Great Wall Hobbies 1/48 MiG-29 9-12 Fulcrum A (Late) Kit First Look
|Date of Review||November 2012||Manufacturer||Great Wall Hobby|
|Subject||MiG-29 9-12 Fulcrum A (Late)||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||4811||Primary Media||Styrene/Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Beautifully done model of this distinctive aircraft||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$95.00|
In the late 1960s, the USAF started to develop a requirement for an advanced air superiority fighter based upon the lessons being learned in combat over Vietnam plus the growing threats posed by the MiG-23 and MiG-25. This program led to the F-15 Eagle followed closely by lightweight fighter program creating the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Soviet planners viewed these new fighter developments with concern and started the process for a counter-development leading to the Su-27 Flanker and its lightweight counterpart, the MiG-29 Fulcrum. Entering service in the mid-1980s, the MiG-29 is a highly maneuverable dogfighter with an impressive mix of air-to-air weapons.
The MiG-29 was in service with the Soviet Air Force, numerous Warsaw Pact air forces, and export versions were provided to a number of Soviet client nations around the world. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent dissolution of the former Warsaw Pact nations in 1991, many MiG-29s would become the frontline fighter of the new fledgling former Soviet states like the Ukraine. With the merger of East and West Germany, EGAF MiG-29s were suddenly a core part of the Luftwaffe. Some of these Luftwaffe MiG-29s have since taken part in Red Flag exercises at Nellis AFB and missile evaluation flights at Eglin AFB. While the MiG OKB has presented a variety of newer MiG-29 variants, many of these early MiG-29s remain on active duty around the world.
Great Wall Hobby is a kit manufacturer from China that has been producing a number of great subjects overlooked by other manufacturers. This latest release has been produced by several companies previously and until now, the best option for the MiG-29 was Eduard's boxing of the Academy kit bundled with a number of their aftermarket details. Despite the number of attempts at the MiG-29 from a number of companies, nobody has really captured the details of the aircraft - until now.
This kit represents an Izdelie (Article) 9-12 design which was the first production version of the aircraft and was probably produced in the greatest numbers. Identified by NATO as 'Fulcrum A', the 9-12 is in service with numerous air forces around the world. Izdelie 9-13 is distinguished by its humped dorsal spine and is identified by NATO as 'Fulcrum C'. The commonly seen two-seater is Izdelie 9-51 also known as the MiG-29UB and designated by NATO as Fulcrum 'B'. You've no-doubt seen Trumpeter's 1/32 MiG-29M (Izdelie 9-15) and MiG-29K (Izdelie 9-31).
This kit is molded in light gray gray and presented on 18 parts trees and represents some of the most advanced injection-molding I've seen to date. More on this shortly. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nicely detailed cockpit
- Instrument panel populated with individual instrument face decals (NICE!)
- Nice K-36DM ejection seat with photo-etch harness
- Positionable canopy
- Choice of open or closed auxiliary inlets
- Choice of open or closed FOD cover intakes
- Nice dorsal chaff/flare launchers
- Two detailed RD-33 engines
- Optional engine stand to display engine separately
- Positionable speed brakes
- Correct and positionable enlarged rudders
- Positionable stabilators
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionable leading and trailing edge flaps
- Positionable landing gear
External stores include:
- 2 x R-27R (AA-10 Alamo A)
- 4 x R-73 (AA-11 Archer)
- 2 x external underwing tanks
- 1 x centerline fuel tank
The inboard pylons are plumbed for external tanks and are the only stations that are rated for the R-27, so you'll have to choose between fuel or missiles for your inboards.
This is the first kit that has captured the centerline tank correctly. On the full-scale aircraft, the only place that the MiG engineers could put an Auxiliary Power Unit was between the engines exhausting downward. The problem with this was that it would exhaust directly onto the external tank. The simple solution was to build an exhaust duct right through the middle of the tank and route the hot gasses out below the external tank and that is captured here. Verlinden was the first aftermarket company to fix this WAY back for the venerable Monogram 1/48 MiG-29 kit.
Oh yes, as for the most advanced molding I've seen, take a look at the weapons images that are in the black background above. Somehow Great Wall has managed to mold these missiles with all of the fins in place and even the bow-tie fins of the AA-10s! These look outstanding and thank you for not having to glue up all of those fins!
A note on the antenna fit, the antennas provided in the kit represent the Soviet era avionics fit and lack the updated IFF antennas fitted before the end of the Soviet Union nor the updated antennas carried to operate in NATO airspace. These are easy enough to fabricate but check your references.
Markings are provided for three examples:
- MiG-29, Bort 44, 1 AS/404 IAP/20 IAD, Orlovska AB, Far East Miltary District, Russian AF
- MiG-29, Bort 91, 119 MIAD, Black Sea Fleet, Soviet Navy
- MiG-29, Syrian AF
Painting instructions are provided in the new Gunze Creos color standard. A nice set of airframe and weapons stencils are also provided.
This is clearly the nicest MiG-29 kit produced in any scale to date and I sincerely hope they'll do Izdelie 9-13 and other variants in our future.
My sincere thanks to Great Wall Hobbies for this review sample!