by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Platz have teamed up with Eduard to rerelease the latterís MiG-15UTI in Japan. It makes the perfect counterpart for their own kit of the T-33 Shooting Star and is targeted squarely at Platzís domestic market with Japanese instructions. While Platz have subtitled their kit as "Finnish Air Force", it actually includes Polish markings as well.
Eduardís original release slipped through the nets here on Aeroscale, so Platzís version makes for an ideal opportunity to catch up and fill a gap in the ranks. Platz usually add an extra twist when they market a kit thatís originated elsewhere, and thatís certainly true of the MiG-15UTI, because itís not totally comparable with any of the Eduard boxings. While itís nearest overall to Eduardís ĎWeekend Editioní, Platz have added white metal nose-weights to avoid the completed model being a tail-sitter, and included one of their clever assembly jigs.
The kit arrives in an attractive top-opening box with the sprues and accessories bagged separately and comprises:
72 x dark grey styrene parts (plus 12 unused)
8 x clear styrene parts (plus 2 not needed)
2 x cast metal weights
Decals for 4 colour schemes
The quality of the moulding is excellent - very crisp with no signs of flash or sink marks. Ejection pins look to have been kept out of harmís way and preparation for assembly should be quick and easy.
The surface finish comprises fine recessed panel lines and delicate embossed fasteners and a few of the most prominent rivets (along the wing spars, for example).
Test FitA couple of points may catch out absolute beginners. Firstly, the sprue attachments for the wing parts are pretty hefty, so you risk damaging the kit (or, more importantly, yourself!) if you try to cut them off with a scalpel. I used a Platz razor saw, which made light work of the job.
Secondly, I was a little surprised to find there are no locating pins on the fuselage and wing halves. This is no big deal (in fact, as weíve all probably found at some point, badly placed locating pins can be more of a hindrance than a help), but itís unusual on a modern mainstream kit.
In fact the parts line up perfectly and the kit should build very easily. The wings attach with a substantial locating tab and pin, and these are a very tight fit (you risk breaking the pin if youíre not careful). Once fitted, everything is rock solid. The tailplanes line up neatly with no fuss. All the control surfaces are moulded in situ except the rudder, which is separate and is trapped between the fuselage halves when you join them. Itís not intended to hinge, so I canít really understand why Eduard designed it this way, but it fits perfectly.
A Few DetailsThe cockpit is well fitted out for a kit in this scale, with 17 parts that include well-moulded ejection seats and instrument panels. The sidewalls are shaped to represent the intake ducts running each side of the Ďofficeí with some decent moulded-on details. Platz provide shaped white metal weights to fit in ahead of and below the cockpit to keep the MiG standing on its wheels.
The nose intake ducts are blocked by the rear bulkhead of the cockpit, while the 2-part tailpipe has a Ďplugí with moulded-on burner detail to prevent a see-through fuselage.
The mainwheel wells have some neat and effective detailing inside, and the undercarriage itself boasts some very crisp detail. The mainwheels have a choice of hub, while the nosewheel is moulded integrally with its leg. The undercarriage covers are quite nice and thin with moulding on their inside faces.
Thereís a choice of two types of drop-tanks depending on the nationality of the subject you build.
The transparencies are beautifully clear and the canopies can be displayed open or closed. The front canopy hinges to one side, while the rear slides open.
Assembly JigThe bottom of the box is often wasted in kits, but Platz use the space to print a full-size cradle for the model which you can cut out and fold to shape. It looks simple to construct and should easily be strong enough to support a kit of this size while you work on it. All you need to add are a couple of toothpicks. †
Instructions & DecalsAs noted above, the instructions are written almost entirely in Japanese. Donít let this deter you, though, because the diagrams are very clear and the assembly looks straightforward. Importantly for non-Japanese readers, you can pick out the paint matches easily enough, with Gunze Sangyo and Model Master paint numbers quoted.
Decals are provided for four main schemes, but the sheet also includes extra individual numbers to allow you to build any of four variations for scheme A.
A. MiG-15UTI (CS-102), MU-1 to MU-4, Finnish Air Force, 1960
B. MiG-15UTI (CS-102), MU-3, Finnish Air Force, 1963
C. MiG-15UTI (SBLim-1), Red 018, Polish Air Force, 1988
D. MiG-15UTI (SBLim-1), Red 604, Polish Air Force, 1988
All the schemes are natural metal except for C, which is overall gloss white and nicknamed ďBiala DamaĒ (White Lady) accordingly. (Note: online references Iíve seen refer to the aircraft an an SBLim-2).
The decals are designed by Rocketeer and custom printed by Cartograf. They look beautiful quality as youíd expect from this producer, with pin-sharp register and minimal excess carrier film on most of the thin and glossy items.
ConclusionPlatzís rebox of the Eduard MiG-15UTI looks a great little kit. Itís beautifully produced and should have a wide appeal. The inclusion of ready-made nose weights is always handy, and Platzís novel assembly jig is a very neat idea that Iím surprised more manufacturers donít adopt.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.