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Mig-31B/BS Foxhound 1:48 Avantgarde Models The Foxhound was developed as successor to the Mig-25, to fulfil the promise of the far from perfect Foxbat, and this is did very well. It was shrouded in secrecy, and the advanced radar coupled with a capable targeting system allowed it to designate several targets at once, as well as giving it the ability to look down/shoot down, aircraft and cruise missiles, which was a first at the time. The B model was fitted with in-flight refuelling capability as well as a new radar system that was developed after it was found that the West now had the technical details of the previous installation. The BS was the upgraded Mig-31 base model that was re-deployed to B standards, to differentiate between marks, and was eventually replaced by the B in the 90s. Incidentally, the B was also built as an export model and designated the E, which may be of interest to those of us that like unusual schemes, such as the E that wore the striking blue/white/black scheme over its base grey at airshows. The Kit The initial boxing of the kit was the more common BM/BSM that we reviewed here, built here and completed here. Now I've got the self-publicity out of the way, this is the next boxing with differences engineered in, and some changes made based upon feedback from us modellers, self-included IIRC. Sorry – I said I'd finished blowing my own trumpet, didn't I? Having built the original boxing, I can confirm it was one of the most pleasing and satisfying modelling experiences of my life, and this one should be better, as it has a number of improvements that will help keep momentum going, such as seatbelts, instrument decals, decals for the germetika, tinted canopy etc. The boxart is another photo, but of a B/BS taking off to the left instead of the right. Inside the box it is full to the brim with three sub-boxes holding the lower fuselage, forward fuselage and missiles respectively. The rest of the sprues are in re-sealable bags, which some folks with vibrating houses (in-joke) will find useful if they wanted to look in the bags and put them back to save chaffing. It's easier to provide a list of the contents: 13 x sprues of varying sizes in grey styrene 1 x fuselage lower in grey styrene 1 x fuselage upper in grey styrene 2 x clear parts in clear or gold tinted styrene 10 x spruelets for weapons in grey styrene 1 x Photo-Etch (PE) sheet in brass The nose-weights from the first boxing have been dropped in favour of a larger PE sheet, as I suspect they weren't quite enough. I ended up filling the nose cone with weight held in place by a packing of Milliput, but you may have better ideas. The build is very similar to the original, so I won't re-tread that, other than for pointing out the differences. The full length intakes are built identically, while the main gear bays have two small parts swapped to hide a couple of ejector pin marks. I'd consider leaving parts L42 & L43 off until later in the build though, as I managed to break both of mine during the build and they can easily be inserted when needed to support the bay doors/airbrake parts. Check your references for the painting of the bay, as some aircraft have a tan coloured section on the walls, which adds a little interest to the overall metallic colour. The bay doors can all be left off until later, but the nose wheel leg has to be inserted in between the walls. You can however leave the base parts in the bay without building the rest up to avoid damaging those too. The fuselage closes up around the trunking, and the wings are built up along with the separate flying surfaces, attaching to the large aperture on the top, and leaving VERY little in the way of seamlines to deal with. The nose is an impressively moulded single part, into which the cockpit slides very neatly. The instrument panels are subtly different, and as previously mentioned there are a set of decals to cover the instrument faces at the front and rear once you have done the detail painting. The coamings fit into the cockpit once it has been fixed in place, or it would baulk the sliding in process, and you can choose faired-in or un-faired refuelling probes in extended or retracted positions, both of which have a clear fairing around them so that you can mask the light at the front of the fairing that is used in night-time refuelling. Paint the rear of this silver before you glue it in, then back it with some black, so that it won't be seen from behind. The final refuelling option is the absence of probe and an insert that covers the recess. There is a photo floating round the net of a Mig-31E with its radome removed to show off the front of the Radar, which AMK have included as a PE part in case you'd like to go down that route. The nose cone is a click-fit, and has the detailed probe on the front, which has some fine lines of sealant/insulation in places that you can pick up from looking at my build. The detail painting really does improve the model. I should thank Gabor for a lot of the detail painting that he pointed out to me, as I had missed quite a lot of the subtleties early in my build. Intakes, auxiliary doors and the nose fit simply to the front of the fuselage with again very little in the way of seamlines. The kit really does pamper the modeller! The twin tails build up with poseable rudders and lots of delicate antennae at the trailing edge that I managed to bend and break quite early in the build. Cut them off and re-attach later, replace them with brass aftermarket ones (as I did), or just be careful with them, as not everyone has pudgy fingers like me. The elevators can be posed angled down or straight, but it appears that they are usually in the undeflected position when the aircraft is at rest. This time around you are given the option of showing the IRST housing under the nose retracted into its cubby-hole by omitting the plinth that makes it stand proud. The landing gear has been identified as slightly weak by some builders who have installed them when told to, so give some consideration to leaving them of until the last minute. If handled carefully they should suffice, but if you intend to take your model to shows you would also be wise to consider metal replacement parts, which are now available from G-Factor Models and others. The wheels have no tread to speak of still, but as I've said before the majority of photos I have seen there is very little if any tread left on the wheels. Eduard however have come out with a lovely resin set for that Kwik-Fit feeling. The ejection seats have been updated with a set of crew harnesses that were missing from the initial boxing, and these should ease your way to a nicely detailed cockpit. Thanks for listening guys! They are fitted at the last gasp along with the canopy, which is now provided in clear or gold-tinted variants on separate sprues. Yet again, AMK have listened to feedback, as not all modellers are comfortable with tinting their own clear parts. Again there are choices of a one-piece closed canopy with separate windscreen or three part canopy and separate windscreen for posing them open. When posing them open there are some fantastically detailed styrene inserts that make up the interior details, which will need painting in the bright insulation green with interior green strips holding the insulation in place. There is no front cockpit periscope on this earlier mark, but the rear periscope is still there, comprising a large mirror that pops up on pair of legs with PE bracing when needed during take-off and landing. If you are putting in the rams for the canopy in the open position, don't glue in the ejection seats first like I did. Much easier to put those in after, and it saves you some pennies for the swear jar. The weapons load for the B/BS is different from the BM/BSM, although the four R-33s that nestle under the fuselage in semi-recessed mounting points are still present. They are all still slide-moulded in one main part, which is a two-edged sword, as you get superb detail, but have to deal with four fine seam-lines. From my point-of-view the jury is still out on them, but they do look nice when finished. In the box you get the following weapons: 4 x Vympel R-33 (AA-9 Amos) long range A2A missiles 4 x R-60 (AA-8 Aphid) Infrared A2A Missile 2 x R-40 (AA-6 Acrid) long range A2A missiles There are adapter rails and pylons for each of these, with a dual-rail adapter for the R-60s. A separate page of the instructions shows possible load-outs for the munitions. Markings The most notable feature of the markings is a full sheet of stencils that are rather comprehensive and ordered in such a way that each section applies to a part of the airframe, such as underside, starboard, ejection seats etc. This helps massively when you are applying them, as you can just work along a section cutting off successive decals and wetting them, rather than the usual hunt-the-decal game that gets tedious very quickly. The national markings are on a separate sheet, and these are very similar to the original issue, which a few people commented on being a little large. The sheet has been extended to accommodate the cockpit decals, which have been very nicely done (and are most welcome), and the Germetika pink sealant that goes around the canopy borders. These have been printed in just the right colour, and have an incredibly fine carrier film that should disappear once fitted. They have even included two parts for the sills of the canopies, which also have the Germetika gunked on, which shows attention to detail. In case you find any areas that need some additional sealant, and believe me, they do slap it on all over (remember Brut 33?), there are eight 60mm strips at the bottom of the sheet for just such purposes. IIRC, I even saw some inside the flap track in one photo. A white sealant line is included for the shapely front panel of the windscreen, which can be seen on close-up photos. I missed it on my previous build though. From the box you can build one of the following: Mig-31BS 16 Blue Russian Air Force, Chelyabinsk-Shagol Airbase 2014. Mig-31BS 23 Red Kazakhstan Air Force, 2012. Mig-31B 73 Blue one of several operated by the training unit at Savasleyka Air Base. Decals are printed anonymously, and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. With a little gloss coating and careful sanding, the carrier film can be made to disappear for most of them. Conclusion AMK have made a great kit better, but there's one thing missing. That gorgeous display scheme with the blue, white and black design that was applied to an E. If that could have been incorporated into this boxing I'd have been a happy bunny. That's just me though, so don't take that as a gripe – someone is bound to come out with the decals soon, and if you're one of those someones, do let me know ASAP if not sooner. Such a lovely kit – treat yourself, even if Russian aircraft aren't usually your bag. I simply can't recommend it highly enough! Available soon from all good model shops online or otherwise. Don't delay getting yours, as if it follows the runaway success of the initial release, they might be hard to come by soon, pending moulding of another batch. Review sample courtesy of
on acebook AMK have updated their Facebook presence here, and are showing some pics of the scheduled Mig-31 Foxhound ( ) and the Fouga Magister, the latter I hope is due very soon Leave a comment or Like their page to follow them as they progress their new projects