Kit: Mig-15bis  

Scale: 1/48

Kit Number: 61043

Manufacturer: Tamiya

Price: $27.00 retail

Media: Injected plastic

Decals:  Four versions; two Chinese (one camoflaged), one North Korean, One Russian

Date of Review: 28 December 1997

Review and Photo by: Scott Van Aken

Another image at the bottom of the page

The MIg-15 was the West's big surprise of 1950.  Here was a fighter that in many ways was superior to the USAF's top gun, the F-86 Sabre.  The Mig was more agile, had larger calibre guns, climbed faster and had a higher ceiling.  It was only marginally slower, and what made the F-86 so successful was the training of its pilots. The Mig-15 soldiered on into the '90s in the trainer version, the Mig-15UTI.  It also led to the faster, but equally successful Mig-17.

Tamiya's kit is everything you expect from this premier Japanese model maker.  The parts are well detailed, fit together beautifully and require little of one's vast modeling skills.  This kit includes an engine and a removable aft fuselage section.  At first, I was not sure if I would like this feature, but Tamiya's engineering have made it work rather well.  It won't be a contest winner out of the box because of this, but I like it.  As well as the full detailed VK-1 turbojet, you get a boarding ladder, a canopy that can be displayed open or closed, a stand for the aft fuselage, and lowered flaps.  In addition, Tamiya have included a huge weight that helps keep this Mig from being a tail sitter with the extra weight of the engine.

There is very little to tell of the construction.  This kit is that good.  Even I couldn't goof this one up.  All the attachment points for parts are solidly constructed (including gear doors and struts) and near impossible to install backwards. The decals are by Vitachrome (Scalemaster) and while nice and opaque, mine were a bit on the brittle side. One had to handle them very gently to prevent bits from flaking off. Once installed, however, a bit of decals solvent snuggled them down very well.

Overall this is as near a perfect kit as the non-AMS (Advanced Modeler Syndrome) builder could want.  Highly recommended.

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