September 2016


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Mikoyan MiG-29A

1st Tactical Squadron, Minsk Mazowiecki Air Base,

Polish Air Force 2016

Italeri 1/72

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Background Image: MiG-29 at the Royal International Air Tattoo, 2015

Have a look at my Friends & Allies pages for more NATO aircraft

Together with the Su-27 Flanker, the MiG-29 Fulcrum represents the pinnacle of Cold War Soviet fighter design.  Introduced to service in 1982 as one of a family of Air Superiority aircraft designed in response to the F-14, F-15 and F-16, it shares many aerodynamic features with its larger sibling, the Flanker, albeit with far simpler avionics.  Later Mig-29s added ground attack capabilities and were widely exported with many remaining in service today.

The Polish Air Force was one of the first export users of the Fulcrum, acquiring 10 aircraft in 1989 to replace MiG-21s in the interceptor role.  These were supplemented in 1995 with 10 ex-Czech aircraft, with another 14 ex-German aircraft arriving in 2004.  Polish Air Force MiGs have recently participated in the NATO Baltic Air Policing role, regularly intercepting Russian aircraft.  Poland is currently examining life extension programmes to extend their MiG-29 Fleet beyond 2020, however the effect of Western sanctions against Russia in response to the war in the Ukraine has made it increasingly difficult to acquire spare parts.

This is a straightforward “de-stressing, out the box” build of the Italeri MiG kit in its latest guise, which includes impressive decals representing one of the Polish Air Force MiG-29s that have appeared regularly on the airshow circuit, including this year’s (2016) Royal International Air Tattoo.  The aircraft bear the names and images of famous Polish pilots on their tails.  

The Italeri kit is generally well regarded in terms of shape and detail.  Despite reports to the contrary, I found it a relatively easy build, although the fit of the upper and lower fuselage halves requires care (and a little filler).  I started at the nose, carefully matching the stepped join in front of the LERX, then clamped and glued the rear, finally finishing with the middle section.  One wing fitted very slightly better than the other, requiring a little more filler in the gap.  The engine pods and intakes are not well moulded and require a lot of tidying up. Disappointingly they feature fully closed intake bypass doors (these are intended to enable the MiG to operate from rough strips without fear of FOD) with no interior to the intakes, as well as fully open “gills” on the upper LERX surfaces.  A number of modern Russian Air to Air weapons are provided, but these are not appropriate to the Polish example.  

Paint is Humbrol enamel, thinned and hand brushed on, with the demarcation between the upper surface greys merged whilst the paint was still wet, to give the impression of a soft edge.  A light oil wash was used to highlight detail, then a coat of Klear to assist with the decals and a final satin varnish sealer was applied to finish.  As expected, the decals worked well, although the greys used for the commemorative markings are probably not correct - whilst I have seen some variations, on the machines at RIAT these were generally the same as the main camouflage colours.

As a de-stresser and fun build, this one worked very well and gives me a fine reminder of this year’s RIAT displays!

The real thing on display at the RIAT Airshow in 2015 and 2016:

Wait a mo……that’s me, posing in front of a Russian MiG-29 - back in the days when I still had hair!   

Dubai Airshow 1995:

More photos of the real things on display at the RIAT Airshow in 2015 and 2016:

It always irks me when model manufacturers (and indeed, modellers) produce representations of commemorative markings or famous aircraft, seemingly without knowing who they honour, or what made them famous.  So whose picture is it on the tail of this MiG-29 and why? (…and why don’t Italeri tell me!). So, to clarify:

Eugeniusz Horbaczewski (28 September 1917 – 18 August 1944) was a Polish fighter pilot, a flying ace of World War II, also known as "Dziubek" (the diminutive of 'the beak' in Polish).

According to official lists, Horbaczewski was the third highest scoring Polish fighter ace, with 16.5 confirmed kills (16 individual and one shared) and one probable kill. He was awarded several decorations, among others Virtuti Militari IV class (posthumously) and V class, four times Polish Cross of Valour, Distinguished Service Order (posthumously) and Distinguished Flying Cross (twice) (from Wikipedia)