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Paul A H

Russian MiG-31 Foxhound - 1:72 Trumpeter

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Russian MiG-31 Foxhound

1:72 Trumpeter

 

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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.

 

Trumpeter have filled gaps in the stashes of a lot of modellers with a penchent for Russian hardware of late. This kit follows their MiG-29, Su-24 and Su-27/33/34 families, although it doesn't quite have the same impact as we've had a decent and buildable kit from Zvezda for quite some time. It also follows the 1:48 scale kit from Trumpeter's sister company Hobbyboss. As we shall see, the two kits are closely related. 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 impressive 340 parts, although this is relatively modest compared to their Su-34. The difference is largely down to the fact that Trumpeter haven't included 40-odd missiles in the box. 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. 

 

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The overall breakdown of parts is incredibly similar to its big sister, complete with the slide moulded fuselage section, which seems to be a perfectly scaled down version. 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 nost 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. 

 

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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 compeltely 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. 

 

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The canopy is moulded so it can be finished in the open position. I'm not sure quite how well it will fit if you want to close it all up. The airbrakes are also molded seperately 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:

  • 4 x R-33 air-to-air missles;
  • 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; and
  • 2 x drop tanks.

The MiG-31 is strictly VVS only, so don't expect variety when it comes to options to markings. The painting and marking guide shows 24 Blue and 08 Red "Boris Safanov", but bonus points are awarded to Trumpeter for including sufficient bort numbers to allow pretty much any aircraft to be built. Stencils are included for the airframe and ordnance, which is also nice to see. The decals themselves look nicely printed and should perform well. 

 

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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 (note - it is currently available with a 25% discount from @Creative Models Ltd - link below). 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. 

 

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Review sample courtesy of 


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Thanks for the review.

The fine panel lines don't bother me as the MiG-31 is "single colour" so few coats will be applied and panel lines aren't likely to get filled up. Trumpy's MiG-29 also has very fine panel lines and I wasn't bothered by that in my build.

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Great review. Like the Su-24, the price is a little high I think but I think I will end up getting one anyway!

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On 22/10/2017 at 8:47 PM, Paul A H said:

The MiG-31 is strictly VVS only, so don't expect variety when it comes to options to markings

 

Hi Paul, You might want to check this again.

;)

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