Airfix 1/72 MiG-17F 'Fresco'
Scott Van Aken
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 (Russian: Микоян
и Гуревич МиГ-17; NATO reporting
name: Fresco) is a high-subsonic fighter aircraft produced in the USSR from 1952
and operated by numerous air forces in many variants. It is an advanced
development of the similar looking MiG-15 of the Korean War. The MiG-17 was
license-built in China as the Shenyang J-5 and Poland as the PZL-Mielec Lim-6.
MiG-17s first saw combat in 1958 in the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis and
later proved to be an effective threat against more modern supersonic fighters
of the United States in the Vietnam War. It was also briefly known as the Type
38 by U.S. Air Force designation prior to the development of NATO codes.
5,467 MiG-17, 1,685 MiG-17F, 225 MiG-17P and 668 MiG-17PF were built in
the USSR by 1958. Over 2,600 were built under license in Poland and China. The
main difference between the MiG-17 and other variants is that the F and other
types had an afterburning engine.
Airfix has been releasing new tool kits of older offerings from their
catalog. The MiG-17F is different in that Airfix never had one of these in
their older toolings. It is a most welcome kit as the most recent one before
this was the Dragon offering from 20 years back. Even before that, Hasegawa
had an overscale MiG-17PF in this scale.
Detailing on the kit is excellent as you'd expect. Not as fine as what you'd
find on a Hasegawa or Tamiya kit, but more than acceptable. The kit is
molded in the UK so no issues with short shot pieces. I did find the sprue
attachments to be somewhat larger than with other kits, but not really an
issue. No flash, sunken areas, or visible ejector pin marks.
The cockpit is built inside the two halves that make up the intake. While
there are no rudder pedals, I don't think that is an issue as they'd be
fairly hidden. Decals are used for instruments, which is fine. A 'smiling
jack' pilot figure is provided if you wish to use one. There is some belt
detail on the two piece ejection seat.
With the interior/intake assembly done, that is set aside and the exhaust is
built. You have two options here, one for open and another for closed speed
brakes. Speed brake well detail is molded on the exhaust pipe and apparently
this sticks out enough so you can't close the brakes. After installing the
cockpit and exhaust pieces into the fuselage, 10 grams of weight goes in the
nose. Then the lower forward fuselage piece is installed. This contains
about 1/4 of the nose ring. The other 3/4 of it is then attached.
The only options for things under wings on this boxing are the drop tanks.
There are holes for inner pylons with rocket pods and outer wing rocket
rails, but these are not used with this boxing. One then attaches the build
up wings and the tailplanes. The two pieces for the rudder are separate.
Cannon housings are separate as seems to be standard on MiG-15/17 kits.
All the landing gear pieces are next and these are well done. Main wheels
are slightly flattened. You can also build this gear up if you wish. The
last items are attaching the wing tanks and the separate windscreen/canopy.
The kit provides a canopy with and without the rear vision mirror. The one
with it is used in this boxing. In case you didn't put in enough nose
weight, an oil drum is provided to prop up the tail.
usual, the well done instructions provide only Humbrol paint numbers during
construction. The two markings options are the Shenyang J-5 as shown on the
box art in two shades of green for pretty much everything but the underside
of the wings and tailplanes. The other is a Soviet unpainted metal version.
There are and will be a variety of aftermarket decals out there for this
plane so don't think you are stuck with what's provided in the box. If you
want to use the kit markings they are very nicely printed and past
experience with Airfix decals has been positive.
I am pleased to see this one done. I don't know how much more accurate
it is compared to the Dragon version, but I can easily see that the kit has been
well thought out and has a decent amount of detail. There are aftermarket items
for the Dragon kit that should fit this one with little, if any modification
save for the cockpit. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to say that this one will
probably sell fairly well, and while none are currently available from US
retailers, I expect that to change fairly soon.
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