1⁄32 Хранитель МиГ (Guardian MiG)
historyThe Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 (Russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-3) was a Soviet fighter aircraft used during World War II. It was a development of the MiG-1 by the OKO (opytno-konstruktorskij otdel — Experimental Design Department) of Zavod (Factory) No. 1 to remedy problems that had been found during the MiG-1's development and operations. It replaced the MiG-1 on the production line at Factory No. 1 on 20 December 1940 and was built in large numbers during 1941 before Factory No. 1 was converted to build the Ilyushin Il-2.
On 22 June 1941 at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, some 981 were in service with the VVS, the PVO and Naval Aviation. The MiG-3 was difficult to fly in peacetime and much more so in combat. It had been designed for high-altitude combat but combat over the Eastern Front was generally at lower altitudes where it was inferior to the German Messerschmitt Bf 109 as well as most modern Soviet fighters. It was also pressed into service as a fighter-bomber during the autumn of 1941 but it was equally unsuited for this. Over time the survivors were concentrated in the PVO, where its disadvantages mattered less, the last being withdrawn from service before the end of the war. Pilot Alexander E. Shvarev recalled: "The Mig was perfect at altitudes of 4,000 m and above. But at lower altitudes it was, as they say, 'a cow'. That was the first weakness. The second was its armament: weapons failure dogged this aircraft. The third weakness was its gun sights, which were inaccurate: that's why we closed in as much as we could and fired point blank."
History adapted from Wikipedia.
Trumpeter's Mig-3 in its natural habitatI am fortunate to have a pretty decent sized display case in my home office where I keep my completed models. I tend to look at it as my own little "scale museum", and try to chose modelling subjects based on what I would like to have represented in my "museum". While it was still cold out I was thinking about what kit I wanted to build next, and Trumpeter's MiG-3 kit caught my eye with it's nice white winter scheme. What better than a winter scheme for winter? After looking at the kit, and searching other online builds, it seemed as if it would be a nice, stress-free build. As my "museum" did not yet have a MiG-3, all this was enough to get it from the stash to the workbench.
Having built primarily Luftwaffe aircraft for the past few decades, I thought it could be occasionally challenging to determine the appropriate colour for things. However, once I started researching VVS colours, I realized these were the most confusing colours I have ever come across! However, instead of this being a challenge, I decided to make it an opportunity. For the interior, I decided to use the colour options that gave me the most colourful interior :) As I had decided to do a winter scheme, I of course had to pick a colourful, but controversial, scheme there as well - and decided to build "Red 02" from the 12th Guards Air Regiment.
The only known photo I could find of this aircraft was taken in March 1942, when the 120 IAP responsible for Moscow air defence was "promoted" to the 12th Guards. Analysis of this aircraft by some authors indicates that the wings were a close match colour-wise to the red on the fuselage markings. It is also clear in the photo that the outer wings do not have the leading edge slats, making it seem these were replacements from an earlier aircraft or from spares. This has led some to surmise that the outer wings were actually green. However, other winter scheme MiG-3's also have additional red markings applied, and it would not seem unrealistic that the 120 IAP would have painted the replacement outer wings of one of their MiG-3's red to celebrate their "promotion" to becoming a Guards unit. That, and as red looks much better than green on this scheme, convinced me in the end to err on the side of red.
buildingThe kit was very pleasant to build, with no real fit issues encountered, as documented in my build blog. I did apply some limited "modelling skills" to a few areas such as the control surfaces and prop blades (note: replacement aftermarket parts are available for both these items for those that prefer that route). This kit was first released over a decade ago, and since then some additional research/information has become available on the MiG-3. One piece of "new" information is that the windscreen is made up of 3 pieces of perspex, without any frames other than the outer one. There is a join visible where the clear perspex comes together, which in the past were thought to be frames (which the kit windscreen has), so I simply sanded out the inside frames a bit to replicate that look. I added a few detail items like the Quickboost seat and exhausts, MV lenses and Airscale instrument decals; as well as some scratch built items such as the landing light, cockpit rear shelf area, gun blast tubes, and aerial wire bits.
The model was painted with Mr colour paints, with the exception of the underside A II Light Blue, which was from White Ensign. As the photo of the actual aircraft shows some "crud" around the join between the engine cowls and the fuselage, I used some burnt umber oil paint to try to capture that look. The rest of the aircraft appears to be quite clean, suggesting that perhaps it had been "cleaned" up a bit for the photo-op.
conclusionOverall, I am pleased with the build, and the end result is a colourful addition to my "museum" that really stands out. Now if I can ever source a new windscreen (see my blog for details), I will build a summer scheme with my second MiG-3 kit.
aftermarket partsThere are several different aftermarket parts sets designed to improve this kit. Komplekt Zip offers gear doors and flaps and wheels while S.B.S.Model offers a corrected propeller. These simple sets will do much to improve the Trumpeter kit.
Copyright ©2020 by Doug Nelson. _OPINIONS Model Shipwrights, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2014-05-10 01:59:14. Unique Reads: 6879