev Bureau led by a chief designer who would not let go of the Yak-15 development line. Powered by a licensed copy of the Derwent 5 engine the Yak-23 was a lightweight development. By the time the plane was introduced it was superseded by the Mig-15 and the Flora was shipped to Warsaw Pact nations.

    Yak-17 and Yak-23 Exports

    Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania took delivery of the Yak-23 in that order. The author outlines the role the aircraft played in these air arms. The most interesting part of this chapter is the discussion of the USAF acquisition, testing and return of a Yak-23, all without the apparent knowledge of the Soviet Union.

    Yak-23 Structure

    While this chapter begins with a description of the aircraft and its specifications, the more interesting portion is a discussion of the flight handling of the aircraft. This evaluation is based on remembrances of Polish pilots and is quite interesting. It is too bad that not more space is devoted to these recollections.

    Detail Photos

    Broken down by aircraft type, this chapter is dense with pictures and drawings. The pictures are good with walk-arounds of each type including Yak-15, Yak-17, Yak-17 UTI and the Yak-23. The most complete information is on the Yak-23 which includes details from the original technical manuals.

    Color Profiles

    Mushroom Model Publications includes 65 original color profiles in the book. These include all operators of the Yak-15, Yak-17, Yak-17UIT and the Yak-23 including the USAF "borrowed" aircraft. Typical of the era, most of the planes are not very colorful either green over blue, gray or silver. Still there are some surprising exceptions.

    In summary this is a nice book on a family of unheralded aircraft that paved the way for the Soviet Union and it satellites states to enter the jet age. If you have any interest in the Early Yak jets this book is essential and provides more coverage than the Yefim Gordon book, Early Soviet Jets.

    Highly Recommended.
  • InternetModeler.com • 2010-02-17
    By Chris Banyai-Riepl

    Although titled Yak-23, this book actually covers the first three Yakovlev jets, including the Yak-15 and Yak-17. While many manufacturers started with clean-sheet designs, some, including Saab and Yakovlev, chose to adapt existing piston-engined aircraft to jet power (the Saab design was the J-21, for those interested). For Yakovlev, they adapted their successful Yak-3, replacing the Klimov engine with a Jumo 004. While this gave excellent results, the tailwheel arrangement soon led Yakovlev to modify the aircraft further, changing the fuselage design to accommodate a tricycle landing gear. Further refinements and a change in engine to the Rolls-Royce Derwent (in license production) led to the Yak-23.

    This latest Yellow Series title provides what is easily the most thorough English language history on these early Yakovlev jet fighters. The text is well written and does a great job of detailing the development of the Yak-23, as well as the Yak-15 and Yak-17. Scale drawings done to the usual high quality illustrate the aircraft types to great effect, which should benefit those wanting to detail the old KP kit of the Yak-23 (which is currently the only game in town). Further aiding the detailer are several pages of detail photos taken of museum examples.

    While the main target of this book is to highlight the variants and construction of the aircraft, there are plenty of photos of operational Yaks as well.

    Complementing these photos are several pages of color profile illustrations. As the Yak-23 was mainly an export aircraft, this results in quite a few small air forces depicted. The illustrations are done quite well, and include some upper and lower views. Overall, this is a very welcome addition to the Mushroom Yellow Series, and a great part of any early Soviet jet reference library.
  • ModelingMadness.com • 2010-02-17
    Reviewer: Scott Van Aken

    This new book from Mushroom Models Publications is on the Yak-23, one of the Soviet Union's earliest jet fighters. Though derived from German engineering, it had a wholly Soviet fuselage with what was then a cutting edge British turbojet engine. It was thanks to this moment of stupidity by the British is providing Nene engines to the Soviets that they were able to catch up and in some ways surpass the West when they brought out the MiG-15. But that is another story.

    The Yak-23 story actually starts much earlier with the Yak-15. This was basically a Yak-3 airframe with a Jumo 004 grafted onto the nose. Built in small numbers, along with the Yak-17, these aircraft introduced the Soviet air force to turbojet operations. Even the Yak-23 was not heavily mass produced as the far more potent MiG-15 entered service shortly after the Yak-23 and so relegated the type to Warsaw Pact nations and Soviet training units.

    In this book, the author provides a full history of all these aircraft including both development and operational use by the various services. This is then followed by a details section that uses period tech manuals and photographs as well as images from the many extant airframes to show the different parts of the aircraft, including those sections that are different from type to type. Finally, there are many pages of superb color profiles showing the type in all variations and in use by all services. This is additionally enhanced throughout the book by 1/72 line drawings of the different versions that includes all of the trainer aircraft as well.

    It is another great addition to the MMP family of books that offers all that both the modeler and the enthusiast are seeking in a book on a specific aircraft. It is a book that I found to be superbly done and one that I can highly recommend to you.

    December 2008
  • Cybermodeler.com • 2010-02-17
    By Ray Mehlberger
    Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) is based in Redbourn, Herts, UK. They are in cooperation with Stratus Publications in Sandomierz, Poland. Their books are printed in Poland, but in the English language.

    This new book is in MMP’s usual 9” x 6 ¾” soft-cover format, that they use for their series of aircraft books and a few armor ones. This book is 152 pages in length.

    The book describes the design, development and operational use of the first jet fighters from the Yakovlev Design Bureau in the USSR. It features the Yak-15, -17 and –23. I think the title should have mentioned the Yak-15 and 17, instead of just the –23.

    Starting from the very successful wartime Yak-3, the Yakovlev team adapted the airframe to take a captured German Jumo 004 jet engine. This proved an ideal introduction to jet powered flight, as the Yak-15 retained all the excellent (and well known) flight characteristics of the Yak-3. Further development produced the Yak-17 with nosewheel undercarriage, and eventually a wholly new design using the same basic layout was produced, the Yak-23 powered by a license-built Rolls-Royce Derwent engine (RD-500). This was a fine light-weight fighter with excellent climb performance (it established several world records). However, the MiG-15 was in production by this time, so the Yak saw little service in the USSR. It did prove a useful introduction to modern jets for many Warsaw Packt air forces though.

    The design, development and use of all these aircraft are described in detail, profusely illustrated with 73 black and white photos, 18 side profile line drawings and three 5-views. The cover of the book has a color photo and there are 37 color walk-around shots of a Yak-15 in an un-named museum, 23 color walk-around shots of a Yak-17 in Letecke Museum, Kbely, 13 color shots of a Yak-17UTI shown outdoors at an un-named location, 41 color walk-around shots of Yak-23’s displayed outdoors as a monument in Zakopane and another un-named location, Yak-23 in color shown indoors at MLP, Krakow in 13 walk around shots.

    The color profiles are of:
    12 Yak-15 side-views in Soviet marks (plus one 2-view)
    1 Yak-15RD side-view in Soviet marks
    6 Yak-17 side-views in Soviet marks
    1 Yak-21 side-view in Soviet marks
    5 Yak-17UTI side-views in Soviet marks
    2 Yak-17UTI side-views in Chinese marks
    2 Yak-17W side-views in Polish marks
    3 Yak-17W side-views in Romanian marks
    1 Yak-23 side view in Bulgarian marks (plus a 4-view and two 2-views)
    1 Yak-23 upper and lower illustration in Czech marks
    3 Yak-23 side views in Czech marks
    11 Yak-23 side-views in Polish marks (plus a 2-view and upper and lower illustration)
    1 Yak-23 side-view in captured US marks
    1 Yak-23 side-view in Soviet marks (plus a 2-view)

    Mentioned as forth coming, on the back cover of this book is “North American P-51D Mustang”.
  • Replic nr 214 • 2010-02-17
  • Czech modeller's magazine HPM 1/2009 • 2010-02-17
  • SAMI • 2010-02-17

    Subject: Potez 63 Family and Yakovlev Yak-23 – The first Yakovlev jet fighters

    Pages: 176 plus pull-out plans, and 152

    Format: SB / larger than A5

    Photographs: Many; one period colour in Potez book, some of preserved machines in Yak book Illustrations: Colour profiles and plans (95 in Potez book, 68 in Yak), scale plans and period diagrams

    Price: Around £14.99 and 13.99

    Availability: www.mmpbooks.biz

    What they Say: “The latest book from MMP describes the design, development and operational use of the French Potex 63 family of twin-engine aircraft, the most numerous modern design available to the Armée de l’Air and Aeronavale in 1940. An invaluable reference source for aircraft historians and enthusiasts, and scale modellers.”

    “The latest book from MMP describes the design, development and operational use of the first jet fighters from the Yakovlev design bureau, the Yak-15, -17 and -23. An invaluable reference source for aircraft historians and enthusiasts, and scale modellers.”

    What we Say: In neither case can I argue with MMP’s assessment of the value of these recent titles. The publisher is prolific and continues to deal with subjects less well covered elsewhere, but the quality of its books generally just keeps improving. If you’re building any of the Azur Potez 63 kits the new MMP book will be invaluable, especially given that it includes a set of 1:72 scale plan views drawn on a pull-out piece of thick A3 paper, with a detailed cutaway on its reverse. The relevant scale profiles and front views are included within the book, along with the plethora of colour profiles, manual drawings and a huge number of photographs. Ally these with text by José Fernandez and at this price you couldn’t ask for a better book on what in some respects was France’s Bf 110.

    A cursory glance at the cover of MMP’s Yak volume and you could be forgiven for thinking that it covers only the Yak-23. Look more closely and you’ll see that in fact it details all the early Yak fighters, from Yak-15 to -23, through their development and operational use. Scale plans to 1:72, manual drawings, period black and white images and a comprehensive selection of colour photographs of preserved Yaks complement the colour profile selection. Fewer of the latter are in natural metal than I’d anticipated and I particularly like the red and grey Yak-15 flown by a Russian aerobatic team. The text is comprehensive and includes details of ‘export’ operators as well as providing all the technical data that you could wish for. In summary, if either of these books covers your area of interest, or if you just collect the MMP series, you won’t be disappointed.

    Paul E Eden

    Thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review copies

  • IPMS UK Magazine 4/2009 • 2010-02-17
  • Skrzydla Polska • 2009-09-01

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