Hobbycraft 1/48 MiG-17F

KIT #: HC 1437
PRICE: $5.00 'used'
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: 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 very similar looking MiG-15 of the Korean War. The MiG-17 was license-built in China as the Shenyang J-5and 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.

When the Iron Curtain fell the MiG-17 was still in use by Warsaw Pact countries and by the Chinese. As such, the type became available to whomever could afford on. This resulted in a rather large number of Chinese and Polish-built types being registered on the war bird market. Their simplicity and ease of maintenance has made them quite popular.


I'll start this off by stating that this kit was bought at a show for a very reasonable price as it had no decals. I was later to find that it also did not have the clear bits. That is my fault as I simply did not check closely enough. I'd like to think the vendor was also unaware of the omission. MiG-17 decals in this scale are easy to locate. Not so much a MiG-17 canopy.

I built this kit back in the mid 1980s or so when it first came out and it was quite typical of the Hobbycraft kits of the day. The cockpit is fairly well appointed, with a six piece bang seat and an instrument panel. While no control stick is shown in the instructions, there is one of a sorts. There is raised detail on the side consoles and panel.

The intake has no backing plate and only goes in about an inch or so. Not much in the way of a nose gear well, just an upper piece on which to attach the nose gear. There is room for nose weight and you will need some. When joining the fuselage halves together, the short burner can is all you have for an exhaust.

Wings are upper and lower halves for each side with holes you open for rocket rails if you want to use them. Other bits under the wings are fuel tanks or bombs as they both fit on the same spot on the lower wings. Also in upper and lower halves are the horizontal stabilizers. Landing gear is fairly well done and while the main gear wells appear a tad shallow, for most this won't be an issue.

The canopy looks to be a separate windscreen and canopy assembly and the other clear bit is a landing light lens. Typical of MiGs like this, all the guns are separate as are the bulges associated with them. The kit is molded as a Fresco C so if you want to do an A model, you are pretty well out of luck. The instructions show how to reduce the size of the speed brakes for the A but do not address the different exhaust shape. There are no T shaped radar altimeter antennas provided.

Instructions are quite basic but adequate. They provide limited color information during the build. There are six markings options in this boxing. As I said, this kit did not have the decals, but through the magic of the Internet, I found an image of them. The options are Vietnam, Egypt, Congo, Somalia, and two Nigerian planes. All but one Nigerian plane is in unpainted metal with the camouflaged one in (probably) a dark green. Since this is a 'black box' Hobbycraft kit, the decals, even after all these years, should still be viable.


Though surpassed by the HobbyBoss version, this and the Smer kit can still be made into very nice models for your display shelf. They are easily found and relatively inexpensive on the second hand market.



October 2018

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