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Paul A H

MiG-29A Fulcrum Izdeliye 9.12 - 1:72 Trumpeter

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MiG-29A Fulcrum Izdeliye 9.12

1:72 Trumpeter


mig29a_01.jpg


The Mikoyan MiG-29, known in the West by its NATO reporting name 'Fulcrum' is an air superiority fighter designed and built in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. As with other comparable aircraft of that period, such as the Su-27, F-16, F-15 and Panavia Tornado, it was produced in significant numbers and is still in fairly widespread service with air arms around the world today. The MiG-29 was developed as a lighter, cheaper aircraft compared to the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker, an aircraft with which it is broadly comparable in terms of layout and design, if not size and weight. As with the Su-27, the engines are spaced widely apart, with the area between the engines being used to generate lift and improve manoeuvrability. The MiG-29 is powered by two Klimov RD-33 Turbofans, each of which is capable of generating over 18,000lb of thrust in reheat. The aircraft is well suited for use from rough airstrips. The engine air intakes can be closed completely when on the ground, allowing air to be drawn through louvers on the upper surfaces of the blended wing roots. Armament is covered by a combination of Vympel R-27 medium-range air-to-air missiles and R-73 or R-60 short-range air-to-air missiles, as well as a GSh-30-1 30mm cannon. The aircraft can be used in a range of roles and is capable of carrying bombs and rockets as well. The aircraft has been widely exported and is still in widespread use by a variety of air arms, including several NATO member states such as Poland.

There have been quite a few kits of the MiG-29 over the years, although pretty much all of them have their foibles in terms of accuracy or ease of build. Until now, the Italeri and Airfix kits have represented the best of the bunch in terms of early Fulcrums. Things are about to change, however, with both Trumpeter and Zvezda releasing new kits of the type this year. Trumpeter are first to market with their all-new MiG-29A, and we've got a copy courtesy of UK importers Pocketbond. The kit arrives well-packed into a sturdy top-opening box adorned with a high-quality painting of a Hungarian MiG-29 in flight. Inside are eight sprues of grey plastic, three small clear sprues, two sheets of decals, instructions and a colour painting diagram. There are over 150 parts in total. In common with other Trumpeter kits, the parts are extremely well packed and all of the sprues are individually bagged. The plastic parts are beautifully moulded and the engraved surface details are clean, consistent and sharp. The parts have a very slightly textured finished, but the panel lines should hold a wash nicely, which is just as well as these aircraft are often seen heavily weathered.

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Before I go on to describe the kit in detail, I may as well confront the issue of accuracy. It's fair to say Trumpeter have a patchy track record when it comes to the accuracy of their subjects, but of course each kit must be judged on its own merits. I've had a good look over the kit and, overall, I'm very impressed. Firstly, the overall shape and arrangement of parts appears to match photographs of the real thing very well. The only area that appears to be slightly off is the section of the fuselage underneath the cockpit and above the blended LERX. The walls of the fuselage should be vertical here, and they're a few degrees off. The difference is tiny though, so you'd have to be a real MiG fan or incredibly fastidious to notice (or let it bother you). The only other issue is that the auxiliary engine intakes are fixed in the open position. Hopefully someone will produce a set of resin covers so the model can be finished in a more convincing ground configuration. Trumpeter are not on their own in this regard, as most other currently available kits in this scale have the same issue.

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Construction begins with the cockpit. This is comprise of a tub, two-part K-36 ejection seat, instrument panel, control column and two sidewall panels. The level of detail and quality of moulding is very good to the extent that an aftermarket replacement will probably only be necessary if you wish to have the canopy open. Once complete, the whole thing can be sandwiched inside the fuselage. As with most kits of blended-wing aircraft, this part is split vertically with the wings moulded in place. All of the landing gear bays are moulded as part of the lower fuselage, speeding up assembly considerably. Don't forget to drill out the holes in the lower wings first though, as otherwise you'll struggle to locate the pylons for the underwing stores. Before tackling the rest of the aircraft, Trumpeter have thrown in a little extra goody in the shape of a tow bar for ground handling. This is a nicely detailed little accessory which opens up possibilities in terms of dioramas. With that out of the way, construction moves on to the twin engine air intakes. Compressor faces are provided, as are the doors that close when the engines are running on the ground. The engine exhausts are similarly well-executed, which each made up of no fewer than five parts. Extra details are provided for the main landing gear bays, while the nosecone is a single part to which the pitot attaches.

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The nose gear is well-detailed but, unusually, split horizontally at the point of the oleo strut and torsion link. I'm a bit worried about the long-term strength of this part, even if it is beautifully detailed. On the other hand, it makes it easier to alter the length of the part if you want to modify the stance of the aircraft. The main landing gear legs are much more straightforward and should be a fair bit stronger. The landing gear doors are nicely depicted and feature small clear lenses for the landing lights. Flipping the model back onto its feet, the vertical and horizontal tail pieces can be added. These are both solid parts, so they won't take long to assemble. Once these parts are in place, all that remains to do is fit the canopy. This is moulded in two parts and a small hydraulic strut is included to enable the rear part to the posed in the open position. In typical Trumpeter style, a comprehensive selection of ordnance is included. All told, you get:

  • 1 x PTB-1500;
  • 2 x PTB-1150;
  • 2 x R-73E AAMs, plus alternative practice rounds;
  • 2 x R-27T AAMs
  • 2 x R-27R AAMs
  • 2 x R-60 AAMs, plus 4 x alternative practice rounds;

mig29a_11.jpg


A choice of two schemes is provided on the decal sheet:

  • MiG-29A '04 Black', Hungarian Air Force, 59th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1st 'Puma' Tactical Fighter Squadron. This is the aircraft depicted on the box artwork and is finished in a two-tone grey scheme; and
  • MiG-29A '01 White', Russian Air Force, 21st OSAD/120th GvIAP, Domma Air Base. This aircraft is finished in the familiar grey/green distruptive scheme.

The decal sheets are nicely printed and you get a full set of stencils and markings for the ordnance too, which is a bonus.

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Conclusion

It seems Trumpeter are on something of a roll at the moment. Following hot on the heels of their rather nice Su-24, they have produced a very creditable kit that, one or two very minor niggles aside, can take its place near the top of the pile when it comes to kits of this type. The finished article should look the part and, thanks to the relatively low part count, should be relatively easy to assemble too. Recommended.




Review sample courtesy of
logo.gifUK Distributors for logo.jpg

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A question immediately comes to my mind: how much ?

Creative are showing it at £15.99 which is pretty good IMHO, Hannants at £17.99, neither have stock tho.

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I think UK RRP is £17.99 but most online retailers are listing it for closer to £16. I think that's a very reasonable price for this kit. Strange that no-one seems to have it in stock though.

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Its either very popular, or they all are on a slow boat from china :D

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£16 sounds like a good price for this one, thanks. Guess they're not in stock yet, there should be no problem laying my hands on one in a few weeks

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Thanks very much for this great review!

The Su-33 will follow soon too, 2015 is the best year ever for modelers!

Just one observation with the review, you say:

  • 1 x PTB-1500;
  • 1 x PTB-1150;

Can you confirm there is only one PTB-1150? Thanks!

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Looking good there! Re: the louvre covers issue, am I correct in assuming it's only a problem if you are modelling the aircraft in flight?

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My understanding is that these aux doors open for a rough field capability. The main intakes are blanked off to stop FOD problems so air gets to the engines this way. So they are normally only open when the engine is running and the main intakes are closed. This can be on the ground and in the air.

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Thanks for the review Paul. Is it my imagination, or are the upper and lower fuselage halves based off the Italeri kit? The lower wing halves, MLG wells and the box behind the cockpit is what makes me think that.

Edited by Supertom

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... So they are normally only open when the engine is running and the main intakes are closed. This can be on the ground and in the air.

Main intake doors can be closed only on ground.

Needs gear on ground, hydraulic pressure, thrust lever out of stop and velocity < 200km/h.

Edited by MiG-Mech

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Thanks very much for this great review!

The Su-33 will follow soon too, 2015 is the best year ever for modelers!

Just one observation with the review, you say:

  • 1 x PTB-1500;
  • 1 x PTB-1150;

Can you confirm there is only one PTB-1150? Thanks!

Whoops! Sorry, there are two. I've corrected the review now.

Thanks for the review Paul. Is it my imagination, or are the upper and lower fuselage halves based off the Italeri kit? The lower wing halves, MLG wells and the box behind the cockpit is what makes me think that.

It's not outside the realms of possibility. I have built the Italeri kit but I don't have it anymore, so I can't check. I would have thought it more likely that it's based on Trumpeter's own 1:32 scale kit.

Looking good there! Re: the louvre covers issue, am I correct in assuming it's only a problem if you are modelling the aircraft in flight?

Not quite, no. If the aircraft is parked up and powered down, they should be closed too.

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I have it in, but it's not on the site yet. I have to say that I am very impressed with it, and it passes the test of making me want to make a model of a subject I'm not too fussed about. The surface detail is superb.

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Hmmm... it seems to be somewhat inspired by the Italeri kit in the shapes, the rest of the detail is totally different and much better

One aspect I'm not convinced about is the position of the wing relative to the fuselage height: on the real aircraft the wing is flush with the top of the fuselage, except for the slats. Here the wing starts to go below the top fuselage much earlier. The Italeri kit reproduced this area in the same way

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Bought one purely as I like the look of the Mig 29 and felt this would be a good build up to the 2 GWH 1/48 MiG's in the stash. I bought the old Airfix one a while back too but will now just use the Polish decals from this on the Trumpeter kit, first non-Airfix new release to have gone straight onto the workbench for a while, really impressed by this kit and would suggest its tremendous value for money.

With regards to the tow bar included, it's a real work of art, not just piece of straight sprue with some wheels! Took me about 45 mins to get it built up and it will look incredible when painted and weathered. Someone's really done there homework on this.

The kit itself is superb, so far I've built up the nozzles, intakes and gear bays. The insert pieces for the main wheel wells required a bit of sanding to get a nice fit. The intake sections fit beautifully but I would advise glueing the rear end of these to the fuselage and clamp for a bit before glueing the front end of the intakes to the lower fuselage. Inner 2 pylon attachments require drilled through on the lower wing, but the outer pylon attach points will require carefully part drilled on the upper fuselage/wing section!!

A cracking build so far, my only gripe with the whole thing is a rather trivial matter. Trumpeter have taken a leaf from AFV and GWH and offered a lovely print of the box art in the box, however the box is a tad too small and the print in my boxing has been partially creased by being crammed into the box as are the instructions! Trivial and picky I know but given the quality of everything else a small oversight perhaps.

Highly recommended though folks, great value for £15-16.

Eng

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