ICM 1/48 MiG-3 (late)
ICM 1/48 MiG-3 (late)
Eduard Seat Belts and Cutting Edge Instruments
a high altitude interceptor, the Mig 3 was fast and maneuverable when operating
in its intended role. However, the Mig 3 was found to be lacking in performance
at the lower heights where most air combat took place on the Russian front. In
fact most wartime pictures of Mig 3’s show them fitted with RS-82 rockets which
were generally used for ground attack (though I have read of them being used in
air-to-air combat as well). The Mig 3 was considered a “hot” ship with torque
induced swing on takeoff, unpredictable stall characteristics and high accident
rates among under-trained Russian pilots. Later versions of the Mig 3
incorporated a refined engine cowling and leading edge slats among other minor
changes. Though production was discontinued long before the end of the war, many
Mig 3s soldiered on until lack of spares or attrition ended their careers.
The ICM Mig 3 represents the “late”
version of the airplane. I for one was thrilled to find an injected kit of this
important Russian fighter in 1/48th. Having built ICM’s Yak 7DI I knew what I
was in for when I started this one. The kit is made of gray plastic with some
short shot areas (wing trailing areas) pebbly surface texture in spots and
plenty of mold release agent. On the plus side, there is a nice AM-35 engine,
detailed interior and separate control surfaces. The clear parts were a
highlight and looked great once dipped in future. Trumpeter and Classis
Airframes both market a 1/48th kits of the “early” version.
Since this kit was cheap $$$$,
I decided that I would “push the envelope” and try several new (to me at least)
techniques and mediums during the build. I decided to use the photo-etched seat
belts from Eduard as well as a Cutting Edge instrument set. I
decided to pose the control surfaces. Since I wanted to do the natural metal
finish on the cowling, I decided to try my own home version of bare-metal-foil.
Though the engine is nicely
detailed, I did not use it due to fit problems I have been warned about and my
past experience with the ICM Yak 7DI.
Unlike most aircraft kits, I
started by gluing the fuselage halves together. I then started building the 13
piece wing. A word to the wise; dry fit, dry fit, dry fit!!!! The critical area
here is the wing to fuselage joint. I had to use several pieces of left over
sprue to spread the forward fuselage and get an acceptable fit.
Before gluing the wing to
the fuselage, I assembled and painted the interior. Care must be taken to when
trimming and gluing the interior framework since it is very fine. I followed the
kit instructions and painted the interior and wheel wells a darkish gray with a
leather seat back and an aluminum seat base. The Cutting Edge instrument panel
was installed per the instructions, was hassle free, & looks great. The
seatbelts were installed as well and add tremendously to the look of the kit. I
gave the interior my standard
and dry-brushed it with silver to highlight the details. I then glued the
interior into the kit and glued the wing to the fuselage. Putty and sanding is
necessary to get a nice finish.
At this point, I cut the
movable portion of the elevators off, and glued them in the “dropped” position.
I also glued the ailerons on in the left roll position.
I took the one-piece front cowl
and tried something new. I cut a piece of kitchen spec aluminum foil to roughly
the same size as the cowl. I then brushed white glue onto the cowl surface and
rubbed the foil onto the cowl using my fingers, a q-tip and a tooth pick to
gently press the foil into the engraved detail. Once dry, I sanded down any
remaining creases with 2000 grit wet-or-dry sand paper and polished the aluminum
with a used dryer sheet.
I left the cowl off until after
painting. I glued the front and rear sections of the canopy in place. The canopy
fit so well that the removable center section snaps into place. I masked the
canopy using Tamia tape and a sharp #11 X-acto blade.
I have wanted to do Red 02
since first seeing the color profile of the plane. I actually spent hours
researching this scheme and studying the famous photograph of Red 02 in a lineup
of other Mig 3s on the
Moscow front. There is some
discussion about the color of the outer wing panels on Red 02. Some seem to
think that they may have been green as seen on the planes in summer. Since the
green is almost the same shade as the red and very difficult to differentiate in
a black & white photo, I opted for the red as shown in the color profile.
All paints used in this build are Polly
Scale acrylics. I used Russian underside blue for the lower portion of the
plane. The lower cowl was painted in flat aluminum. The prop was painted
aluminum with a blacked-out section on the back sides of the blades. I gave the
upper portion of the kit a coat of flat white and then masked off the wing
outers and shot them with Tamia red acrylic. At this point, I applied pastel
weathering to the panel lines and then sealed everything with a coat of future.
I used the kit decals for this
one with no problems. The clear area around the decals was trimmed with a new X-acto
blade. Though a bit “sticky” the decals went down fine. I had to apply water to
the area where the decal was to go and float the decal into place. Once the
decals were in place and almost dry, I brushed on some Champ setting solution
and I’m pleased with the results. All markings are correct according to the
photos of the actual plane. After weathering the decals, I gave the plane a
final semi-gloss coat of future to represent the hard wearing wax coating
applied to most Russian planes of WWII.
The landing gear and other
final bits were added at this time. I noticed in my research that the rear gear
doors on Red 02 had been removed and were replaced with a leather cover. I made
this up with toilet paper and rubber cement and painted it leather brown.
Well, I must say that I could
not be happier with the end result. I thank ICM for giving us an injected kit of
this great looking plane. That said the ICM Mig 3 is not a kit for the faint of
heart or those lacking in patience. This kit must be treated as a short run kit
due to the amount of cleanup and dry-fitting, the fiddly bits, and the scratch
building required for a passable end result. If you persevere it will improve
your skills. In fact, after finishing the ICM, I had the confidence to tackle my
first short-run, multi media kit (the Classic Airframes Mig 3 early).
Recommended for those with some model building experience.
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