Zvezda 1/72 MiG-17 'Fresco'
KIT #: 7318
PRICE: $18.00 delivered from Estonia
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Dragon/DML tooling


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.

The initial production aircraft had the same engine as the MiG-15 and were not fitted with an afterburner. It was these versions that initially equipped the North Vietnamese Air Force as well as a number of Warsaw Pact and other Soviet-friendly nations.

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 one. 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.


Despite the 2021 date on the box, this is the Dragon/DML kit from the 1990s. Initially Dragon released the MiG-17 'sans suffix' kit, but it fairly quickly disappeared. The later MiG-17F/Jian J-5, however, has been widely available. This kit was produced with the ability to include either the afterburning or non-afterburning rear fuselage. This additional sprue was included depending on which version was being kitted.

The Dragon kit is still a nice one, otherwise Zvezda would not have chosen it. Interestingly, the sprue does have Zvezda printed on it though it is the Dragon tooling. From what I gather, Zvezda has only released the early variant and I'm quite pleased that they did. The tail section is different between the two versions and I've included an image of that piece. Note also that the box art shows an afterburning MiG-17F which is not the variant included in the box.

The kit is fairly nicely done and uses a decal for the instrument panel. The only underwing option is a pair of drop tanks. You will also need to find room for nose weight. The windscreen and canopy are separate so you can pose the canopy open. Note also that the gear doors are molded in one piece so will need to be cut apart for the gear down option.

Instructions are nicely done and provides Tamiya color information. There are four markings option, all in unpainted metal. One is the box art plane as used during the 1968 Czech uprising. Others are a Cuban plane, one from East Germany with their early insignia, and one with North Vietnam. The decal image is from the color and markings guide as my kit arrived without decals. Normally I'd be a bit upset, but I have aftermarket markings I will use so it isn't a major issue. If you get a kit with decals, you'll find a complete stencil suite included and a large placement guide with the instructions.


I'm glad that the early MiG-17 is available in kit form in this scale. I've built the Dragon boxing of the MiG-17F and can tell you that it makes into a nice model but you do have be careful when you build it.

April 2022

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