Lately I’ve been doing some reading on Russian air power in World War II, and this has led to an interest in building some examples of Soviet World War II fighter aircraft. So the timing was perfect when my friend Alex of scale-model-kits.com asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing & building a kit. After looking through their selections, I picked a fighter I’ve always thought was very interesting, the MiG-3. The selected kit from Ark Models is in the markings of Russia’s second-highest scoring ace of World War II, Aleksandr Pokryshkin.
The kit is actually a rebox of ICM’s MiG-3 kit, based on sprue photo comparisons from reviews of the ICM kit.
The parts are typical for an Eastern European manufacturer. The plastic is a bit on the softer side, but overall the parts are well cast and reasonably detailed, with some “softness” to the edges of detail areas. There is some flash that will have to be dealt with but not an excessive amount. The parts have a slight texture to them (which the photos I took exaggerate somewhat), but nothing that can’t be quickly buffed out for any exterior parts to give a smooth paint finish. The kit consists of four sprues cast in light gray plastic, and one clear sprue.
The interior detailing looks good, with the interior framework reasonably well represented. Seat, stick, rudder pedals and instrument panel are all included. The IP is void of detail, but a decal is provided.
As with many kits of ICM origins, an engine is included in the parts. From photos of buildups I found on the web, it looks to be a pretty good looking engine. (As I have little familiarity with the MiG-3, I cannot comment on the engines accuracy.
I did read in a few build reports that the cowl covers do not fit very well over the engine. Of course, I have not built the kit yet, so I can’t comment on that. Of course, test fitting is always the best course when building any model. I will probably build the kit without the engine, just because of personal preference when building kits with an engine.
The fuselage and wings have good detail. Control surfaces are separate parts. The rib detail on them looks a bit exaggerated to me, but a little sanding can take care of that without any problems.
One thing I noted that is a bit odd is that the wing filets are separate parts from the fuselage and wings. I didn’t read of this being a fit problem, but it will be interesting to see how this works during the build. My initial thought is to test if it works well to glue them on to the fuselage halves right off the bat, to simplify and sanding and filling that may need to be done. Of course, test fitting thoroughly should show what will work best.
The clear parts are a bit thick, in my opinion, and have a slight bit of roughness to them. However, I believe with some polishing and a dip in Future, they should work just fine.
The decals look good in the box. They appear to be very thin, and in register. Of course, as with so many Soviet aircraft of World War II, the number of markings on the airframe are few, so if there are not too many decals. The only option provided is for Pokryshkin’s “White 5″.
The instructions are in Cyrillic, though thorough use of symbols makes them very clear for assembly. The few assembly notes that are added have English translations. Only a single external view for decal placement and painting is shown, though given the simple two-color scheme and the few decals, not much more is needed. Colors are in Cyrillic and English, though no manufacturer references are giving, opting for simple notation such as light blue, dark green, etc. I suppose this might cause some confusion with beginning modelers, but then again I don’t know that beginning modelers will obsess over color shades. (Of course, discussions I’ve seen regarding variations in Soviet paint mixes may make it a moot point anyway.)
Overall, this kit looks to be one that will assemble well, and look every bit the part. I’ve moved it up to the next spot on the build pile, so I should have a full build report before to long. It was an unusual looking but important aircraft in the early stages of Germany’s invasion of Russia. (DOes anyone else think it looks sort of like a YP-37?)
For additional reference material on this aircraft, you may find this link helpful:
Thanks again to Alex and scale-model-kits.com for the review sample, and for your support of Agape Models!