Hobbycraft 1/32 MiG-17F 'Viet Nam'

KIT #: HC 1692
PRICE: ~$40.00
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


Following the success of the MiG-15, it was realized that in order to keep pace with western aircraft, the type needed to be improved. Though similar in layout to the MiG-15, the MiG-17 has a number of major differences. The airframe is larger, the engine different in that all the initial versions have an afterburner, the wings are a different shape, it carried more fuel and so on.

The type was also developed into a good fighter-bomber, though typical of Soviet designs, it wasn't able to carry much or it couldn't carry it very far. Still, it was widely exported and there wasn't a Soviet client state in the 1960s that did not have some of these on hand. They were easy to fly, easy to maintain and were quite rugged. They also maneuvered quite well and, as many American pilots found during the Vietnam War, in the hands of a skilled pilot were a dangerous adversary even to much newer aircraft.

Thanks to their basic simplicity and ease of maintenance, they are popular jet warbirds.


I am uncertain of exactly when this first came out, but it was while HobbyCraft was still going strong so I'm guessing about 20 years back. It is quite typical of the Chinese-developed kits of the time with somewhat soft engraved panel lines and recessed rivet detailing. This kit appears to be free of any sort of major molding glitches, but actual building will tell just how clean the molds actually are.

Taking a clue from their 1/32 MiG-15, this one is strongly based on the engineering of the Tamiya 1/48 MiG-15. It has a fuselage split into front and rear halves with a full engine. This will mean that the builder will need to be rather inventive in terms of finding room in the nose for weight and it will need quite a bit.

There is a full cockpit tub with raised detailing on the side consoles and the instrument panel. No decals here. Rudder pedals are molded in place and you are provided with a fairly nice bang seat and a pilot to fit into it. If one isn't going to use the pilot, then I'd recommend hunting up a resin seat with more detail and with belts. Even though not included with the kit, a large cylindrical nose weight is shown. The lower forward fuselage insert includes the nose gear well. Cannon are separate items that are scabbed on as with most MiG-15/17 kits.

Wings are upper and lower halves with the main wells molded in the bottom. There are separate ailerons, elevators and rudder. The drawing that shows the wing assembly is quite confusing showing some rather odd and apparently unused assembly that almost looks like horizontal stabs, but have different part numbers than the ones shown later. Landing gear are nicely once with separate wheels. The tires are made from rubber so it will be easy to paint the wheels without masking. I should mention that the instructions have to paint the gear wells and interior in 'interior green'. This is pretty much incorrect as cockpits were generally a grey as were the wells.

As mentioned you get a full engine, which has to be built up to some degree in order to have a proper exhaust. This also means a seam where the rear fuselage section attaches. Those not wanting to show off an engine will need to deal with this. It may be easier to glue the front and rear fuselage haves to each other, then trap the engine in place when closing the fuselage. Again, it is just like the Tamiya MiG-15 kit. You are also provided a dolly for holding the rear fuselage section.

Though you do not get the missiles and pylons, you do get the radar nose and longer windscreen part for the MiG-17PF in the box.

Instructions are adequate to build the kit, but I'd think twice about some of the color call outs. There are markings for four planes. Three are in unpainted metal including the red tailed North Vietnamese plane shown on the box art. Also are a Syrian plane from 1967 and an Angolan version with the 1978 markings scheme. Finally, in dark grey over light grey is a plane from Burkina Faso in 1990. Since this is a 'black box' hobbycraft kit, the decals should be very nice and still usable, even after all these years. For some reason, you are provided with extra insignia for the last two options.


1/32 MiG-17s are few and far between so if you like the plane and you like them big, this is pretty much it. I would be surprised were there not any aftermarket bits as the kit could use new wheels and a bang seat.

September 2017

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