Red Star 1/72 MiG-3 Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||January 2009||Manufacturer||Red Star|
|Kit Number||101||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice kit of Soviet fighter||Cons||Thick canopy part. Sparse cockpit detail. Flaps molded solid.|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of WWII. It was a development of the MiG-1 by the OKO (opytno-konstrooktorskiy otdel – Experimental Design Department) of Zavod factory no. 1 to fix the issues that had been encountered and seen over the development and deployment cycle.
Mikoyan and Gurevich made a large number of modifications to the MiG-1 design following both field use and research in the T-1 wind tunnel belonging to the General Aero and Hydrodynamics Institute (TsAGI). These changes were mostly done piecemeal on the assembly line.
- Moving the engine forward 4 inches, which improved stability
- Increase the outer wingpanel dihedral by one degree, which also increased stability
- Introduction of a new water radiator (OP-310), which allows for an additional 250 L fuel tank
- Venting and piping exhaust gas into the fuel tanks to reduce fire in case of enemy fire
- Adding 8 mm armor behind the pilot (increased to 9 mm in later models)
- Streamlining supercharger intakes
- Strengthening the main landing gear
- Increasing the size of the main wheels to 25.5 x 7.87”
- Improved canopy, which improved views to the rear and allowed for the installation of a shelf behind the pilot for an RSI-1 radio (later upgraded to a RSI-4)
- Re-design of the instrument panel
- Upgrade of the PBP-1 gunsight to the PBP-1A gunsight
- Increase in ammo load for the ShKAS guns to 750 rounds per gun
- Additional underwing hardpoints added to carry up to 485 lbs of bombs, spray containers or 8 x RS-82 unguided rockets
The first aircraft to see all of these changes applied to them was I-200 No. 4, which was the fourth prototype of the I-200, which later became the MiG-1. It first flew in late October 1940. Following it’s successful first flight, it was then passed to the Soviet Air Force for state trials.
During this testing, NKAP = the People’s Ministry of the Aircraft Industry announced that the three Zavods building the MiG-3 at the time would be required to build a total of 3,600 in 1941. The first MiG-3 rolled off the assembly line on December 20, 1940. By March 1941, 10 of these aircraft were coming off the production line every day. It was not long before the type would see combat, claiming a pair of German Ju-86 reconnaissance aircraft even before the start of hostilities between Germany and the Soviet Union. By the time of Operation Barbarossa, over 1,200 MiG-3’s had been delivered.
Red Star was a model company based in Beckenham, Kent UK. It was distributed worldwide by CMS Marketing International, also in the UK. A search of the internet shows that both these companies no longer exist, and can I found a hobby shop that stocks this brand. I purchased my kit almost 30 years ago.
The kit comes in a cello bag attached to a header card. The face of this card shows a MiG-3 in winter camouflage joining 3 other MiG-3’s that are in green and brown wave camouflage above and blue below. The one in winter camouflage has a white fuselage aft of the exhaust pipes. The nose forward of this is all bare metal. The outer section of the top of the wings is bright red. The aircraft has large red stars on the fuselage and tail and a the black number 02 in front of the star on the tail. The propeller spinner is red. The nearest MiG-3 in the background has the white fuselage number of 04 and the next one behind it carries a white 7 on the tail. The third MiG-3 is too far distant to make out any markings on it. The first 3 markings mentioned are all on the kit’s decal sheet.
The header card is folded over the top of the cello bag and the part folded over has side profiles of the three schemes mentioned above, a view of the top for the 2 with brown and green camouflage. It is also shown that the one in winter scheme has some small stenciling on the nose just in front of the exhaust stacks on one side. These illustrations also say that the red stars were also under the wings. This is wrong, Soviet fighters in WWII did not carry the national stars there.
Inside the cello bag are 2 medium gray parts trees, a clear cockpit transparency and the decal sheet. The reverse side of the header card has the kits assembly instructions on it. This consists of 3 exploded drawings, followed by 9 step by step written instructions of how to assemble things. There are no parts tree drawings provided and no part numbers molded on the trees. This is strange, as the exploded drawings have the parts numbered there. What this means is identifying the parts by their shapes in the drawings and finding them on the two trees. Fortunately, there are few parts in the kit to wade through. Bad move Red Star.
The first medium gray parts tree holds: the fuselage halves, propeller, pilot figure, air intakes, cockpit floor, tailwheel and one upper wing half (9 parts)
The second medium gray parts tree holds: the lower wing center section, the other wing upper half, horizontal tail surfaces, pilot seat, propeller shaft, antenna, landing gear legs, and alternate landing gear doors for extended or closed gear and upper cowling panel (19 parts) Flaps are all molded solid and would take surgery to re-position.
The single clear cockpit transparency is next and it is thick as a Coke bottle bottom and best to vacuform over to make a thinner copy. However, the cockpit interior is very sparse with just a floor, seat, joystick and pilot figure. There is no dashboard provided and the pilot has a nasty sink mark in his chest (the same as the pilot in Red Star’s LaGG 3 kit).
The decal sheet completes the kit’s contents. Already described above.