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MiG-3 Kit

Trumpeter 1/32 MiG-3 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2005 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Mikoyan MiG-3 Scale 1/32
Kit Number 2230 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice surface detailing, simple build Cons Photo-etched flight control hinges
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $47.95

First Look

MiG-3 Kit
MiG-3 Kit
MiG-3 Kit
MiG-3 Kit
MiG-3 Kit

The MiG design bureau was established in the late 1930s and is actually the initials of the two chief designers: Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich (M and G in Russian is MiG). Their first design was for a high-altitude fighter, the first prototype being the I-61, which first flew in April 1940. This first design would (of course) become the MiG-1.

The MiG-3 was essentially the MiG-1 with additional engineering improvements learned from early MiG-1 operations. Unlike the MiG-1, the MiG-3 featured a fully enclosed cockpit (which was later retrofitted to many of the MiG-1s. Powered by the 1,200 horsepower AM-35A engine, the MiG-3 had a maximum level speed of almost 400 mph and a range of nearly 800 miles. The aircraft was armed with one 12.7mm and two 7.7mm machine guns mounted in the nose.

The MiG-1 and MiG-3 were both in service with the Soviet Air Force when the Germans invaded the USSR. In combat, the MiG-3 was an excellent fighter at high altitudes, but was found lacking at lower altitudes. As a result, production was quickly terminated, after about 2,100 examples were built, to find a better solution against the Luftwaffe.

Now who would have ever dreamed that anyone would have produced the first injection-molded MiG-3 kit in 1/32 scale! Of course it would be the folks at Trumpeter to rise to this challenge and they’ve done a magnificent job of this one! Let’s take a look:

The kit is molded in the usual light gray styrene, and comes on four trees (in addition to a single tree of clear parts for the transparencies). Molding and detailing is quite nice, all of the details are scribed almost too fine, and there is no hint of flash. Ejector pin marks are at a minimum on this kit and the only ones I could find in an area that would be visible after assembly are on the insides of the gear doors.

While I don’t have access to any good three-view drawings that might reveal any accuracy issues, I can say that against the photos of the MiG-3 that I have in my library, this kit looks great to my Mark I Eyeball.

There is a great bit of news here. Unlike most of Trumpeters other releases, this one is simple! There is no wasted detailing in areas that won’t be visible and there is no engine included in the kit as the cowling is designed to be buttoned up. While a few modelers might want to reveal an engine here, the beauty of this kit is that it will be a quick and simple build! I believe this is the first kit Trumpeter has done in 1/32 scale that I can classify as an easy build that won’t scare off novice modelers, yet has sufficient detail in the cockpit, wheel wells, radiators, etc., to appeal to the advanced modelers as well.

Another signature of Trumpeter is present in this kit as well – the photo-etched flight control hinges and steel rods. These provide movable ailerons, rudder, elevators, and wing flaps. Positionable leading edge flaps are also provided, though the instructions don’t show what they should look like extended.

Even the insides of the exhaust stacks are hollowed out to provide more realism out of the box. Optional armament includes a pair of three-rail rocket launchers that mount under the wings outboard of the main gear.

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • A white over gray scheme (featured on the box art) with a red arrow down the forward fuselage
  • A green over gray scheme for White 5

I am pleased to see this kit is released as a simple build. This would make an ideal introductory kit for novice modelers wanting to tackle a more complex kit but without all of the intimidating details common to other Trumpeter releases. For the rest of us with serious cases of AMS, you can do a dynamite job of building this kit in about a weekend of fitting, painting and assembly.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!