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Paul A H

Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-17F 'Fresco' (Shenyang J5) A03091 - 1:72

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Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-17F 'Fresco' (Shenyang J5) A03091

1:72 Airfix

 

Mig17_01.jpg

 

Although outwardly similar to the MiG-15, the MiG-17 was in fact a heavily revised design that drew upon the lessons learned in the development of the USSR's first swept-wing fighter. While the forward fuselage, landing gear and engine were carried across from the MiG-15, the rear fuselage was longer and more tapered. The wing was entirely new as well, being both thinner and more sharply swept. This both raised the maximum speed of the aircraft and aided controllability at transonic speeds. Although it shared its armament with its predecessor, it also gained a radar gun sight, cribbed from a captured F-86. The MiG-17F was fitted with an afterburner, which significantly boosted the rate of climb and meant supersonic speed was just about possible in a shallow dive. The MiG-17 was built in huge numbers, with over 10,000 rolling off Soviet, Chinese and Polish production lines. It was used in combat by several nations, most notably in the Vietnam War where it was credited with 28 aerial victories. 

 

The MiG-17 hasn't been all that well represented by manufacturers of plastic kits over the years. Efforts from the likes of Hasegawa, KP and Dragon all have their problems and are all showing their age, while the otherwise rather good AZ Model kit is limited run and by all accounts the moulds are starting to show their age. Enter Airfix with an all-new tooling. Inside the box are three frames of grey parts, a small frame of clear parts, instructions and decals. The parts are nicely moulded but the panel lines are on the heavy side, which is always more noticeable on a small kit like this. From reading Airfix's workbench blog it's clear that this is a Lidar-scanned model, so the dimensions and general arrangement of shapes should be spot on. Despite this, there has been some debate about the accuracy of the kit on this and other forums. I have found our own KRK4m's analysis very helpful in that he confirmed the kit is very accurate in scale and general outline, but has an issue in terms of the leading edge of the wing (easy fix) and the aerofoil cross section (not an easy fix). Of course the stark reality is that these issues won't concern most modellers, so with that in mind, let's have a look at what is in the box.

 

Mig17_02.jpg

 

Mig17_03.jpg

 

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Construction starts with the cockpit, and like most kits of the MiG-15 or -17, the cockpit tub is made up of parts that also form the inner part of the intake fairing. Moulded detail is actually very nice. Not on a part with Eduard's MiG-15, but then the two models are not really comparable in terms of engineering and philosophy. Decals are provided to add extra detail to the instrument panel and sidewalls. I'm not sure what happened to the ejection seat, but Airfix appear to have carried this across from the MiG-15 rather than replicating the seat commonly fitted to the MiG-17. Should this trouble you greatly, aftermarket alternatives are available. Once the cockpit sub-assembly is complete, the engine exhaust and afterburner can be assembled. Because the external faces of the jet exhaust also double up as the insides of the air brake assembly, there are alternative parts with and without moulded detail for this area - a really nice touch from Airfix. Once both of these parts are assembled, the fuselage can be joined. A clear part which represents the radio compass cover must also be fitted at this stage. 

 

Mig17_05.jpg

 

Once the fuselage halves have been joined, the front-lower part of the fuselage, which includes the muzzle detail for the cannons, can be fitted, along with the engine air intake fairing. The wings are next. If you wish to fit the optional drop tanks, you will need to drill the pre-marked holes in the lower wing surface at this stage. The wings are pretty simple to build, with the wing fences moulded in place. The kink in the wing leading edge is present and correct, but you may wish to re-profile the leading edge if the apparent lack of sharpness troubles you. Personally I can easily live with this on an aircraft so small. With the wings in place, the tail planes can be assembled. The landing gear is nicely detailed and there are some nice touches such as detail moulded on the inside of the gear doors. As mentioned above, the air brakes can be fitted in open or closed positions, although you'll need to have committed to one option or the other earlier in the build process. The canopy is nicely made and has the periscope moulded in place. There is even an oil drum included to prevent the model from sitting on its tail if you didn't manage to cram in the necessary 20 grams of weight.

 

Two options are provided on the decal sheet:
⦁    MiG-17F 3020, flown by Le Hai, 932nd Fighter Regiment, Vietnam People's Air Force, Tho Xuan, August 1969. This aircraft is finished in a disruptive two-tone green scheme; and
⦁    MiG-17F 'Blue 51', Nauchno-Issledovatel'skiy Institut Voyenno-Vozdooshnykh Seel (NII VVS – air force scientific research institute, USSR, 1970s. This airaft is finished in overall silver.
The decals themselves look thin and glossy and a full set of stencils are included.

 

Mig17_06.jpg

 

Conclusion

 

Although this kit isn't perfect, by my reckoning it is still just about the best MiG-17 available in the scale. It's a shame that the kit has some niggling issues, but I'm going to stick my neck our and say that they shouldn't detract from the fact that the kit is accurate in size and outline and should be a fun, straightforward build. I'm certainly looking forward to building mine.

 

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Review sample courtesy of 


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The only reason this kit's not already in my stash... is because it'S sold out nearly everywhere!

Thanks again for the review, Paul.

A delight to read'

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Thanks for the review! 

 

I just recieved my kit yesterday (after cancelling my Airfix USA preorder and buying one from overseas 🙄 ).

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