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MiG-29A (Izdelye 9.12)

Scale: 1/72nd
Manufacturer: Trumpeter
Ref No: 01674
Material: IM
UK Distributor: Pocketbond Ltd
UK Price: £17.99

MiG-29A (Izdelye 9.12)
MiG-29A (Izdelye 9.12) MiG-29A (Izdelye 9.12) MiG-29A (Izdelye 9.12) MiG-29A (Izdelye 9.12)
See the in-box preview for this kit here.

At the beginning I have to clarify that despite my original intention to build this kit solely out of the box, I eventually used a few aftermarket items, which I had collected previously for older 1/72 scale kits, in particular that produced by Italeri. The new Trumpeter kit required extra detail, especially the cockpit, which looked a bit simplified and did not match the quality of rest of the kit. I assume that there will so be etched and resin bits for this kit (in fact just before completion of my build Eduard announced several sets in their Brassin range); however, I thought some of the already-mentioned older sets, which I’m afraid may otherwise remain redundant, could be well utilised here,plus many modellers may have them already.
Anyway, back to the kit; the cockpit offers the tub, two-part KM-36 seat, instrument panel, control stick, the pilot figure and decals for sidewall panels; all looked schematic, but useable only if canopy is posed closed. I compared the cockpit with an Aires resin example designed for the Italeri kit and found the dimensions are almost spot on, except for the rear section where the Trumpeter kit seems to be too tapered (which may not be completely correct). With little trimming and thinning the fuselage walls the resin tube eventually nicely fitted inside and I also cut off the rear block of electronics and painted it all light grey (Gunze Sangyo Mr Aqueous Hobby Color H417) with details picked out in black and dark grey. The seat was airbrushed gloss black with the cushion done in matt black with some grey seat belts and red ejection handles. The fuselage is horizontally split in two that perfectly matched except the front part where the joint leaves the actual panel lines and had to be filled with cyanoacrylate. Be careful here though and try to minimise the sanding on the fuselage sides as you can change the profile just in front of the nose cone as I did. In the nose I placed 5g of lead ballast, attached the nose cone and with a small amount of filler I rectified the nose profile and continued with the air ducts. Here I opted for other modification again as I was not fully satisfied with the rendition of the air inlets. Planes on the ground should be in principle modelled with the bottom main inlets open and the upper 'gills' on the wing closed; these are keep open (synchronised with the closure of main inlets) only during taxying and taking off in order to prevent FOD being ingested into the engines, and it is exactly this latter configuration that the kit offers, which is totally illogical for a model that will be built and posed as if stationery on the ground. So I filled the upper inlets with pieces of 0.5mm thick plasticard and engraved the individual louvres. The main inlets can be easily left open as the kit provides a nice rendition of the compressor faces, while the covers can be glued in place after removing the upper distance pin. However, this all can be bypassed by using some etched FOD guards, which I believe will be included in some of the aftermarket sets. The long body of the air ducts again perfectly matched the fuselage so I could continue with the rear air brake and parachute container. The vertical tailplanes should be attached at a gently angle and this is something the instructions do not show, so check photograph. The floating horizontal tailplanes can be handled separately and glued to the kit at the end of build, as can the exhaust nozzles, which looked fine once painted with Alclad 2 Jet Exhaust. After completion of the wheel wells and attaching the windshield the kit was ready for paint, however, I needed to rectify the panel lines as some were almost invisible, especially on the air ducts and fuselage sides. Oppositely, the fine rivet detail is not too heavy and thus looks pretty convincing. With a fine drill bit I opened the rather shallow 30mm gun port in the wing leading edge, whilst its blast suppression outlet with fine grilles looked a bit shallow and softly moulded, but it too much of a challenge to improve.

Colour & Markings
The kit provides marking for a Hungarian and a Russian option, but from the beginning I intend to build a Czechoslovak, or more precisely Czech, aircraft using left-over decals from the Airfix kit for the machine coded '7702' from the 1st Fighter Air Regiment, 1993. As a painting guide I utilised the instructions from the Eduard 1/48th scale kit that can be downloaded from their website and modified the recommended colours as follows: Dark Green (H309), Light Green (70% H422 + 30% H303), Ochre (H44), Dark Brown (H17) and Light Blue Grey (H337).
From the kit I therefore used only the decals for ordnance and overall these decals looked flawlessly printed and responded well to Mr Mark Setter and Softer solutions without any tendency to silver. This was quite important in the case of the missile carriers as their stencilling was printed on a common piece of clear film which virtually covered the complete surface of the individual carriers.

You get three types of air-to-air missiles commonly used on the MiG-29; R-27, R-60 and R-73 plus two sizes of drop tanks (two PTB-1150’s and a PTB-1500). Since I was building a machine from the Czech Air Defence Emergency Flight with 'live' missiles, I used only the R-60s and R-73s, as they were typically carried. Machines that took part at various displays  abroad usually carried a large PTB-1500 drop tank (nicknamed 'submarine') and often also 'full' armament albeit of dummy missiles. 
I continued with the landing gear which is beautifully detailed (the nose gear consists of seven parts on its own) including the landing lights and delicate covers. I added only brake lines from 0.2mm lead wires. The wheels from the kit are pretty nice but in order to decrease my high stock of aftermarket sets I replaced them with the resin examples from North Star Models because they offer more delicate tread pattern and extremely fine sidewall markings. Additionally, the hubs were separately cast and that made the painting much easier as no masking was required. The main gear legs looked a bit fragile at first glance because they are split into two parts, but thanks to their tight and precise fit they are quite sturdy and have an additional supporting strut at the rear. Just watch for their correct angle against the airframes longitudinal axis as this can be clearly see in any photograph.
Now I added yet another batch of bits from my stock, namely a cast pitot and the incredible tiny brass static dischargers on the wing/tail trailing edges from the Master Model range. Finally I attached the canopy on which I used thin white decal stripes to simulate the seals, and then aLL the remaining bits such as the mirrors and IRTS clear lens. The kit also provides a gorgeous tow bar that I painted orange and placed next to my completed model.

This is the best MiG-29A (‘9-12’) in 1/72nd scale on the market. It scores highly for its easy assembly, lovely detail and a good selection of ordnance. It has its flaws too, but they are minor and not be too disturbing, or can be easily addressed with aftermarket sets. This kit is one of the best Trumpeter efforts in this scale to date and looking at the alternative parts on the sprues I guess we may see other versions and the two-seater before too long.

Our thanks to Pocketbond Ltd (www.pocketbond.co.uk) for the review sample.