120th IAP PVO, Air Defense of Moscow, 1942
By Michael Neradkov (Michael XIII)
Translation and adaptation from the original work (in Russian) at http://scalemodels.ru/articles/46.html
I’ve had the desire to build a MiG-3 for a long time and I began to
compile detailed information. A subject was selected immediately - that
most questionable aircraft "Red 02", disputes about which continued until
This famous MiG-3 photograph was taken on 7 March 1942, when 120th Fighters Aviation Regiment (IAP) became 12th Guards IAP.
The choice of the plastic kit was obvious – the ICM/Alanger kit is the
best available MiG-3 in 1/48 scale. Unfortunately, very little detailed
information is available on the MiG-3 itself. There are two books, several
publications (with the most detailed drawings by Voronin) and the Internet.
As I started to dig for information on the aircraft, I stumbled on the resources of http://mig3.sovietwarplanes.com. I will not be afraid to say that at the given moment this is MAIN information source on this plane.
Once I felt that there was sufficiently enough information, it was time to get to work.
Research on Red 02
There was an ongoing debate about the color of the upper surfaces of
the wings of the MiG-3. After reading Massimo's
color analysis of the photograph, and having also become acquainted
with the recollections of V.V. Rybalko, published on site http://iremeber.ru,
it became clear that they were green.
|Quotation from the conversation with Rybalko:
- What color are the upper surfaces of the wings you meet?
What do we see in the photograph? This aircraft is very interesting - it is assembled from at least two different MiG-3s - an early and late series:
* The fuselage of a late series, this is obvious with respect to the
form and the details on the cowling
* The wing from an aircraft of an early series - without the slats. Specifically, this fact and another color (sooner anything green AII) makes it possible to make the conclusion that simply they screwed together them from another broken aircraft or took from somewhere from storage. Who dealt concerning the army ensigns - supply workers it will immediately understand the high probability of this assumption, than the red color, which persistently spread by some foreign model manufacturers and computer game "Il-2: Forgotten battles"
* There is an antenna mast from the radio equipment evident
* The eircraft is painted in the white color, cowling - in the gray color. Possibly metal.
* Lower surfaces - light blue
* Identification number 02 is red
* Star on the fuselage possibly has the thin black edging
* Tail wheel is locked in the extended position and is covered by a cloth of dark color. By the way, this detail is sufficiently interesting - not on one of the accessible drawings MiG-3 is this variant of landing gear is found - everyone shows retractable with the different types of folds. This is evident in the photograph; standing behind Red 02 is another machine with number 12, with the common tail wheel. It is possible Red 02 received a field modification ( for lightering plane, for example)
* The spinner of black color, blades are metallic to the front, black lusterless color facing the rear
* Inscription "reduction of 0.902" from the right side of cowling, probably in red color
* Pitot tube - white with aluminum tip
* Under the wing are suspended the RS-82 rocket rails
The reviews for the ICM kit had been favorable, but as I started this project, it became clear rather quickly that many challenges lay ahead. The project ended up taking almost half a year of intensive work.
The kit has a number of deficiencies that are not visible to the casual viewer:
* The control surfaces, which I can describe as the stuff from modeling
nightmares. They are discarded for the waste bin and are replaced by the
resin surfaces of Neomega. The latter are certainly not ideal, but with
the aid of the cyanoacrylate and soda, acceptable result can be achieved
* The boxy irregular shape of coolant radiator is similar to the ICM Yak-9 rather than the rounded streamlined shape of the MiG-3 radiator Fortunately, this is easily dealt by using epoxy putty
* Rough raised detailing is removed by simple grinding, although it can deliver several unpleasant minutes while working in those almost inaccessible places
|The native cockpit is comparatively not bad; however, there
is no limit to perfection.
I rebuilt some details from scratch, and from a photoetched set of the Ukrainan company ACE.
|Using two sets of details from Ace, one thing became apparent – Ace
details are different for example from Eduard. Special features of ACE’s
* they are made from brass, respectively there is no need for it annealing - it excellently bends;
* Itemization is precise and accurate
* they are much thinner than western analogs. This is simultaneously plus, for better realism, and minus, because thin details are more difficult to be glued at their edge.
|The pilot’s seat from the kit requires modification – the back must be ground off to acceptable thickness, and to press mold a new seat pan from the thin plastic using native as pattern.|
By the way, in the process of working on the cockpit, I found a new and interesting information source – the computer game "Il-2: Forgotten Battles." The cockpit on MiG-3 in the game is sufficiently correct, and the layout of placards proved to be simply irreplaceable.
Wings and Flaps
|Despite the fact that on the ground that rarely aircraft leave their flaps extended, I love when they are extended on the model. My MiG was prepared precisely this way, especially taking into account that I used the ACE photo-etched details for the flap wells.|
|Here is where I ran into problems – trimming and grinding the wing
surfaces, dry-fitting parts, and rescribing details took much time. Because
each wing of the model is assembled of five parts, this process started
to become a nightmare. Finally the human reason overcame the results of
the Ukrainian designers of ICM, but putty was definitely required.
Having Red 02 slatless wings, the slat hinges are cut off, slats are puttied, and the fine details for fastening of the guides of RS and inspection holes are cleaned up
The landing light, reflector is a piece of thick foil of hemispherical
form, lamp is made from the transparent plastic. The glass is made from
Scotch tape, is superimposed on metal foil, the inspection holes and tie
tapes are made from it.
Navigation lights are made from colored plastic, glued in and trimmed into the form of wing.
|The ailerons are resin pieces of Neomega. The hinges are made by copper wire.|
|Landing Gear and Wheel Wells
Nothing special - some photo-etched and home-made details were added.
After assembling the fuselage halves it began apparent that there was more work to do with those wings. The wing-fuselage joint did not match up and this required still more time to fill and correct.
|The one word that describes the AM-35A engine included
in the kit is: excellent.
There is only one problem - if we assemble the model with the engine installed, the cowling cover will not fit into place.
I decided to leave the engine out and plug the exhaust slots to facilitate the engine exhaust stacks. Additional putty was required to blend the assembled cowling to the airframe. All protruding details on the cowling were sanded down and made anew from metal foil, thin tin, putty, and other common materials.
Tail and Stabilizers
|After looking over the Neomega parts, I decided to build the horizontal tail surfaces in two parts - plastic stabs itself from the kit and resin elevators.|
|Plastic details from the kit were carefully removed, the end was grooved semicircular form, with strips of plastic for the hinges. Then the resin elevators were attached using thin wire inserted into predrilled holes in the stabs and elevators.|
|Inspection of the stabilizer fairings in photographs showed
that they were executed erroneously on the model - the fairing on the actual
aircraft does not end in the region of elevator, it continues smoothly
onto the tail. This was replicated using foil and putty.
A small copper wire ring was inserted in the stabilizer to fit the wire antenna.
|Something about aluminium foil
After trying to use foil for the simulation of different inspection covers on several previous models, I decided to complicate process and to make not only fine details, but also fairings on the wings and the stabilizers from it.The foil is shaped into a cylinder with the adhesive layer out, then laid into position. Vladimir Nazarov (Nazar) taught me this technique (for which, by the way, to him enormous thanks!). This made it possible to address these details quickly and inexpensively. In reality this is interesting material for modeling. The foil very thin and adheres well. Only nuances - that that the glue layer on it never finally dries and you will not succeed in detaching it away from the model without damaging detail from the foil. Any remaining adhesive left from the excess foil removed can be cleaned up using mineral spirits.
|Scribing and Riveting
I use three basic tools – a scriber based on a sewing needle, a chopping knife from a scalpel, and a saw from the blade for the rounded surfaces. Riveting is rolled classical using a gear wheel and the drawing pen. The rolling of riveting along the foil works especially well - whereas plastic is necessary to re-smooth the surface after the rivet wheel, foil only requires a slight smoothing of the surface
Painting and Finishing
|The painting is finished with a fine thin coat of AKAN gray for weathering and a dull coat. The result is flat though some of the photos still show some reflectivity.|
|Stars are painted on using stencils, only numbers and the inscription
on the cowling are done with decals.
It is incomprehensible that the aircraft didn’t have a variety of technical inscriptions, but these were not evident in the photograph. Given the likely reconstruction of the aircraft in the field and the winter camouflage overpainted on the fuselage, these were not replicated.
|The model is painted with AKAN enamels, weathering made by the St. Petersburg artistic acryls and Tamiya Smoke. The first experiment with last material came out successful, in my view.|
Law of Modeling
According to this old law, when the work on the model is completed, more information comes to light:
* http://mig3.sovietwarplanes.com and correspondence with Massimo Tessitori
* Voronin's drawings and an old issue of Modelist Konstruktor magazine
* Piotr Bartoszewski - Samolot Mysliwski MiG-3
* A.N.Medved', D.B.Khazanov, M.A.Maslov - The "MiG-3" Fighter
* To Volodya Nazar (Nazar) for the moral support, the foil and the source
of inspiration and also, for the survey of finished model
* To Massimo Tessitori for a lot of information and good archive photographs
* To Jura Kazakevich and to Victor Chulkov for the moral support
* To all comrades for the support, the criticism and the prompts.