The MiG-15 is one of the world’s most iconic aircraft and need no further presentation. The Romanian operated MiG-15 is a complete different story, being again and again ignored by modelers, although Romania was one of the countries to hold MiG-15 in service for the longest time and was the main operator of Czech produced version of the aircraft, with more than 200 aircraft deployed.
The main objective of my build was to fill this gap. Also for me this build marked a few firsts: the first Eduard kit (I keep buying them but for some reason I kept avoiding building them), my first “tricycle” landing gear aircraft, the first natural metal finish aircraft and the first Romanian Cold War markings I ever used.
On a personal note, the diminutive aircraft was the first real one I ever seen, touched and climbed on the wing roots. That was long time ago (the summer of 1988) but I remember very clear two things: I was surprised by the small size of the plane and completely disappointed that I couldn’t see a thing inside the cockpit, because the canopy was yellowed by elements and transparent no more.
Frankly, I don’t know why it took me that long to decide and build it, because I bought it very soon after its release as Profipack edition. If won’t be for Aluminum Cans campaign, it would still be at the footing of my stash I guess.
As the aircraft itself is an iconic aircraft, so has become the kit offered by Eduard. Doubtless the best on the market in “gentlemen’s scale”, the aircraft was reviewed on all media: forums, YT, magazines – you name it! Once more, I feel awfully late writing this review. The kit was released in many editions: Week-End, Profipack, Royal Class, Dual Combo and relatively recent was re-boxed by another company with some nice additions. So there are plenty choices out there, for all pocket depths. My buying choice was the Profipack edition, #7057.
The kit arrives in typical Eduard box. On the lid is an image depicting one “cell” of MiG-15 with Chinese markings giving chase to a badly mauled “Lightning” with American insignia. The fore-plan aircraft shows the tactical number “72” in red, which can be found also in the painting guide as one of the five options. The reference is to one episode when aircraft from 29 GIAP shoot down one F-5E “Lightning”, sometime between April and October 1950; the picture is very catchy – no wonder many modelers have chosen it! Two sides of the lid are depicting the five marking options, one side offers information about the manufacturer and about the kit, while one end it’s just a repetition of the information on the top.
The instructions manual is in form of a full color 16 pages booklet, size A5.
The first page contains a bilingual (English and Czech) short history of the development and operational history of the aircraft.
The second page contains the sprue layout with the unused parts shadowed in light blue, some advice from the manufacturer, and the color chart (Gunze only).
Pages 3-11 the assembly guide is represented in three-dimensional diagrams. They are very easy to read, although some diagrams may look intimidating for the beginner. Each part number has the color(s) specified and the joint between parts it’s shadowed in light blue, which is a game winner. Oddly enough, Eduard identifies with letters only the first seven steps (A thru F); from there on, the diagrams have no numbers / letters tags. It’s not a big inconvenient for the builder, but can be an inconvenient for the reviewer if he wants to make a precise reference. Additional sub-assembly views are provided where the parts alignment is complicated. Eduard offers all building options for Russian and foreign produced aircraft (except the Chinese knock-out). The differences between options are timely and clearly called out. All in all, these are excellent instructions and leave little place for error.
Pages 12-16. Each page from this range provides a detailed four view painting scheme of a different aircraft, including the decals application. Whenever possible, Eduard provide additional information about that particular aircraft:
A: MiG-15, 29th GIAP, Dachang Air Base, Shanghai, China, spring-summer 1950;
B: MiG-15, c/n 108023, 176th IAP, Antung Air Base, Korea, April 1951;
C: MiG-15, c/n 120077, flown by Major Alexei A. Mikoyan, the deputy CO of 274th IAP, Kubinka Air Base, early 50s;
D: MiG-15, Polish Air Force, 1st PLM, Warsaw-Babice Air Base, 1951;
E: MiG-15, c/n 231767, Romanian Air Force, Deveselu Air Base, 1962 (my choice).
Sprue A: is the trademark circular clear plastic sprue from Eduard. Perhaps this sprue is the only let-down from the kit. I noted on my example a slight rough surface on the main canopy part. I solved the problem easily, by dipping the part in Pledge, but I’ve seen other modelers had harder luck than mine, especially with the Week-End Edition.
Sprue B: contains the wing halves, rudder, stabilizer, and “engine” halves. The surface detail is exquisite, very crisp and as close to scale as plastic injection technology allows.
Sprue C: carries the cockpit walls, dashboard(s), lower nose part, wheels and landing gear parts – all nicely molded. On this sprue a found some parting line evidence, but very thin and easy to remove, even from the smaller parts. The injection gates are good for the most part – no breakage or chipping occurred while removing parts from the sprue.
Sprue E: has the fuselage halves and the under-wing fuel tanks (two options of those tanks). A minute sink mark was present on the tail, just above the exhaust. The other parts were perfect.
Not all surface detail is reproduced; only a few selected rivet lines are present, but I think this was the wise choice from Eduard; reproducing all detail would make the model look to crammed and unrealistic for the scale. Speaking of which, I thought I’ve seen a factory aborted attempt to make more rivet lines on the wings’ surfaces, especially more visible on the right wing. I’ve seen modelers removing them; I choose to keep them; the aluminum skin of an operational aircraft is by no means perfectly smooth – that is, naturally, a questionable choice.
PE parts: are what made Eduard famous: perfectly printed and cut in white metal, they are easy to work with and the level of detail is mind-blowing!
Masks: the usual small fret die cut in yellow masking tape from Eduard. For the larger clear surfaces only the edges are provided – the modeler has to fill the remaining gaps on his expenses.
Decals: for some reason, the decals are not listed on the second page, with the other contents of the box or nowhere else in the Manual. The decals (for Profipack Edition) are printed by Cartograf and they are superb (see infra). Although the modeler can choose to build a Russian, Polish or Czech produced MiG-15, the stencils are only in Russian, which is OK for the first four marking options, but not for the E marking. Not a big deal, they hardly can be read without magnification but…