LEM 1/32 MiG-27M Flogger J Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2010||Manufacturer||LEM|
|Subject||MiG-27M Flogger J||Scale||1/32|
|Kit Number||-||Primary Media||Resin|
|Pros||Limited run casting of the first MiG-27 in resin or styrene in 1/32 scale||Cons||Some details will need to be scratchbuilt, no instructions, no decals, some portions of the fuselage are paper thin|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$160+ plus shipping|
The MiG-27 was a dedicated ground attack aircraft that was derived from the MiG-23. Much of the MiG-27 airframe is similar to MiG-23 prompting NATO to assign the MiG-23 Codename: Flogger to the MiG-27 as well. In fact, the first ground attack variant was the MiG-23BN which retained the same engine and splitter plates as the fighter MiG-23, but its radar nose had been replaced with a steeply sloped nose housing a laser range finder and other specialized avionics. The unique shape of the ground attack Flogger nose earned it the nickname of 'Utkanos' (duck nose).
The MiG-27 retained the nose of the MiG-23BN, but gained an engine and splitter plate optimized for low altitude operations. It also was armed with a gatling gun to replace the MiG-23's standard GSh-23 twin-barrel 23mm cannon. These first MiG-27s were designated as Flogger D, and further improvements to the type were incorporated into the MiG-23M Flogger J.
The MiG-27M has improved electro-optical targeting systems in the nose, a larger caliber gatling gun. The MiG-27M was also updated to carry a wide range of tactical air-to-surface missiles in addition to the array of bombs and rockets. The ventral and glove pylons were still wired to carry heat-seeking air-to-air missiles like the K-13 (Atoll) and R-60 (Aphid). This aircraft was exported to India as the MiG-27L.
Last year, I found a listing for a 1/32 MiG-27M kit in resin on eBay. I looked at the images, looked at the seller's feedback, and looked at the price - $90 USD (nobody was bidding on this). I decided to take a risk and bought the kit. The seller is from Kiev in the Ukraine, so there is a very good chance that the details were going to be as good as the images.
A week later, a box arrived from the Ukraine inside a huge envelope smothered in stamps. My MiG had arrived. The first thing I was curious about was the company that was producing this kit. There were no markings on the box indicating a company name, so at the time of the original review of this kit, I listed it as BFOM (Beats the Frack Out of Me). I've since learned that this Ukrainian company is doing business as LEM.
First, the pictures in the eBay listing don't do this kit justice. I am VERY impressed with the workmanship. The kit is molded in resin, but most of the larger parts are hollow cast, sometimes a little too thin in places, but more on that later.
The kit is packed in a box with all of the parts safely wrapped in bubblewrap and stored inside a large zip-lock bag. Everything arrived safe and sound. Among the features of the kit:
- Hollow-cast fuselage
- Vacuformed canopies, two provided
- Resin landing gear has brass rod reinforcements
- Detailed landing gear
- Basic cockpit
- Basic wheel wells
- Lots of detail parts
- Nice array of bombs and rocket pods provided
- Nice selection of lenses provided for landing lights, nav lights, and the HUD lens
Now this kit should be undertaken by an experienced resin modeler as there are a few challenges:
- Some of the areas on the fuselage castings are paper thin, but reinforcing these areas with a few coats of thick cyano will do the trick
- The cockpit is spartan but can be easily detailed out with the variety of images now available. In fact, the seller provides you with a CD with a nice MiG-27 reference article (in Russian) and a number of detail photos taken from a static display aircraft
- You'll need the reference CD as there are no instructions provided, but this kit isn't complex, so a little common sense and good photos will get you through the project
- The canopies are vacuformed out of a heavy clear plastic, almost like Lexan. Unfortunately, there are no details provided on these vac parts, so you'll have to scratchbuild the windscreen and canopy framing out of strip styrene
- No decals are provided, but there are plenty of 1/32 Soviet Air Force decals out there and these ground attack aircraft didn't wear many markings. Interesting camouflage, yes, markings, no
- Some of the details like the afterburner section dorsal intake scoops are basic shapes that are not hollow. These can be replaced with some of the hollow scoops from Quickboost or simply hollow the kit parts out with your handy Dremel
- There is a nice length tail pipe with afterburner flame ring detail inside, but no details down the intake
At the time of the original review, Trumpeter's 1/32 MiG-23 Flogger kit was still a distant release item. Today the MiG-23MF is now available and if you know much about the Flogger family, you know that there is a great deal of parts commonality between the MiG-23 and MiG-27. I had envisioned using parts out of the Trumpeter kit to help detail this MiG-27 and that project is now underway.
When I bought this kit last year, I was able to get it for $90 USD. Today the kit demand has driven up the kit price to $160, but it remains the only MiG-27 available in this scale and while Trumpeter has announced an 'utkanos' MiG-27 sometime in the future, it is still unclear whether we'll see this MiG-27M or the earlier MiG-27 variant. Imagine my pleasant surprise to learn that LEM has now released a 1/32 Su-17M-3 Fitter H that is also available via eBay for $120 USD.
This kit is recommended for experienced multimedia modelers!
If you want one of your own, the only place I can find this kit is on eBay from seller ruporator.