Hasegawa 1/72 MiG-17 "Nguyen Van Bay"

KIT #: 02864
PRICE: $12.00 on 'that auction site' several years back
DECALS: Three options
NOTES: Reissue with additional parts


The skies over Vietnam in the mid-1960s were a tough place to be. A lot of pilots from both sides lost their lives in that long war. This kit from Hasegawa gives you the mount of one of the aces who survived the whole war: Nguyen Van Bay.

Depending on who you believe, Nguyen Van Bay shot down 5 or 7 aircraft (the US credits him with 5, his own country with 7).

His career didn't start so well. On 6 October 1965 a Sparrow from an F-4 nearly hit his wing. He said "I felt like a light boxer who confidently walked up to the ring and tried to knock out the super heavy boxers. It was not a single fight but dozens of dogfights. We were outnumbered four or five to one. Our thoughts were on survival, nothing more."

He hit his stride the following year and, according to the US, he went on to shoot down two Crusaders, and one each of the Phantom, Skyhawk and Thunderchief. Vietnam credits him with another two F-4s (one of which, so far as I can tell, the US says was hit by ground fire). He was one of only three aces to fly the MiG-17 on all his missions.

In recent years, Nguyen Van Bay, who is still alive, grew mangos and raised fish near Ho Chi Minh city (once known as Saigon).

The MiG-17 he flew was one of the more than 10,000 of these nimble fighters built. Better than the MiG-15, the -17 had more maneuverability and was a bit faster. It packed two 23mm cannons and a monster 37mm cannon for good measure. The MiG-17 was very widely used in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well as in the USSR and China.


This is a nice, early Hasegawa kit. It's made from a good grey plastic, nicely moulded with a mix of raised and engraved panel lines. Cockpit detail is very limited. The clear canopy is very nice.

The kit actually depicts a later model MiG-17PM/PFU (
Fresco-E) which had a small radar mounted in the nose above the air intake. The kit comes with four basic renditions of the K-5 "Alkali" beam-riding missiles and their distinctive launch rails.

To give you the earlier MiG-17A Fresco A, Hasegawa includes a nicely moulded metal nose intake to backdate the plane. This is handy because it weighs a ton, so there'll be no need for nose weight to keep this plane sitting on its gear.

The undercarriage is reasonably detailed - typical of earlier Hasegawa models.

Decals - there are decals for Nguyen Van Bay's aircraft of the North Vietnamese Air Force. These decals don't look as good as you might expect from Hasegawa.


A solid kit of the MiG-17 and, in this boxing, an interesting specific example to build.

Not wanting to hi-jack Richard's nice preview, but a couple of things I noticed. One is that, aside from the new nose, this is the same MiG-17 as originally kitted. That means it does not have the smaller speed brakes of the MiG-17A nor does it have the correct canopy as the radar plane had a longer windscreen with framework not found on the MiG-17A/F versions.  I believe the kit is also somewhat over-scale with tail planes that are a bit too small. None of these should be deal breakers if you can find the kit at a reasonable price and are not overly concerned about the differences. Ed

Richard F

March 2011

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page