Mig-23 Wheel Wells

Published: May 12th, 2013     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Charles Landrum, IPMS# 26328
Scale: 1/48
Company: Aires Hobby Models
Price: $21.49
Product / Stock #: 484569

The Trumpeter Mig-23M and MF kits in 1/48 finally give the modeler an alternative to the Esci Mig-23/27 family of kits. While it has its own issues, the Trumpeter kit renders the other one obsolete. One problem with the Trumpeter kit are the main wheel wells. Trumpeter's wells are under detailed and worse yet are symmetrical from port to starboard. This is not the case with the Mig-23; the wheel wells are quite different from one side to the other. Aires has crafted a solution!

In addition to cockpits and engines, a staple in the Aires line are wheel wells. The ones I have used previously were far and away much better than the ones that they are intended to replace, these are just as nice. This new release by Aires provides 7 pieces crisply cast in durable grey resin including: the main wheel wells, the nose gear well, a replacement nose gear retraction strut, a small detail for the nose well and two padeyes for the main wheel wells. There are no PE details to add to the resin. All of the components are superbly detailed with the main wheel wells being the obvious need. The kit nose wheel well is actually quite nice out of the box, but the Aires offering adds more. The nose gear retraction strut provided is also far more detailed. The instructions are clear and straight forward outlining the modifications required, which are not many, to accommodate the set.

Installation went quickly. I first assembled the nose wheel well and main wheel wells from the Trumpeter kit in order to make the comparison. The Aires nose wheel well is a drop in fit with no modification required and it is shaped like the kit part in order to accommodate the cockpit above it in the fuselage. To fit the main wheel wells the modeler must trim the slight step of the edge of the kit opening. I did this with a model knife and file. I found the bottom of the fuselage had molded step that would leave a gap when the resin main wheel wells are added. I filled the step with .02-styrene and achieved a good fit when I placed the well in place. The main well has a raised ridge to overlap the edge of the opening thereby ensuring a good fit. These were essentially drop fit as well. I used gap filling CA to glue the main wells in place. Next I added the padeyes in the main wells. In the nose wheel well I could not determine the purpose of the small detail and so I left it out; I also left the retraction strut for later.

Overall this was an easy kit to install which is a significant improvement in the appearance of the model. The difference in detail in the main wells before and after is amazing and the real reason to buy this set. The nose well detail is improved over the kits, but not dramatically so. If the lack of detail and correctness of what detail is provided by Trumpeter in the main wheel wells bothers you than this kit is a must.

My thanks to Aires for the review sample and to IPMS/USA for the chance to review it.

  • What you get
    What you get
  • Parts in place
    Parts in place
  • Parts in place
    Parts in place
  • Parts in place
    Parts in place
  • Part comparison
    Part comparison
  • Parts in place
    Parts in place
  • Part comparison
    Part comparison
  • Part comparison
    Part comparison

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