MiG-29 was conceived during 1970 to fill the role of “front-line fighter” – a 4th generation interceptor, comparable to the F-16. It was supposed to replace both MiG-21 and 23, and operate within 150km of the front line. The aircraft started taking the shape we know today about 1973, about the same time the MiG bureau ditched the fly-by-wire controls idea and went for the familiar mechanical linkages.
The subject of this kit, the 9-13 variant, is a direct descendent of the original “article 9-12”. It was produced from 1984 onwards and features a different RWR wingtip antennae, and an extended spine which adds 240 liters of fuel plus space for the Gardeniya on-board ECM system. 9-13 is also the first variant to carry underwing fuel tanks – its predecessor could only use the 1500l semi-conformal one under the fuselage.
Other plastic models
Despite the 9-13 accounting for nearly 60% of the MiG-29 production only 2 injection-molded kits were available in 1/72 – by ICM and Condor, respectively. The ICM kit was heavily based around the ESCI molds of the “Fulcrum-A”, and just like Condor’s product requires a lot of effort.
Trumpeter announced it is releasing a 9-13 kit themselves last year, and has officially declared it’s ready to ship at the time of writing.
The kit comes packed in the typical new Zvezda soft glossy shell and hard top-opening box. Inside you will find:
- 1.5 light grey sprues with kit parts in a plastic bag.
- 2.1 transparent sprue for canopy, lights and HUD.
- 3.1 grey sprue with a standing and a seated pilot
- Figure (in a zip-lock bag together with transparencies).
On the larger parts pictured you will notice 2 grey tones in the plastic. This did not affect the quality of molding – all parts are complete, sharp and flash-free. As hinges, rivets and screws on MiG-29 are almost exclusively flush with the aircraft surfaces, I support Zvezda’s decision to not mold bolt and rivet lines.
The frame is split into two separate sprues for easier packing:
- 1.The lower fuselage and wings as well as the horizontal tail make one big part. Other include intake ramps, main gear and covers. Panel lines are straight and consistent throughout, there are well defined cooling gills and a sufficiently deep front wheel well. Gear oleos appear overextended to me, esp. considering that most of the Fulcrum’s weight is supported by the two main legs.
- 2.Nacelles, main gear wells, nose gear, 1500l fuel tank.
- a.The nacelles are split into two parts each, and appear to correctly represent the complicated shape of the original. The halves join on the edges of the nacelles instead of down the middle, which will save you a lot of fiddly sanding. All intake lips are thin and straight. Together with the upper fuselage these make up complete intake trunking.
- b.The banana-shaped fuel tank has the characteristic “well” for the APU exhaust going through it. Thanks to a specially–designed plug there is no the see-inside effect. The cooling opening at the aft end of the tank are missing.
- c.Main gear well walls are multi part, molded with the strengthening indentations, offering a ton of weathering possibilities.
- d.The nose cone appears to be made of two straight cone sections rather than be a single ogival shape.
- e.The Pitot tube requires a replacement as it is too thick.
Contains the upper fuselage with integral extended “hump”, vertical stabilisers, wingtips and nose-cockpit section.
The upper fuselage has all the panel lines, humps and bumps present. There is a sharp demarcation line between the extended spine and the fuselage between the engine bulges – on the actual aircraft there is more of blending between the two.
The overwing auxiliary engine intakes are moulded shut, but you can still model your Fulcrum in-flight or engine-off on the ground (the supplied FOD covers will come in handy). You will need to open the gun port in the left LERX yourselves.
While there are separate dashboard, instrument panel shroud and a throttle lever – all cockpit walls are absolutely flat. Detail is to be represented by the decals supplied. The bang seat is presentable, but it can also benefit from a detail upgrade – or a replacement. Alternatively you can glue the pilot figure in, close the canopy and pose the kit flying.
The vertical stabs feature hinges, antennae and rudder structural detail that is pretty much spot on as the original. The main issue are the missing openings for the integral flare dispensers in the forward portions of the stab fillets. Modellers can add items like the static dischargers, navigation system antenna and the double Venturi tubes to further improve the end result.
Note: the tail speed brake of the MiG-29 cannot be deployed when the under-fuselage fuel tank is used (which is 9 out of 10 times due to the Fulcrum’s “short legs”). It is also very rare to observe it open on the ground, so moulding it shut will not affect the WOW factor of your model.
There are two of these holding mostly underwing stores, including:
- 1xR-27R medium range semi-active radar-guided missile,
- 2xR-60M and 2xR-73 short-range heat-seeking missiles,
- 2 x S-24 unguided rockets,
- 2 x FAB-250M-62 250kg bombs,
- 1 x PTB-1150 underwing drop tank,
- all the required pylons and the adapters for these to be slung on your Fulcrum model.
- Engine details – compressor face, afterburner can, flame stabilizer and exhaust nozzle,
- Bang seat and control column,
- Front and main wheels,
- 2x wheel chocks,
Clear parts – windshield, canopy, HUD projector and display, IRST eyeball and lights. Except for minor scuffing on the canopy parts are clear and reasonably thin.
Two pilot figures – a standing one, and one posed for in-flight ops.
A note on standing pilot figure: you will NOT see pilots carrying their helmet around with the mask and oxygen hose attached. To prevent the mask and hose from dangling and resulting damage – pilots detach both, place those INSIDE the helmet, and carry it by the chin strap.
The decal sheets features well-saturated color and fairly good print quality. On some examples there is faint color shift (yellow, Russian flag blue).
4 part WA of an Ukrainian bird, including upper fuselage.
2 parts of blue-upper Ukrainian Fulcrum.
Three operational Fulcrums are represented:
- 1.White 51, shark mouthed Fulcrum from the Air Force Academy’s Borisoglebsk Training Centre, 2001. The aircraft apparently flew with 120 Guards Fighter Regiment in Domna AFB before being transferred. Its service life probably ended in Millerovo AFB (see 3).
- 2.Red 21 of the RuAF detachment in Armenia during 2015 with the RF tail registration numbers and “type 2010” red stars with red, blue and white contour.
- 3.Red 01, another “shark” with guard symbol on the nose, RAF flags painted on the flaps, Russian flags on the rudders, and victory ribbons on the stabs. The scheme is dated 2008; the base has since been closed down, aircraft moved to Millerovo some 300km to the north.
The sheet features FULL complement of stencils for both the airframe and the stores. There is an accompanying detailed
- 4-view placement diagram in the instructions.
These mention that you will need to add a 5 gram weight in the nose cone (not included) to prevent your model from tail sitting.
- 14 construction steps, including building options (in-flight or on the ground).
- 4 proposed payload variants, and detailed decaling diagrams.
Typical “new Zvezda” black, grey and white line drawings, featuring a number of “sub-steps” in the left side of every page.
The images of the built samples show the kit to be the closest to the original in this scale to date. While the kit is not perfect – the overall shape and level of detail, the options available, the stores supplied, the complete decal set and the competitive price place it ahead of all competition.
A former Moldovan one at Nellis
Russian 9-13Air Forces Monthly - Profile2 - MiG-29 Fulcrum
Aerofax Extra 2 - MiG-29 Fulcrum
Famous Russian Aircraft – Mikoyan MiG-29 by Yefim Gordon
Jane’s How to fly and fight in the Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum by Jon Lake
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