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Mikoyan MiG-29

Mikoyan MiG-29 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2017 Title Mikoyan MiG-29
Author Yefim Gordon Publisher Midland Publications
Published 2006 ISBN 1-85780-231-4
Format 512 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $62.95 (see text)


It has been over a year since author Yefim Gordon's fantastic look at the MiG-31. That book (reviewed here) covered the development of the next generation of heavy interceptor to follow the MiG-25, and the title was a dramatic contrast to the fuzzy imagery and vague detail we've been so used to in dealing with Soviet-era subjects. That title set the bar very high for the quality of images as well as the depth of coverage on systems and operations of that aircraft. Many books on western aircraft have never come close to the work that Yefim Gordon put into the MiG-31 title. So how could he possibly top that?

In this title, the author has definitely set the bar even higher. The book starts off with the threat in the west with the production of the F-15 Eagle and the competition between the YF-16 and YF-17 for the Lightweight Fighter program. These developments proved the need for the MiG OKB to develop a follow-on to the MiG-23 tactical fighter in line with the anticipated performance of these new threats. The result of this development was the MiG-29, which was developed in parallel with the Sukhoi OKB's equally impressive Su-27.

Coverage of this title includes:

  • Introduction
  • Taking Shape
  • The Family Starts Growing
  • The New Generation
  • Pushing For The Navy
  • New Lords, New Upgrages
  • The 21st Century Generation
  • The MiG-29 in Action
  • The MiG-nificent Displays
  • The MiG-29 in Detail
  • The MiG-29 vs the Competition
  • The Operators
  • Production List

This title is a modeler's dream and an aviation researcher's treasure chest. The book is very well illustrated with excellent color photography around each of the variants and their weapons. The book is almost exclusively color photography except for the very beginning to illustrate the (lack of) quality of information available during the 'Cold War'. In addition, the title contains a wealth of three-view drawings and data tables to illustrate the similarities and differences between each of the MiG-29 variants. There are also some excellent color profiles of some of the more colorful MiG-29s 'out there'.

At 512 pages, this title will take some time to digest, but it will be worth every second. This title has about all of the information I need to transform or just detail out any of the MiG-29 kits out there into virtually any of the production variants and concept aircraft that made it to the airshow circuit through 2005.

Unlike many other titles in Yefim Gordon's growing bibliography, the subject of this title hasn't slowed down since this title was published. Whether a revised edition or a Part 2 is produced, the MiG-29 has been active in the decade since this volume including operations in a variety of conflicts, newer variants including the production MiG-29K (the title covers the prototype MiG-29K/KUB), and a variety of newer updates, modifications, and users to bring coverage of this aircraft up-to-date.

One other point to consider. When I purchased this title a decade ago, it cost nearly $35 USD. That's a bargain considering this is the most in-depth study of the aircraft you're likely to find. At some point in the past however, the book did go out of print and I was shocked to see Amazon offering used copies of this book starting at $250 USD. I saw something similar when I look up Gordon's book on Soviet Tactical Aviation, which is currently listing (used) for over $450 USD in contrast with the $33 I paid in 2012. Interesting appreciation in value. I know I consider Yefim Gordon's books to be as good as gold, but I didn't realize that value is more than a metaphor!

This is an excellent title from Midland Publications and fills another void in the published information about this aircraft. Highly recommended (if you can find a copy at a reasonable price)!