A multi-part Online build
Model, Text and Photos by: Jeff Stoermer
I'm starting this review, in the hopes that it can be used as a future reference for modelers who are interested in the MiG-29 and this kit.
For starters, let me begin with a short description of the kit and it's contents. Upon examining the fuselage pieces and comparing them with some references from World Air Power Journal and Jane's, it shows that this aircraft is actually one of the export versions of the MiG-29 Fulcrum. Known as design 9-12SD or MiG-29SD Fulcrum-A, it can be distinguished from the basic Fulcrum in that it has the later 6-hole flash suppressor, standard short tailbooms, and the short span ailerons. This aircraft can be most related to the initial batch of aircraft sold to Malaysia under the designation MiG-29N. It appears that Revell may have wanted to build this kit or a later kit as the large spine Fulcrum-C. Unfortunately, they didn't so we are left to do it ourselves. Now, looking at the rest of the parts, all trees, except for the canopy parts of course, come molded in light gray plastic, with crisply recessed panel lines and assorted rivet detail. The trees were separated in plastic bags, with the clear parts in their own. The kit decals appear to be in great shape and on register. Two schemes are available from the box: a camouflage East German aircraft or the Russian aircraft "315" that participated in the North American tour. Detail in some areas is great, but in others it is severely lacking. An example of the lacking areas are the cockpit area to include the cockpit tub, K-36D ejection seat, the instrument panel with it hood, HUD and wheel wells. These areas will be the basis for this first part of my construction.
The Compendium book "Advanced Aviation Modelling", is a great source of reference for the needed scratchbuilding. I've been using it as a guide for my own construction. Because the pictures do not give measurements, you'll have to use your own artistic talent to gauge lengths and the such.
I began with removing the plastic from the all three wheel wells, using a cauterizing medical tool. After those areas were cleared, I cleaned them up with standing sticks. Once satisfied there, I took my Dremel tool and started thinning out the areas beneath the many vents and openings on the lower fuselage and gun vent/suppressor areas. I also used the Dremel tool and removed the kit's HUD from the instrument panel hood. Once finished with removing all unwanted plastic, I drilled out a starter hole in each vent, using a hand drill. From this I used a rat tailed square file and removed the rest of the plastic, leaving the suitable openings. A word of caution here, the flash suppressor vent is the wrong shape. It should be more teardrop shaped, rather than round. This was fixed with CA glue. That done, I drilled out the actual gun muzzle where the bullets exit, once again using my hand drill. From here, I began the construction of the main wheel wells. Using only scrap plastic sheeting I had from an old orange and white sign, some Evergreen railroad siding sheets, and Evergreen strips. Using the Compendium book as a visual guide, I measured and cut the needed pieces for the first section of each bulkhead. This section was scored into three equal pieces and folded into to shape. After dry fitting to ensure it was ok, the part was glued in place with Weld-On. The opposite side was completed in the same fashion. I here used the railroad siding to create the top bulkhead of each wheel well. Measure and cut the pieces to fit across both wells, then glue into place with more liquid glue. Allowing those pieces to dry, I started placing some bits of plastic on the instrument panel hood, in order to better represent the actual Fulcrum.
At this point, I'm to 6 hours of construction time. Now I began the meticulous process of inserting the grillwork in to each vent. This was achieved using more Evergreen strips, cut to size and glued in place with WeldOn liquid cement.
Finally finished with the smaller vents, I was able to get to the flash suppressor. As I said earlier, you'll need to adjust the shape of this, to a more teardrop shape. Fill the edges with CA glue or another suitable material. For the flash suppressor vents, I used some of the leftover orange plastic stock I had and cut pieces into a crescent shape. I dry fitted them several times, ensuring they looked correct, before permanently mounting them to the model with more liquid cement. In hindsight, I probably could have used brass sheets for the grillwork.
With the various vents, the flash suppressor and part of the wheel well complete, I then moved on and began the construction of the Fulcrum's GSh-301 30mm cannon. The cannon is mounted in the left LEX, just below the cockpit. It is reportedly highly accurate due to it being slaved to the IRST and a laser range finder. Therefore, the designers only allowed for 150 rounds to be installed. Talk about confidence! The gun itself only took 2 hours to complete, once I had everything figured out. I had only black and white photos of the gun to use, but they were enough to complete the job. The barrel is a 16-gauge needle, with the catheter left on to simulate the recoil absorbing section. The rest was completed from various scraps of plastic stock out of the spares box and a 1/72 landing gear strut from an F-14. All in all, I'm pretty pleased with it's look, and cannot wait to get it painted, weathered and installed in the model.
While searching through some more reference photographs, I came across one that showed the MiG-29's APU exhaust. The exhaust itself is a retractable box shape, with an extra heat plate bolted onto the skin to prevent damage. The plate is located on the right interior intake trunk, and was simply replicated with more sheet plastic cut to the appropriate shape and glued in place.
To round out the day's work, I finished up the main wheel wells. These were closed up with more sheet plastic and styrene strips. Using a contour gauge to get a rough shape and depth, the sheets were cut to size and tacked into place. Once a section had dried, they were bent into shape and permanently glued into the proper position. Thicker Evergreen sheets were used to create the bulkhead top, where I'll later add ribbing and the necessary plumbing.
This wraps up this installment of my MiG-29 project. As I continue construction and if the interest is there, I'll submit further articles on my progress. As most of you know, I currently deployed to Saudi Arabia on a 90-day tour, so this project is an interesting way to eat up time. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments. Thanks for reading.
Part 2 Coming Soon