Revell 1/32 MiG-29 Fulcrum A Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|MiG-29 Fulcrum A
|Still the only kit of the Fulcrum A in 1/32 scale
|Out of Production
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.
Back in 1991, Revell wowed the modeling community with only kits (to date) of the MiG-29 Fulcrum A and MiG-29UB Fulcrum B in 1/32 scale. The timing of the release was close to the fall of the 'Iron Curtain' and Revell had clearly been working on this project from whatever information could be gleaned at the time without getting shot in the process. At the time of these kits' first release, they were outstanding in the amount of detail they had captured given that access to real aircraft were limited to the various airshow appearances they made. Of course we look at the kit nearly 20 years later and with the benefit of all of the information that is now available, and we can see some of the areas that they didn't quite capture. More on this later.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. This kit is from the 1991 release by Revell/Germany that I acquired on eBay. The kit has been out of production for a while, though we've had at least one re-release of the Fulcrum A in the last 18 years. The kit has no flash on the parts and all of the surface detailing is finely scribed.
The cockpit is spartan represents a typical 'generic' cockpit when you don't have much information to work with in this area. The ejection seat is a fair representation of the K-36D though it doesn't have any seat belts or shoulder harness details provided, and the K-36D has an intricate harness that is missed. Not to worry, there have been many 1/32 aftermarket resin K-36D seats produced over the last 10+ years which fill the bill nicely. The only resin cockpit I recall was the one produced by TAC Scale Dynamics and currently sold by CAM Resin (John's Models).
Inside the intakes, Revell made use of the FOD door that closes the intake while the aircraft is running and sitting on its landing gear. The engines breath through the louvers behind and on either side of the cockpit which in this kit are positioned open. If you stick a pilot figure in the cockpit, this is all fine for a MiG-29 getting ready to leave the chocks, but if you are modeling an aircraft at rest, the louvers should be closed and the FOD doors stowed. You can stow the FOD doors, but there is nothing to see behind the doors except styrene bulkheads. Most modelers simply put intake covers on their models and call it a day.
The main 'bugs' in the kit are the undersized engine fairings and engine nozzles. This is understandable since most of the research material available at the time would be of aircraft on the ground which limits your perspective. The exhaust nozzles provided in the kit do try to capture the dual nozzles, but unfortunately miss the mark.
Another detail just about every kit maker of the MiG-29 has missed is the centerline fuel tank. The tank in this kit is usable, but the detail missing is the big duct that runs through the tank to allow the exhaust of the aircraft's auxiliary power unit (APU) to blow down through the tank and out under the aircraft. The APU exhaust duct runs out the under the fuselage centerline and is obstructed by the centerline tank until they literally ran a duct through the tank to accommodate the APU.
You might think that with the above set of 'issues' with this kit that I am not happy with this model. Quite the contrary. Revell did a marvelous job with the MiG-29 given the data available at the time. What's more, there are some nice aftermarket options available now to bring this model up-to-date, most notably the Zactoman Correction Set which is so nice, I had to buy this model just to try it out!
The kit does have the following features:
- Positionable canopy
- Removable radome to reveal a generic radar
- Removable engines
- 4 x AA-8 (R-60) Aphid
- 2 x AA-10 (R-27) Alamo
- 2 x AA-11 (R-73) Archer
- 1 x centerline tank
If you're a MiG-29 buff, you also know that Trumpeter released the MiG-29M and MiG-29K in 1/32 scale, neither of which have gone into full scale production (though we're supposed to be seeing the MiG-29K in Indian Navy colors. There are some weapons updates and aftermarket items for these kits that could be used in your Revell MiG-29 project.
The kit provides a wealth of markings and stenciling for four examples:
- MiG-29, 29+16, JG 3, GAF, Preschen, 1990
- MiG-29, Red 745, JG 3, EGAF, 1989
- MiG-29, Black 5918, Czech AF, 1990
- MiG-29, Red 09, Russian AF, 1990
Armed with this kit and the Zactoman correction, you can bring the Revell kit up to contemporary standards and render a really breathtaking Fulcrum. With the stunning about of information available today on the MiG-29 as well as other similar subjects that were previously hidden behind the 'Iron Curtain', modelers can finally have a chance to render this potent dogfighter on their own scale flightlines.
Definitely recommended for the experienced modelers!