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Long delayed since I finished this over a month ago but here are pics of a 1/72 Zvezda MiG-29S. The aircraft depicted is Red 24 which has the nice Russian flag on the fins and an odd patch of dark green on the nose which offsets the otherwise standard Fulcrum gray/gray-green came scheme.

 

All paints were Akan from their basic MiG-29 set. Decals were from the kit although the specific Red 24 markings came from the very comprehensive Begemot sheet.

 

Now having built both the Zvezda and the Trumpeter MiG-29 (as well as the previous standard-bearer, the Italeri), the obvious question: which is the definitive Fulcrum? The answer is... neither. Both are great kits but both also fall short in some areas.

 

Where Trumpeter wins:

- Surface detail. It's gorgeous, riddled with rivets that are small enough to not look overdone. Zvezda doesn't have a single rivet.

- Better fit. There are no problematic areas at all. The Zvezda doesn't snap together perfectly in all areas: the wings need some clamping among other things.

- Overall better engineering. The exception is the front fuselage joint which is carried over from the Italeri kit. Requires putty and sanding off and re-scribing the delicate panel line detailing. However, the fit of the fins and horizontal stabilizers is much better; the Zvezda has issues with the fins which leave a big gap with the fuselage, almost as big as the Italeri's. Also, the wing is a single piece unlike the Zvezda where the wingtip is separate and has a stub barely one mm thick! Not only does it need filling and sanding since it runs where there is no real life panel line, it means that grabbing the aircraft accidentally by the wingtip is almost asking for a tragedy.

- Intakes are a single piece. Zvezda's are a two-piece which leaves a seam on the outer side which is visible. Had the seam been on the inner side it would be less apparent.

- Has the open fuselage intakes which IMHO looks better on a Fulcrum even though they're usually not open on the ground (then again, most planes don't have open airbrakes when parked and we still build them as such...)

- The decals are easier to handle although may not be 100% accurate

- Correct nose neutral profile (see pics below). Zvezda really screwed up the front landing gear as it leaves the aircraft with a nose up profile that is not evident in the real thing.

- Cockpit. Aside from the inferior instrument panel decals, Trumpeter's ejection seat is better, the thing with lots of knobs behind the seat (is it the radio equipment?) looks more realistic, and the upright HUD is accurate; Zvezda's is a generic transparency slanted diagonally.

 

Where Zvezda wins:

- Accuracy. Trumpeter has a slight bump where the wing meets the fuselage. The rear canopy is too narrow as well (my main gripe). The spine of the MiG-29S is too skinny, whereas Zvezda's has a proper rounded (fatter) shape. This may be a carry over from the canopy issue.

- Instrument panels. Ok, both use decals but Zvezda's decals are way nicer in this regard and are also split into various pieces for all the different raised bits. Trumpeter's is just one which means you need to cut it up manually or else it'll be a mess. I also don't understand Trumpeter's obsession with outlines on these decals, makes them look very toy-like. The rest of the cockpit, however, is a bit disappointing.

- Decals appear to be more accurate although there seems to be an excess of decals near the engines that I don't seem to notice on the real thing. That said, Zvezda's decals are a PAIN to apply. They are extremely thin and curl easily, and on top of that, there are so many that the decal sheet is packed tight. Note that Trumpeter does not have decals for its fuel tanks which is annoying. Trumpeter is also obsessed with the big black bands around the missiles which don't seem to be used that often these days; Zvezda has the more subtle markings which IMHO look better.

- Things under wings: both have fuel tanks and standard Fulcrum AA ordinance, but Zvezda adds some AG ordinance as well.

- The engineering of the front fuselage is better: it's a two piece that is sepearate from the rest and joins at the middle rather than the side, thus avoiding having to sand off panel details. Unfortunately, the fit of this is a bit iffy and I found that the starboard side would have needed some thinning otherwise it doesn't align properly with the fuselage. A shame since otherwise this was quite a creative way of avoiding the ugly side seams that are the only main engineering issue in the Trumpeter.

- Price. The Zvezda MiG goes for around £18-20. Trumpeter's originally sold for slightly less than that but they've jacked up the price recently and now it's at around £22 or more.

- Availability. Very easy to find. Trumpeter's distribution in the UK is very erratic: their basic MiG-29 quietly disappeared a few months after release and their SMT was hardly ever stocked here at all. The MiG-29S has had better availability though.

 

So there it is.

 

Which to pick? If you are an accuracy buff above all else, Zvezda is the obvious choice, the nose up profile being the only obvious fault (and which I suspect could be corrected). However, Trumpeter is the more pleasurable build and if you're willing to look beyond its inaccuracies, looks better once built. P.S. avoid the Revell reboxing of the Zvezda kit. It has only markings for the Russian Falcons, no stencils, no missile markings, etc. It's an absolutely pointless rebox if you ask me.

 

Btw, apologies for my terrible phone camera. One day I'll use a real one istead...

 

IMG_20170625_193906.jpg

 

 

IMG_20170625_194001.jpg

 

IMG_20170625_194010.jpg

 

IMG_20170625_194023.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by Phantome

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I also took some shots next to the Trumpeter MiG-29S. I guess you can't really see all the differences from here. You can make out how Trumpeter botched the spine. Still, there's something about it that makes it look better.

 

IMG_20170625_194116.jpg

 

And here's the nose problem with the Zvezda. Both kits are face to face with quite a big clearing between the two nose antenna. Trumpeter's spine issue is also apparent here.

 

IMG_20170625_194205.jpg

 

 

Edited by Phantome

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And just to emphasize the nose issue, here's a shot of their promo build

 

31C3WyPLSRL.jpg

 

Here's the real thing. Subtle... but noticeable.

 

Belarus_Air_Force_Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-2

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Very nice work on the model.

Your write up of the advantages and disadvantages of each kit is excellent, very helpful.

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Wow you do make a mean MiG Phantome. This is a great build too, the camo is more subtle like the real thing. I'd been waiting on this one and well worth the wait. The comparison is really detailed and helpful too! The other two you did Putin's Eagle and Ukrainian Fulcrum on permanently on open windows on my iPad at the minute as im on a MiG-29 spree after you inspired me. This is a great trio....I bought theTrumpeter SMT and see the Zvezda SMT is easier to get now so I was thinking I'd plump but il stick to Trumpeter...can I pick a favourite of your three 29s.....no they're all winners

thanks for the info and for sharing.

whats next in the pipeline?

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1 hour ago, Valkyrie said:

Wow you do make a mean MiG Phantome. This is a great build too, the camo is more subtle like the real thing. I'd been waiting on this one and well worth the wait. The comparison is really detailed and helpful too! The other two you did Putin's Eagle and Ukrainian Fulcrum on permanently on open windows on my iPad at the minute as im on a MiG-29 spree after you inspired me. This is a great trio....I bought theTrumpeter SMT and see the Zvezda SMT is easier to get now so I was thinking I'd plump but il stick to Trumpeter...can I pick a favourite of your three 29s.....no they're all winners

thanks for the info and for sharing.

whats next in the pipeline?

 

Thanks Valkyrie! Anything that inspires more Russian kits is a plus ;)

 

I will definitely get the Zvezda MiG-29SMT in the near future. It has a ton of armament that the Trumpeter lacks and is way cheaper. I suspect the nose up issue is correctable whereas the Trumpeter's inaccuracies aren't.

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