1/72 HobbyBoss MiG-3

Gallery Article by Andrew Desautels (a.k.a. "Andrew D. the Jolly Rogers guy") on July 30 2021

 

      

The plane
The MiG-3 often has a bad reputation in the West, but recent interviews with surviving Soviet Air Force veterans paint a very different picture of this forerunner to legends like the MiG-15, MiG-21 and MiG-29. In one documented interview with a former MiG-3 pilot, he was asked "What is your opinion about the MiG? Many pilots thought that MiG was good only for the best pilots, and if pilot was of poor quality he would not be able to fly it at all?"

The veteran's answer: "Never heard of such opinions. It was a true beauty!" The MiG-3 was flown against the German Air Force by many aces and future aces, including ace and future Air Marshall Alexander Pokryshkin. The MiG had fine lines and excellent high-altitude performance, but its future was cut short from sharing the same engine as the more highly-prioritized Il-2 Sturmovik. A myriad of attempts to mate the MiG-3 airframe with a different engine all fell short, although much valuable experience was gained from this development work.

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The build
The HobbyBoss 1/72 release of the MiG-3 is generally regarded as the most accurate airframe of the subject, with very crisp molding and a wonderfully clear canopy. Unfortunately, it suffers in the details, with oversimplified tires, exhausts and an almost non-existent cockpit. I began by roto-drilling out the entire interior fuselage in the cockpit area (a MASSIVE amount of plastic is to be removed if you take this route!). 

Once cleaned out, I used the cockpit interior of the RPM/Alpha MiG-3. This kit offers a very surprisingly accurate cockpit floor, seat pan and armored seat back, as well as cockpit tube frame structure which is more than enough for a closed-canopy build. The radio boxes behind the headrest were scratchbuilt and installed onto their scratchbuilt shelf, and the large side cowling intakes were scratchbuilt. 

The ventral radiator intake was opened up and detailed, and the tires from the RPM kit were used, as having accurate wheel hub detail and tire tread. The exhaust pipes are completely rebuilt RPM exhausts. The tailwheel doors were removed and the space surrounding the tailwheel strut filled in as the photos of the chosen subject seem to show.

Resin RS-82 rockets by AML were mounted under the wings.

The markings
A series of photos well-circulated in the West are of the MiG-3 flight line of the 12 Gv. IAP, possibly on the day the unit received the coveted Guards title. Lined up on the snowy landscape are a variety of MiG-3's, each in unique finishes and appearances as befitting a unit desperately fighting for its nation's survival. One in particular caught my eye for years, number "36". From its white winter camouflage to the red star covering the front of the spinner to the replaced cowling panel apparently from a green/black camouflaged aircraft, I just loved the look of that one aircraft. 

In hindsight I think perhaps I should have gone with overall white camouflage and not only on the upper surfaces, but I still like the effect. 

I finished the aircraft as heavily worn, with especially dirty undersides as depicting a desperately-used war mount operating from the worst of airfields. Enjoy the photos!

Andrew Desautels (a.k.a. "Andrew D. the Jolly Rogers guy")

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Photos and text by Andrew Desautels (a.k.a. "Andrew D. the Jolly Rogers guy")