Airfix 1/72 MiG-17F 'Fresco'
KIT #: A03091
PRICE: 12.99 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2019 tooling

HISTORY

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.

THE KIT

Usually 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.

As 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.


CONCLUSIONS

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.

REFERENCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-17

January 2020

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