Hobbycraft 1/48 MiG-17F

KIT #: HC 1593
PRICE: $10.00 'used'
DECALS: Two 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 seems that at the time, Hobbycraft kits were not exactly sought-after items. However, old does not mean junk and it can be made into a very nice model.

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 (which are not provided with fins though the mounting areas are provided). Later boxings provide bombs but not this one. 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 is a single piece so no need to put a lot of work into the cockpit. 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. You will have to add nose weight to keep it from being a tail sitter, but there is plenty of room. There are no T shaped radar altimeter antennas provided.

Instructions are quite basic but adequate. They provide no color information during the build. There are two markings options for this one. The first is the box art plane of the North Vietnames air force. The second is an Indonesian air force plane with the large fin markings. My experience with these older Hobbycraft decals is that they are best replaced with something else. Fortunately, there are aftermarket options out there.


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.



May 2022

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