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MiG-3 Kit

Trumpeter 1/48 MiG-3 Early Version Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2007 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Mikoyan MiG-3 Early Version Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2830 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Simple build, excellent price! Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $24.95

First Look

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

In mid-1939, work started on the design of a new fighter for the Soviet Air Force (VVS) designated the I-200. This aircraft was to be a lightweight, high performance fighter powered by an inline liquid-cooled engine. The design bureau behind this fighter was led by none other that Nikolai Polikarpov, but after a falling out with Josef Stalin, Polikarpov was eventually stripped of his design burea and work proceeded under the direction of two new leaders - Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. The I-200 would be redesignated as the MiG-1. This aircraft first flew in April 1940 and a numbe of problems became evident in flight test.

The MiG-3 was the result of a number of changes to the MiG-1 design to improve handling and performance. Some of these included the movement of the engine four inches forward which solved a weight and balance problem, increasing wing dihedral by one degree, strengthening the landing gear, improving armament and armor protection, and more. The MiG-3 was intented as a high-altitude interceptor, but the early version had oil and fuel pressure issues altitude, so it was pressed into low altitude and ground attack missions where it even more inferior in capability.

The later versions of the MiG-3 solved the altitude performance issues, but the AM-35 engine that powered the MiG-3 was discontinued so that the full production output could be directed to the new AM-38 engine destined for the Il-2 Shturmovik.

A few years ago, Trumpeter tackled this subject with an outstanding kit that was reasonable in price and simple in construction. That of course was their 1/32 scale MiG-3 ( reviewed here) and that left numerous modelers wishing for something equivalent in 1/48 scale. One such modeler, Michael Neradkov, finally couldn't wait anymore and set out to turn the ICM 1/48 MiG-3 into a superdetailed masterpiece ( look here).

Well Trumpeter is back and has scaled down their 1/32 MiG into this nice-looking 1/48 kit. Like its big brother, this kit is a simple build with no photo-etch, no visible surprises. Presented on four parts trees molded in light gray styrene, this kit has some nice detail to start with and using Michael's approach above, you can really have some fun with this project. The single tree of clear parts provides separate windscreen, rear window and sliding canopy parts.

You won't be lacking for details and options. Among the highlights of this kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Positionable radiator exhaust flap
  • Radio tray behind the pilot
  • Positionable canopy
  • Separately molded landing flaps and ailerons
  • Optional RS-82 rockets
  • Positionable canopy

The only real bit of photo-etch you might want to add is a set of seatbelt/shoulder harnesses.

Markings are included for three examples:

  • MiG-3, White 17
  • MiG-3, 'For the Bolshevik Party'
  • MiG-3, White 5, 'Guards'

The Bolshevik Party aircraft is a nice scheme wearing winter white but carrying a large red arrow on either side of the nose. The other two examples are also distinctive with their green over sky blue camouflage.

This is another nice offering from Trumpeter and I hope we'll see more of their larger scale subjects bround down to 1/48 scale in the future!