|Hobbycraft 1/72 Mig-15|
When flown by an expert, the Mig-15 was able to exact quite a toll on US aircraft as seen by the now available information on Russian pilots who flew during that conflict. A rugged and simple to maintain aircraft, the Mig-15 was exported widely and in its two seat trainer variant, might still be found in some air forces.
I saw this kit on the shelf at a local Hobby Lobby during their half price sale and couldn't resist picking it up to see what was in the box. Frankly, I was lured in by the rather exotic decal selection shown on the rear of the box! I'm just a sucker for that kind of stuff! Anyway, once opening the slightly crunched box, a single sprue of light grey plastic awaited me. It looked vaguely familiar. Now I've not bought or built the Dragon Mig-15 kit, but this one sure looks a lot like that one.
There is oodles of depressed rivet detail and very finely done panel lines. The general surface of the plastic is quite matte and some parts display a touch of flash on them. The backside of some parts like the wing inserts, nose gear floor and instrument panel are extremely rough. The upper wings have some ejector pin towers that should be trimmed down before assembly. The under wing fuel tank shape looks a trifle off somehow and I'm also not sure that the intake opening is right, either, but that will have to wait until construction. I've heard that the Dragon kit has the wrong wing sweep, but frankly, unless it is grossly off, I won't spot it.
In terms of options, the only one I see is the choice to install the wing tanks and to have the canopy open or closed. The framework of the canopy is separate from the clear bit, an arrangement that I generally don't like, but I'll wait to see how it builds before passing judgment on it. Clear bits are thin enough and mine have a few stress lines in them so I won't be putting any pressure on them.
Hobbycraft instructions have been improving through the years and these are well done. No historical background but lots of color info and a nice color chart in several languages. No FS or any specific paint line correlation is given, just generic names. No indication of any needed nose weight is provided, but I can assure you that it will be needed. Judging from the look of the kit, you'll also need a blanking plate behind the intake to keep what weight you put in there from falling out!
The real attraction of the kit (at least for me) is the decal sheet. Hobbycraft decals are among some of the best in the industry and this one has a super choice. There are two North Korean aircraft, one with a large red nose (two insignia options are provided for this plane) and one that is in a camo scheme of tan, brown and green over light blue. The rest (as are the first two Korean planes) are in natural metal. A nice Chinese version with an all red tail section, then an Egyptian version from the 1956 war, and is a Tanzanian aircraft from 1968 with a yellow nose and rudder with a zebra on the nose. The last two are from Guinea and are identical with a large red cheat line down the side. Only the insignia is different with one from 1962 and another from later in 1966.
The kit is listed as being suitable for beginners and that seems like a fair assessment. New modelers might be put off by the rough surfaces on the back of some parts and the small bits, but otherwise, it looks like a nice build and something not too difficult.
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