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  1. Russian MiG-31M Foxhound 1:72 Trumpeter The Mikoyan MiG-31, known by the NATO reporting name 'Foxhound' is an all-weather interceptor and replacement for the more famous but far less capable MiG-25 Foxbat. Although the MiG-31 bears a close resemblance to its predecessor, it is only the basic elements of the design that are shared. The MiG-31 is a much more modern aircraft and benefits from a very capable suite of avionics which provides full look down/shoot down capability against targets are small as cruise missiles. One thing it does have in common with the venerable Foxbat is its speed. The Foxhound is one of the fastest combat aircraft around and can show a clean pair of heels to most comparable jets. The weapon of choice for the Foxbat is the long-range R-33 missile, but it is also capable of using the now obsolete R-40, as well as the short-range R-73. Some variants can deploy the KH-31 and KH-58 anti-radiation missiles in the SEAD role. The MiG-31M was an intended upgrade featuring a one piece rounded windscreen, enlarged dorsal spine, digital flight controls and multi-mode phased array radar. It was also fitted with upgraded engines. The type was prevented from entering full production by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Trumpeter have pleased a lot of modellers with a penchant for Russian hardware of late. This kit follows their MiG-29, Su-24 and Su-27/33/34 families, as well as their MiG-31 and MiG-31B/BM kits. In classic Trumpeter style, the kit arrives in a large sturdy box with the parts packed so well that it is almost impossible to get them back in the box once unpacked. The box contains an over 330 parts, although this is relatively modest compared to their Su-34. The parts are well protected and the quality of moulding is up to the usual Trumpeter standard, with fine, consistent panel lines and plenty of detail. The overall breakdown of parts is virtually identical to previous iterations of this kit, but with revised parts to ring the changes between the original MiG-31 and the M. The cockpit is nicely replicated, with detailed instrument panels and sidewalls, as well as neat two-part K36 seats. The nose gear bay has to be built around the landing gear leg, which means painting the whole thing before it goes into the kit, but does at least replicate the detail of this part accurately. The nose and forward fuselage is a seperate part to the rest of the airframe, so I guess it could be assembled and put to one side while the rest of the beast is gradually assembled from its component parts. Construction moves on to a number of major sub-assemblies, most of which have to be completed at this stage in order to progress the build. The massive engine air intakes are full length, and contain eight parts each, not including the engine compressor blades. The main landing gear legs and bays also have to be assembled at this stage, although they look both well detailed and reasonably sturdy. Once complete, the nose gear bay, main gear bays and engine intakes can all be cemented into the large, slide moulded lower-rear fuselage, while the nose section can also be slotted into place. In order the bring the whole thing together, the single span upper wing can have the lower wing surfaces added and be joined to the rest of the airframe. With the collosal fuselage complete, most of the rest of the build is spent adding a few more large parts and a whole host of finishing details. Unlike the Hobbyboss kit, the vertical tails are moulded as solid parts and have plenty of rivet detail moulded in place. This is so fine, however, that I am reasonably confident that it will disappear completely under a coat of primer, particularly given that the whole kit has quite a rough, textured finish. The jet exhausts are each made up from three parts and are suitably imposing, although not quite the dustbin-like cans of the MiG-25. The canopy is moulded so it can be finished in the open position, and of course the one-piece windscreen is present and correct. The air brakes are also molded separately and are designed to be finished in the extended position. Trumpeter aren't usually shy when it comes to ordnance, so you get fair deal with this kit. Included in the asking price are: 6 x R-37 air-to-air missiles; 2 x R-40T infrared homing air-to-air missiles; 2 x R-40R radar homing air-to-air missiles; 2 x R-73E air-to-air missiles; 2 x R-77 air-to-air missiles; and 2 x drop tanks. The painting and marking guide shows the prototype, 037 Blue, but sufficient bort numbers are included to allow other aircraft to be built, if you fancy a very mild 'what if'. Stencils are included for the airframe and ordnance, which is also nice to see. The decals themselves look nicely printed and should perform well. Conclusion This is very nice kit which comfortably moves straight to the top of the tree when it comes to MiG-31s available in this scale. It's big but not too complex, well detailed and includes a fair selection of ordnance. On the other hand, it's far from cheap, especially when compared to the main competition. My main criticism of the kit is that the panel lines and rivit detail are incredibly fine and will surely disappear under a layer of primer. Not good for an aicraft that really needs a panel line wash to match the grubby appearance of the real thing. Nevertheless, if you do choose to build one, you will be rewarded with an impressive kit. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  2. MiG-31M Foxhound 1:48 HobbyBoss The MiG-31 is an incredible machine even today, but was innovative and even more impressive when it was first brought into service, delivering on the failed promises of the Mig-25 Foxbat, and adding more capabilities. The Zaslon-M aircraft was to be a further development of the aircraft. The new aircraft was to be fitted with a more powerful radar able to track further and more targets. As such the long range Air to Air Missile compliment was raised to 6. Three abreast at the front and back. Four medium range missiles were to be carried under the wings. The M model would have the cannon deleted and an in-flight refuelling system moved to the starboard side of the aircraft, additional fuel tanks added, and more powerful engines fitted. For the airframe to accommodate all of the the mid fuselage cross section was increased. Noticeable differences were a rounded windscreen, small side windows for the rear cockpit, wing leading edge extensions, and wing tip mounted ECM pods. 1 Prototype and 6 flyable pre-production units were created before the break up of the USSR ended the project. Some of the improvements for the M would later make their way into the current upgrading of the existing MiG-31, which makes you wonder how formidable the M would have been had it reached production. The Kit Until recently modellers in 1:48 scale had little choice when it came to the Foxhound, but now they have two modern new toolings of the in service aircraft. This kit does differ somewhat from the In service one we reviewed here. The kit arrives as one large lower fuselage moulding, 9 major sprues, 16 weapons sprues, a clear spure, rubber tyres, a small photo etched sheet and a set of metal landing gear. Construction starts in the cockpit. The 7 part ejections seats are made up and added to the tub along with the rear and mid bulkheads and pilots control column, and back seaters radar controller. The instrument panel are added with the instruments being in decal form. The side walls are then added. Once the cockpit is complete it can be added into the nose section and the coamings added. The intakes are the next parts to be built up. These are fairly large boxes. The intake ramps are added and then the side go around this. Large intake ducts are then built up and added to the back of the intakes. What look to be additional suck in doors are added to the top, though these are only moulded in the closed position. The nose wheel bay is then built up. This is complex multi-part affair with the metal leg being fixed in at this point. This is then followed by the main wheel bays. All the gear bays can then be fitted into the lower fuselage moulding, and when done the nose section added. The engine fronts can then be added to the rear of the intake trunking, and these can then be fitted into the lower fuselage moulding. Next up the lower wings are added to the large upper wings/fuselage moulding. Separate flaps and ailerons are provided for the main wing. Once the main upper structure is finished this can be added to the complete lower structure, not forgetting a single part at the very rear of the airframe separating the engines. The engines themselves are then made up. There are 5 fairly large parts to each engine which will give a fair representation of the huge engines fitted to the aircraft. Once the engines are in the tail planes can also be added. The twin tails have their separate rudders added, then they go onto the airframe. A large fence is then added to each wing. Moving back to the front of the airframe an injected frame is added to each main canopy along with PE mirrors for the pilots canopy. Once made up these can be installed along with the front one part windscreen. The main gear units are then built up and their tyres added. I am not sure how well the rubber tyres will stand up to the weight of the completed model. To finish of the airframe bottom variable ramps for the intakes are fitted, all the gear doors are added, and a variety of aerials and pitot probes. Now for the fun parts – the weapons. This starts with the wing pylons, which are built up from two halves each, and fit into pre-drilled holes in the underside of the wing panels. The wingtip ECM pods are alos built up and added. 6 of the large long range AA missiles are built up for the under fuselage stations. For the wing pylons a combination of medium range AAMs and Short range AAMs, along with fuel tanks can be selected. Markings Markings are supplied for blue 057 prototype, other letters are there and can be arranged for other machines. A full set of stencils are included. All aircraft are medium grey (see AKAN for the perfect colours), and have the obligatory National markings of red stars on the wings and tail surfaces. Conclusion While the kit does share some of the flaws of the other one however if you want to model the M version of this impressive aircraft this kit is currently the only one out there. Recommended. Our sincere thanks to our friends at Creative for letting us have this review sample. Review sample courtesy of
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