DML 1/72 Jian Ji-5
KIT #: 2513
PRICE: $4.00 at auction
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1994 release


The Shenyang J-5 (Chinese:歼击机-5; pinyin: Jianjiji-5; literally "Fighter-5"), originally designated Dongfeng-101 - (East Wind-101), and also Type 56 before being designated J-5 in 1964, is a Chinese-built single-seat jet interceptor and fighter aircraft derived from the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17. The J-5' was exported as the F-5. NATO reporting name "Fresco".

The MiG-17 was license-built in China, Poland and East Germany into the 1960s, the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) obtained a number of Soviet-built MiG-17 Fresco-A day fighters, designated J-5 in the early 1950s. To introduce modern production methods to Chinese industry the PLAAF obtained plans for the MiG-17F Fresco-C day fighter in 1955, along with two completed pattern aircraft, 15 knockdown kits, and parts for ten aircraft. The first Chinese-built MiG-17F, (serialed Zhong 0101), produced by the Shenyang factory, performed its initial flight on 19 July 1956 with test pilot Wu Keming at the controls.

The J-5 and JJ-5 (two seat trainer) saw widespread use by the PLAAF until supplanted by more capable aircraft such as the Chengdu J-7. A small number of JJ-5's remain with the PLAAF. China and Pakistan both currently fly JJ-5 trainers. The single seat J-5 and the Soviet MiG-17 still flies today in the air forces of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mozambique, North Korea, Republic of the Congo, Somaliland, Sudan, and Tanzania.


This is one of DML's (now Dragon), earliest releases, but one that was very much appreciated by model builders. There are those who will gleefully point out all the errors in the kit, but the rest of use will either not notice them or don't care as it very much looks like what it is supposed to be.

Molded on one grey sprue with a clear sprue providing the canopy, the kit is actually rather well done. Engraved panel lines and sufficient cockpit and wheel well detail to please most are trademarks of this kit. You will need nose weight and there isn't a lot of place to put it so one will need to be creative in this regard.

The kit provides a separate tail section as the MiG-17 Fresco A, with the smaller speed brakes, is also boxed by DML, but in other regards, these are very much the same kit. As it is a day fighter, there isn't much in the way of under wing stuff aside from a pair of fuel tanks.

Instructions provide color information in Gunze and Italeri (Model Master) paints. There are markings for five aircraft, but really only four can be accurately done as the Czech roundels are not all correctly printed. Czech roundels always have the blue forward with the white part up or out, depending on placement. For the Polish version, I'm thinking no upper wing markings as I was corrected on this during the build of a 1/144 MiG-17. The others are Chinese, Syrian and North Vietnamese. The Syrian plane is in desert camo while the North Vietnamese one is the mythical Col. Toon's plane in a dappled camo. Decals are printed in Japan with the white parts actually closer to ivory than a pure white. While the kit decals are probably still good, I'd recommend aftermarket.

This kit has been out of production for well over 10 years, but can still be found with some ease if one looks for it. It makes into a fairly nice model as I found out when I built mine shortly after the kit was released.


May 2011

Thanks to me for overbidding at an auction for this one.

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