Hobby Boss 1/72 MiG-15bis Fagot Build Review
By Chuck Holte
|Date of Review
|Nicely molded, good fit, accurate, inexpensive
|One piece windscreen/canopy, missing pylons for external tanks
In late September 1953, two months after the Armistice, a young North Korean pilot, Lt No Kum-Sok, defected to freedom in the south while flying his MiG-15bis, Red 2057. The Lieutenant landed at K-14, Kimpo Air Base, just west of the South Korean capital city of Seoul. In doing so, Lt No came to participate in Operation Moolah, a project to pay $100,000 to anyone delivering an intact MiG-15, NATO reporting name Fagot, into the hands of the USAF for exploitation. The jet was quickly disassembled and crated for a flight aboard a C-124 to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, where it was reassembled and flown by at least three US pilots, including Chuck Yeager.
After a number of flights at Kadena (some say 11), the MiG was again crated and shipped to Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio for further exploitation by the intelligence community. Eventually, the MiG was handed over to the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson, where it was restored and can be seen today. Lt No (pronounced "ro") Americanized his name to Ken Rowe, became a successful aircraft engineer and is reportedly still active as a participant/speaker at aviation related events in the US. You can read more about Operation Moolah and Lt No/Mr Rowe at: http://www.psywarrior.com/Moolah.html
The Hobby Boss MiG-15bis Fagot is a delightful little kit. Well molded and easy to assemble, it captures the chunky lines of the early Soviet jet. The sturdy box contains 52 parts on three sprue frames plus the individually packaged one-piece wing and horizontally split fuselage. The clear canopy is molded in one piece with the windscreen. Several parts are unnecessarily duplicated (fuel tank sway braces, radio antenna, pitot tubes and actuator struts for the speed brakes) and oddly, the pylons for the external drop tanks are not included on the sprue. Along with the 400 liter tank external tanks, the kit also provides an option for 250 liter slipper tanks.
Cockpit detail and seat are adequate for this level of kit but benefit from aftermarket bits (more later). Landing gear wells, struts and wheels are nicely detailed. The 8X11 inch, one page instruction sheet and painting guide is clear and functional. Decals are provided for two jets, supposedly a V-VS aircraft stationed in China in 1951, #384; and a PLA aircraft "Red Fox," #4115, with a red tail. Decals appear thin, crisp and in register, however I didn't use them for my project.
I've wanted to build a model of Lt No's MiG for some time due to its interesting history. The Hobby Boss kit is inexpensive and looked like an easy build, so I decided to model No's aircraft as it was tested in Okinawa in 1953, with US Air Force markings for "616" using decals from my spares box.
Although the instructions don't mention it, I added as much lead as I could to the front end to avoid a tail sitter. I used Model Master Interior Blue Green (Modern Russian) for the cockpit and added a set of pre-panted Eduard PE #SS336 for the missing interior details. Because the interior came out so well, I decided to separate the windscreen from the canopy with a fine toothed saw and display it with the canopy open. There were no surprises in the build, everything went together well and only a small amount of putty and sanding was needed for the horizontally joined fuselage. I used a light coat of Tamiya rattle can primer followed by several light coats of Floquil Old Silver for the completed fuselage. I experimented with several weathering methods including airbrushing a diluted mix of Tamiya Smoke and using pastel chalks to give the aircraft the well-used look it probably had when flying in Okinawa.
I enjoyed building the Hobby Boss kit and, with the addition of the Eduard interior PE set, I'm quite pleased with my model of Lt No's MiG-15. Recommended for all with an interest in first generation Soviet jets.