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MiG 1.44
Russian Multi-Role Fighter

 

Zvezda
 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 7252 - MiG- 1.44
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: See Text
Price: USD$23.96 available online from Squadron
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Excellent molding; clever parts breakdown; fine detail; exceptionally clear canopy parts.
Disadvantages: No painting guide for interior components
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by "Bondo Phil" Brandt


Zvezda's 1/72 scale MiG 1.44 is available online from Squadron.com
 

Background

 

Even the most jaded booster of American fighter aircraft has to admit that, for the past twenty years, the ex-Evil Empire's really been "getting with the (fighter) program." They had to, of course, because since 1976 the F-15 in the hands of not only the hometown boys, but also the Israelis had been beating the performance of existing Soviet/Russian fighters like a drum. First came the Fulcrum, and then its bigger, badder brother, the Flanker, which offered the first serious threat to Western fighter supremacy. As in the game of Poker, the F-22 Raptor "saw" the Flanker and "raised" the stakes considerably, as has European development of the Eurofighter and Rafale.

Russia's answer to the American ATF program which spawned the F-22, was the development (started in 1986) of a fifth generation, Multi-role fighter (MFI) which has since morphed into the Mig 1.44, a fly-by-wire, fire-and-forget, vectored thrust weapon system. Although F-22 development and production funding has, and will continue to be a problem, it pales in comparison to the gigantic financial obstacles facing Russia's post-1991military structure. Accordingly, the secretive Mig 1.44's first flight, originally planned for 1996, didn't occur until 2000. Further development and series production is cloudy to say the least.

 

 

FirstLook

 

This curmudgeon really wishes Zvezda would move up to 1/48 releases, 'cause this surely looks like a nice kit and would be a perfect companion to the F-22, Typhoon and Rafale. Overall airframe shape and detailing of this close-held aircraft may be assumed to be accurate, since Zvezda states that the model was developed with the blessings of the Mikoyan Design Bureau.

 


Molding

Excellent!

Crisp with essentially zero flash. Engraving is very petite and sharp, in keeping with the smaller scale. Sprue attachment points are fairly small, equal to those of Tamiyagawa. None of those European limited production releases wherein the spigots are gigantic, often larger than the part to which they are joined. Instead of alignment pins, there are corner guides, which allow for minute adjustments when gluing. There are a few light sink marks on the two smaller underwing pylons, but that's an easy fix. Surface texture is flat, in the manner of glass-beaded molds, but seems to be much finer than that of, say, Fonderies Miniature. In any event, the airframe is not NMF, but intermediate blue over light ghost gray, and the fine texture of the parts makes for excellent paint holding qualities.


 

Assembly Breakdown

The fuselage features side-by-side forward halves and top/bottom aft sections. The delta wings are essentially one piece with cleverly designed smaller bottom inserts that shouldn't require any filling. Two of the three edges of the inserts form the natural gap that exists between the slats, flaperons, and their junctures with the main wing assembly. The third "gap" is covered by a weapons pylon. The cockpit tub (four-piece seat; I'd probably substitute one of the nice and "busy" resin aftermarket K-36 seats) is straightforward with no molded instrument/console detail, using decals instead, as in Zvezda's previously released Mig-31 Foxhound. Finely detailed, two-piece afterburner assemblies offer two configurations.



Intake

The multipiece intake trunk strongly resembles that of the Eurofighter and is cleverly shaped, using bowed vari-ramps to hide the fact that there's no uninterrupted smooth tunnel to the compressor faces which are glued to the main gear wells.



Landing Gear

All gear strut assemblies are multipiece which, in 1/72, calls for some delicate glue application. Wheel wells are added to the fuselage assembly from the inside and have minimal piping details.



Clear Parts

The windscreen and canopy are separate, fairly thin and exceptionally clear. For those wishing to go the open canopy route, two simple raising mechanisms are included. A display stand is included for those desiring an in-flight presentation.



Decals and Color Guide

Exterior colors are called out and listed in Model Master paint reference numbers, but no advice is given re cockpit, intake and wheel well colors. The decal sheet is small but certainly adequate, especially for a 1/72 model of a secretive aircraft. Two marking schemes are offered.



Instructions

The instruction booklet has eight pages of easily understood assembly drawings with minimal bilingual text and decent three-views for marking/color reference.


 

Conclusion

 

This curmudgeonly fan of Russian aircraft is impressed!

Zvezda is very, very close in overall quality to the Big Dogs of the industry.

Now, won't some enterprising Russian/Ukrainian outfit please do one in 1/48 scale?

Recommended.

Thanks to Squadron for the review sample.


Review and Images Copyright 2004 by Phil Brandt
Page Created 22 November, 2004
Last updated 21 November, 2004

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