Kit: Mig-15 bis

Scale:  1/48

Kit Number: 61043

Price: $27.00

Media: Injected Plastic

Decals:  4 versions: one North Korean, one Russian, two Chinese

The Tamiya Mig 15 bis, in 1/48 scale is an excellent model of an important aircraft. The kit also represents excellent value for the money, when compared to the new Hasegawa F-86 Sabre. The kit has a removeable tail section that reveals a fully detailed engine.

Tamiya has thought of just about everything, a dolly for the removeable tail section. Best of all is the ingenius nose weight, to keep this natural tail sitter level. The kit has fully recessed panel lines, sliding canopy, dropped flaps, removeable tail, full engine detail, opened speed brakes. The kit is near perfect, with a few exceptions. As with all kits the super detailer will invest alot of time improving the level of detail in the cockpit, and with the visable engine. However I was quite content to build straight from the box. With natural break up of the kit, I elected to build it as three seperate models the tail, front, and then the engine. I had planed to build the kit with engine exposed, but lost an important sub-assembly along the way. Since the model was complete when I noticed this I chose not to glue the two halves together, as glue might mar the bare metal finish. The fit is excellent without glue, I placed a sprue antena on the kit, transported it in a snow storm to a local contest. Which is where the kit is now. The rear section assembled with no problems, and little work was required to prepare the tail for bare metal paint.

Painted with SnJ paints, this durable paint was masked over, and panels painted various other shades of metal. I then decaled the tail, placed it on the dolly, and left it for about 3 months. I then began the forward fuselege, with drilling out the holes in the wings for the drop tanks. I chose to use the large underwing tanks rather than the slipper style. After assembling the wings, I noticed that the drop tanks did not have the large pylon fairing that appeared in the photos. The kit tanks attach with a three strut system. My photos show two struts and a centerline pylon. Choosing not to use the tanks I found the three holes in each wing a difficult to fill and prepare for bare metal paint. Another area of difficulty for me was the lower front fuselege. The kit has four major pieces making up the front assembly. The front underside for me did not fit well at all. Although I feel this was my fault, because I was sloppy with the liquid glue, making for extra work with the sandpaper and scribing tool. Otherwise the fuselege halves, and wing fit very well, as does the intake ring. Mine was painted red, and added after the model was completed with a little bit of super glue.

Some other problems I had with the kit was the fit of the front windscreen. I felt that it could not be added after completion,  so I super glued it in place and faired over the seam. This removed alot fine rivet detail, and some panel lines which were time consuming to replace. The other major problem was with the design of the rear canopy. Tamiya often gives two piece rear canopies, which are difficult to work with. They give a clear part that needs to be glued to a frame. Since the fit is not very good, the part must be faired together, resulting alot of extra work for the modeller. Tamiya intent is save work by having less masking on the glass, and assembling after painting it doesn't work that way. The steel weight that hides behind the cockpit tub does a great job of keeping the tail heavy kit on its tri-cycle landing gear. The kit engine is straight forward, with some extra details easily added from fine wire. Overall the fit of the kit is quite good and I would recomend this kit to both experts, and an intermediate builder looking for a fairly simple to assemble kit improve their bare metal painting skills.

Review by Ronn .

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