Kitty Hawk Models 1/48 MiG-25PD Foxbat E Build Review
|Date of Review||November 2013||Manufacturer||Kitty Hawk Models|
|Subject||MiG-25PD Foxbat E||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||80119||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||New-tool kit of this subject||Cons||A few minor glitches (see text)|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$69.95|
For a look at this kit out of the box, look here. The MiG-25 is an interesting subject in that it is the only operational fighter/interceptor that could operate above Mach 2.5 and in fact could push to Mach 2.8. You'll note that when some aircraft list out their top speeds, those are usually in a clean configuration, not so the MiG-25. The Foxbat could take its full payload of four R-40 (AA-6 Acrid) missiles to Mach 2.8 and still had power left over. There was at least one documented case where a reconnaissance MiG-25 (no external stores) exceeded Mach 3.0, but not without some engine damage.
In its early days, the MiG-25P was strictly an interceptor as it did not have a gun nor missiles that could operate at close range. The R-40 missiles were capable of Mach 4.5 with a minimum range of approximately 19 miles. Once the MiG-25 closed inside that range, it could do nothing to its target except ram it. When the aircraft was updated as the MiG-25PD, it could replace two of the R-40s on the outboard pylons with up to four R-60 (AA-8 Aphid) dogfight missiles giving the aircraft its first close-in attack capability.
As I mentioned in my first-look at this kit, Kitty Hawk had a few details in the kit that could be considered bovine scatology. First are the intakes which feature FOD doors that close over the intake opening - neither the MiG-25 nor the follow-on MiG-31 had such a feature. The FOD doors are a feature of the MiG-29 and Su-27 series. With the closed-off intakes in this kit, there are no intake ducts nor engine compressor faces to be seen should you eliminate the FOD doors. There is a simple workaround to this as I will demonstrate shortly.
The other glitch in the kit are the ailerons - the kit has them both posed drooped which hints at a fly-by-wire flight control system. The MiG-25 had normal flight control rigging as does the MiG-31, so when the flight controls are neutral, the ailerons should be as well. This is a very easy fix - don't pay attention to the instructions!
I was a little surprised to see that the general assembly of this kit is very similar to the old Revell 1/48 MiG-25 kit, so I decided to do a quick-build of that model to get my bearings and work out the approach to the intakes. Now it is time to get started on this gem...
The materials used in this build include:
- Kitty Hawk 1/48 MiG-25PD/PDS (80119)
- Neomega 1/48 MiG-25 Cockpit (C62)
- Eduard 1/48 MiG-25 Exhaust Detail Set (48509)
- Eduard 1/48 MiG-25 Exterior Detail Set (48510)
- Eduard 1/48 MiG-25 Interior Detail Set (49311)
- Eduard 1/48 MiG-25 Masks (EX046)
A note on colors: The kit doesn't provide many color matches to paint this aircraft, so I'll share what our color system recommends:
Airframe: The overall airframe color for the MiG-25 is a unique blue-gray that comes very close to FS 26293, BSC 18B21, and RAL 7042, but there aren't any hobby paints for these color standards. Akan produces this color as 73059 if you have that available, but some options that come really close include:
- Testors: 1725 Neutral Gray
- Mr.Hobby: H334 Barley Gray
- Vallejo: 71.051 Barley Gray
Radome/Dilectrics: The kit recommends FS 36118 which is okay, but you'll see variations of color on the radomes and dilectric panels. The more common color is a dark gray that is also fairly common in the hobby paint arena:
- Akan: 73010 Radome Gray
- Mr.Hobby: H333 Extra Dark Sea Gray
- Tamiya: XF63 German Gray
- Testors: 4784 Graugrun
- Vallejo: 70.995 German Gray
Cockpit Interior: The kit recommends 'Air Superiority Blue' which is similar to the cockpit color used in Chinese aircraft, not Russian. The standard cockpit color for the MiG-25 at the time was the distinctive turquoise used by the MiG OKB (and others) before it was shifted to a blue-gray in later blocks of the MiG-29 production and recently reworked MiG OKB airframes. Looking at the turquoise, the hobby paint options include:
- Testors 2135 Interior Blue/Green
- Akan 73005 Emerald Green (new)
- Akan 73006 Emerald Green (faded)
- Vallejo produces 70.838 Emerald
Wheel Hubs: Akan indicates that their 73060 is their match for the green wheel hubs as well as the green dilectrics/radome as depicted on this kit's box art. The closest alternative that matches this shade is Mr.Hobby H312 which is FS 34227.
I'll add and remove items from this kit as the project goes on, but this is the current parts line-up for this build.
The Neomega cockpit was designed to fit into the Revell 'bat and it is too wide to fit inside the Kitty Hawk fuselage. The Neomega ejection seat fits perfectly into the Kitty Hawk cockpit tub, so I will likely be building a composite cockpit featuring Kitty Hawk, Neomega, and Eduard parts.
The insides of those huge intakes have lots of ejector pin marks, so the first step is simply filling those divots with 3M Acrylic Red Putty along with the molded-in grooves for the closed FOD doors. I wet-sanded the parts and will add another layer to remove any imperfections from the first go.
You can see in this image that I've also filled in the slot for the FOD door on the splitter plate. When test fitting the splitter plates onto the fuselage sides, there are three large pins that protrude through the plate. As you can see in the example on the right, I've cut these flush to the splitter plate and will not be seen.
As I'm evaluating my fixes to the engine intake problem, I've decided that I want to extend my solution into the main fuselage, but I need that main fuselage built-up so I can do my test fitting, so aside go the intakes, cockpit and forward fuselage for the time being...
Assembly of the rear fuselage starts with those huge afterburner chambers. I shot the insides with Tamiya Gray Primer, then applied a wash of Lamp Black oil paint to weather the insides.
The turbine faces on the kit part are fine, but I wanted a bit more depth so I painted the inside of the end caps black, turbine faces and all, installed the turbine blades from the Eduard exhaust detail set, then added the kit's afterburner spray rings washed in Lamp Black over the top. You can see the results in the full afterburner chambers below.
I decided to wait on the afterburner nozzles until later in the build which turned out to be fortunate. As I was test-fitting the afterburner assembly into the lower fuselage half and closing it up with the upper fuselage half, I noticed that the rear wasn't properly seating together. The problem was simple as was the solution - on the rear-most rings around the afterburner chambers, there is a notch cut out to accommodate the upper vertical stabilizer recesses in the upper fuselage half, but no similar notch on the lower side for the ventral fin recesses.
I simply cut corresponding notches in the lower rings and you can see below that the upper and lower fuselage halves rest properly (not yet glued in place as the main wheel wells are next).
As I'm admiring my handiwork, I notice that there is a hole molded in place for the port side stabilator but no hole on the starboard side. I quickly fixed this oversight and moved on to the main wheel wells.
To be continued...
Recommended for experienced modelers.
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!