The MiG-15 was the product of the Mikoyan and Gurevich Design Team, which was known as the MiG Design Bureau. After producing a series of moderately successful fighters during World War II, and numerous prototypes, their first jet powered design, the MiG-9 was not produced in significant numbers. However, after the war, when German aerodynamic research became available, a design was produced using some of the ideas that were incorporated into the Focke Wulf TA-183 jet fighter prototype, which include a sweptback wing. The original prototype first flew in December, 1947, powered by an imported Rolls Royce Nene engine, which the Russians later copied for use in production models. The MiG-15 became the standard Soviet fighter during the late forties, and continued in service for many years thereafter. The type was also exported to Soviet Allies, including China, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and other countries under Soviet influence. The MiG 15 was comparable in many ways to the American F-86, and the USAF’s higher kill ratio against the type in the Korean War was more related to pilot training than aircraft quality.
While the Americans developed a similar aircraft, the North American TF-86A, American training procedures included the Lockheed T-33A, a two seat version of the F-80 ”Shooting Star”, and after fighter pilot trainees mastered the T-33, they were were passed directly into the F-86. The Soviets, however, chose to develop a training version of the MiG-15, and the first prototype, a converted MiG-15, flew in 1949. A new cockpit was added for the instructor, and the armament and fuel capacity were reduced to compensate for the extra weight. When NATO discovered the aircraft, its assigned code name was “Midget”. This system was similar to the names assigned to Japanese aircraft during World War II. The training versions were used for forty years, since a successor based on the MiG-17 and MiG-19 was never developed. MiG-15UTI’s were used by all countries that used MiG fighters, and some are still flying today, including some privately owned examples in Europe and the United States.
Eduard first introduced the MiG-15 kit in 2014, and this kit is a follow up on their original offering, with some parts being the same. The major parts, including the fuselage, canopy, cockpit details, etc., are changed to reflect the differences in the trainer model. In addition, the aftermarket parts are completely different, reflecting the two seat configuration of the aircraft. The kit appears to be completely accurate in outline, and fine recess panel lines, showing access plates and other details, are superbly done. Some of the parts, including the landing gear, are quite complicated, but they go together easily, and should prove to be no problem for a modeler of moderate skill levels. A selection of three choices is included for the fuel tanks, but remember that you have to drill the holes for the attachment points, which are the same for all three versions.
The instructions are printed in a booklet of 12 pages , measuring 5 ½ by 8 inches, and provide a history of the type, in English and Czech, which explains the main features and developmental history of the type. This is followed by a sprue diagram (which does not include the part numbers), a color guide, and the typical lawyer-induced warnings to not allow children near the kit.
Following these dire warnings, 8 pages of excellent assembly drawings show how the parts fit together, and how they should be painted, followed by two sets of color four views showing a Soviet and an Iraqi aircraft, and two pages of detailed drawings showing the location of the many small decals and maintenance markings that are provided for both Iraqi and Soviet versions . The only problem with the instructions is that they do not indicate which fuel tank combination should be included in the Soviet example.
The first parts to be assembled are the cockpits, which include a small but very useful PE card that includes rudder pedals, seat belts, and some other small cockpit details. The instrument panels, done in styrene, have raised instruments, although decals are provided for the instrument faces. The floor and side panels provide moderate detail, and decals are included for some of the cockpit details. Note that the side panels include the intake passages for the jet engine, and this space, when the fuselage halves are assembled, provides space for fine lead shot that can be used to weight the nose down, as otherwise, the plane will sit tail down, which spoils the effect on the completed model. The space beside the cockpit side panels is very narrow, and weighted shot, smaller than regular BB’s, can be poured down the sides, moistened with white glue to keep it in place. Do this before you install the nose intake and interior structure.
After the cockpit and fuselage interior, including the engine and tailpipe, are painted and installed, the fuselage halves can be joined. Be sure to install the rudder at this point, as considerable trimming will be required if you plan to do it later. A small amount of putty will be required for filling seams, but the parts generally go together very nicely. Use of the resin interior creates some other issues that will be covered in the review of that aftermarket unit.
The wings and tail unit can then be added, and these line up perfectly with very little seam filling required. At this point, I masked off and filled the cockpit, and painted the exterior of the aircraft. After painting the Russian version, I installed the landing gear, which although complicated, went together very easily, and prepared the rest of the model for painting.
One problem I encountered was when I attempted to remove the windshield from the sprue. The windshield broke in half, creating a line in the forward glass section, and other than finding a new unit, I just installed it after gluing it together. The line remains, but I can live with it.
Since I did the Russian version, the entire airframe was painted aluminum, and this included the entire landing gear, fuel tanks, and cockpit glass. The masks, which were included in the kit, fit the glass parts perfectly, although they suggested that you use liquid mask for the large portions of the glass not masked off with the tape. Being ornery, I just trimmed off the edges of the masks, and installed them over the open spaces, and this worked very well. I sprayed the main wheels Luftwaffe RLM 66 dark grey, and hand brushed the nosewheel after installing it in the forward wheel well.
Decals are provided for two aircraft, one Soviet and one Iraqi. I suspect that these aircraft were kept pretty clean, since the Russian airplane was one flown by the astronaut Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Seryogin at the Space Training Center, Chkalovskiy Airfield, Soviet Union, on 27 March 1968. I would suspect that the Iraqi aircraft, which dates to the 1980’s, might require some light weathering, but I’m not sure how well these planes were kept up.
This is a very nice kit, and follows the original single seat kit format very closely. I built the single seater (#7424) a few months ago, and was just as impressed with this one. If you decide to use the resin cockpit set, which is much more detailed, see the accompanying review, as there are some problems that will need to be corrected. But all in all, this is a very nice kit, and fills a gap in the MiG group in any 1/72 scale collection of Soviet aircraft. If you built this kit without the after-market parts, it is definitely a weekend edition, but with the extras, it will take a lot longer. But don’t miss out on this one. It is a little gem.
Thanks to Eduard for providing the kit, and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it.