Tamiya 1/48 MiG-15bis 'Clear Edition'
|$25.00 via Amazon
|Scott Van Aken
|Includes clear fuselage sprue and 1/48 GAZ 67B
While most of us are rather 'western-centric', it has been shown over the last 100 years, that the Soviets/Russians have been able to produce military equipment that is either equal or superior to much touted western technology. In the 1930s it was the I-16, in the 1940s it was the T-34 and during the Korean war it was the MiG-15.
Here was an airplane that took the US and western nations completely by surprise when it appeared in the skies over Korea. It was fast, climbed like an angel, was equipped with powerful cannon armament and was able to reach altitudes that the Sabre pilots could not reach. It was also easy to fly, easy to maintain and in the hands of an experienced pilot, was a deadly adversary. It did have its issues in that it could not dive all that well and at high speed tended to 'snake', making it less than a stable platform. However, in a dogfight, it was able to generally outmaneuver the heavier F-86. It also had rather short range.
The type knocked down more US/UN planes than the official histories care to admit and went on to be the standard day fighter of many Soviet friendly nations. Even today, Czech, Soviet and Chinese built MiG-15s are flying as war birds.
After a somewhat recent build article using this kit stated that the kit was somewhat difficult to find, I hit the 'net and was able to find this boxing for about $25.00 via Amazon. I have the initial boxing in the stash, but figured that having more than one kit would not be a bad thing. I am not a fan of clear airframes and perhaps that is why this one was available for such a reasonable price. The kit provides an additional 'A' sprue in clear plastic, which contains a lot of parts, including the fuselage bits. I will probably not be using this sprue, but it does provide a full cockpit that might prove useful for other projects. In addition, the kit includes a 1/48 GAZ-67B 1/4 ton truck. A useful diorama item and what looks like a nice kit in and of itself.
Tamiya's MiG-15 has a nicely detailed cockpit and bang seat. A pilot figure is included for those who like these. Weight is provided by steel balls that fit into pieces that afix to the front and rear of the cockpit assembly. The fuselage itself is divided into front and rear sections at the normal break area of the engine. This is because Tamiya provides a full engine with the kit. This must be installed as it includes the tailpipe, though one does not have to attach all the accessory bits. I should mention that the tail section will just snap in place and fits quite tightly.
All of the guns are separate items that need to be glued to the bottom of the fuselage. There are two styles of drop tank provided. One is the 'slipper' type and the other is a normal finned version. The builder needs to open holes in the bottom of the wing for this item. Flaps are separate items as well and can be posed lowered. Also separate are the speed brakes which can be displayed open or closed as one wishes. A nicely done windscreen and canopy are provided so it can be modeled open or closed. A tail stand is also part of the kit if one wishes to build up the engine and show the MiG undergoing maintenance. If choosing this option, you'd probably not want the pilot in the cockpit.
Instructions are well done in both cases and provide the usual Tamiya-only paint references. There are two sets of decals with this boxing. The one with this boxing's name on it has a slightly darker red than the standard sheet. In both cases the markings are identical with three natural metal planes, one with Soviet, one Chinese with an all red tail section, and the other with North Korean markings. Another Chinese plane in overall green with darker green squiggles is the third option.
Regardless of which boxing you pick up, you will be getting what is currently the best 1/48 MiG-15 on the market. It is a bit of a mystery why Eduard has not done this kit in this scale. This is especially because they offer it in both 1/144 and 1/72 scale. Perhaps they feel they cannot improve upon it or it could also be they are just biding their time to release one.
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