Great Wall Hobbies 1/48 MiG-29 9-12 Fulcrum A (Late) 'Farewell USA 2003' Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2014||Manufacturer||Great Wall Hobby|
|Subject||MiG-29 9-12 Fulcrum A (Late)||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||S4801||Primary Media||Styrene/Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Still the best MiG-29 kit in any scale||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$95.00|
For a brief description of the MiG-29 and a look at the original release of this kit, look here.
With the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 came the reunification of East and West Germany. With that reunification also came the consolidation of the armed forces which was a bit of a culture shock since these forces had been ready to fight one another if needed. The Luftwaffe evaluated the aircraft operated by the former EGAF and decided whether to transition these units to different aircraft types, disband the units altogether, or keep them operational with the necessary upgrades to operate safely within NATO airspace.
One such unit was JG 73 operating the MiG-29 (9-12) Fulcrum A. In 1993, JG 73 was relocated to a new airfield complex at Laage where they continued flight operations with the MiG-29. In 2000, JG 73 deployed with Phantoms of JG 51 to participate in Red Flag 00-01 at Nellis AFB. In 2003, JG 73 returned stateside with their MiG-29s to Eglin AFB where they conducted joint exercises and even used the Eglin overwater range to launch a missile or two. The following year, JG 73 transitioned from the MiG-29 to the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Great Wall Hobbies continues to produce the MiG-29 series and these kits are the best MiG-29s I've seen produced in any scale (except perhaps the 1:1 examples). To date, we've had the MiG-29 9-12 (early production), MiG-29 9-12 (late production), and the MiG-29 9-13 (Fulcrum C). This release is a special edition of the 9-12 (late) as flown by JG 73 during its 2003 TDY to Eglin AFB. You can see images of this aircraft flying with the F-15 here as well as one of its companions shooting an R-27 (AA-10 Alamo) over the the Gulf of Mexico.
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!
Markings are provided for one example:
- MiG-29 9-12, 29+10, JG 73, 2003, Farewell USA scheme
Painting instructions are provided in the Gunze Creos color standard. A nice set of airframe and weapons stencils are also provided.
This is still the nicest MiG-29 kit produced in any scale to date and I sincerely hope they'll do Izdelie 9-15 and other variants in our future. By the way, I picked this kit up for under $60 USD at Lucky Model and since I wanted a few other projects at these lower prices, combined shipping saved some money and time since I haven't seen this release available in the US market yet.