Kit No.: xxx
Overall Rating: [1-100] 75
The RPM MiG-3 kit contains xx injection-molded parts on two main sprues. , along with a large set of decals for fully xx schemes. The kit represents a later manufacture MiG-3, featuring the longer fuselage, leading edge wing slats, and long, squarish gun fairings.
The kit features mostly recessed panel line detail, but of an older standard of accomplishment, not entirely out of line with Matchbox kits of the 1980's. The representation of fabric on all control surfaces is somewhat poor, though the pattern of the framing is true to the original. The stainless steel exhaust plate is molded on as a raised item, which is also unusual. The wings feature raised detail lines for the fuel access panel and inspection plates; these, however, are easily replaced by re-scribing or drawing in by pencil. However, the real significance of this model is its fine planform and scale accuracy (see Sovietskie Istrebiteli ), which compare very well to proper scale drawings. Indeed, it is the only available 1:72 scale MiG-3 kit which is accurate at all in this regard, and this makes the RPM kit a must for modeling this popular VVS machine.
The cockpit detail is rather impressive, if somewhat "fiddly". A complete set of pieces make up the side-wall structure, floor, seat, and various instrument groups in fair detail. The clear canopy parts are thick, but appear to be very clear, and respond well to a coat of Future floor wax. A replacement vacuform canopy set will be needed to represent an open cockpit, however.
The kit's general fit and construction logic is fair to mediocre. Some unhappy seams can occur at the joint between the wing and fuselage underside, and also at the upper wing roots; putty work will be required here, indeed. The kit's plastic is soft and easy to work with (not being overly 'oily' as well, which was nice), so the effort is not overwhelming by any means. The fit of the upper fuselage piece containing the gun breech fairings was ok, but dry-fitting was required for a snug seam. Another tricky area is the fit of the stabilizers to the tail, and care must be exercised here to achieve a good fit.
The kitís radiator is acceptable, but thinning at the trailing edge is in order. Take care to ensure that the radiator is positioned correctly, as there are scant indicator lines on the aircraft fuselage. The operation of opening the radiator ducts for a 'ground position' look would be formidable, and I made no attempt to do so. I found that sanding the rib detail on the control surfaces was easy enough, and improved the look of these items. Care should be taken when sanding around the wing root intakes, and with the fit of the intake covers on the sides of the nose.
Considerable care should be exercised in the cockpit. At first I attempted to install a True Details Resin MiG-3 cockpit into the model. This was attended by the most enormous difficulty (to be fair, the TD set was not intended for the RPM kit), and I finally gave up in frustration. The kit's detail parts do require a lot of clean up, which can be annoying, and considerable "fussing" is required to get them to fit properly. However, the results were fairly impressive, and I think many modelers will be entirely satisfied with these parts.
Finish & Markings:
The decal sheet is useful, and xx schemes are provided with the instructions, which are well executed and detailed. All of the schemes appear to be accurate and well depicted. The painting reference guide is very handy and most of the color citations are basically correct, the interior color selection being the only obvious problem here (the listing is for grey, which is incorrect).
Overall I was satisfied with the finished RPM kit, and certainly the completed model does in fact faithfully resemble the genuine article. The inaccuracy of all other scale MiG-3 models really leaves one with no other choice, but happily this kit is not outside of the abilities of the average modeler. It is not a 'throw-together' project, however, and attention to dry-fitting and patience are required for a model that one can be proud of. Though the fit, detail, and finish are decidedly not up to Hasegawa standards, this is a worthy and very badly needed kit which builds up into an accurate MiG-3.