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Trumpeter Mig-15 project, not unbuildable!

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I have been seeing people bash the Trumpeter Mig-15 for years. I have looked at the plastic a few times and thought, “That’s not too bad.” 

So it was time to put up or shut up. Some thoughts:

1. I believe this was the first Trumpeter kit released, so, give it some slack jack!

2. It’s not Tamiya!

3. It dirt cheap.

4. The HpH alternative is $200.00+

So that being said, time to start this project. I will not reveal my final finish to the end, as this is a special “can I do it?” project. I have never attempted this kind of finish, and it will either rock, or be a disaster. 

Step one was to cut all four quarters off the sprues. I test fit them together and was not too bad, however, there were some burrs and flash, so I took a 100 grit sanding stick to the inside surfaces and they were gone in a few swipes, I then clipped off the tabs that held the front to the rear halves together, these just intefered. I then trued the surfaces flat against some sandpaper on the table, this was just some light passes to make sure the surfaces were flat.





I then glued the non-pin sides of the fuselage together, starting at the top, letting the glue set, then moving to the bottom, finally aligning the top and bottom centers, pressing them into alignment with my fingers. 

Putting the two halves together, I found that some alignment pins were too long, I clipped them all about 1/2 their length, problem solved, the sides fit together great. I did then have to sand the front/rear joints flat as there were some ridges near the joints, a few swipes with 320 grit stick solved it.






The wings were next. The wings had the worst burrs along the inner mating edges, again, a sanding stick took care of it, they fit together great afterward. These were more of a fit issue to the fuselage, but all it took was some truing of the edges with a sanding stick. You can tell that the rear rearward step was the culprit, this little step required squaring up, the forward part of the step needed more sanding than the trailing edge, after, the fit was good. I went along the whole edge to make sure they were square, not the wings fit great.





Next came the part I dreaded, the cockpit. As I wanted to do as little work to it as possible, i had both new and old Eduard PE sets, but I chose to go with the Lonestar resin cockpit as I didn’t feel like gluing tiny parts in a cockpit that may not be very visible. I dreaded fitting old brittle resin and having to chop and sand. I was pleasantly surprised that it required almost no cutting or sanding to fit. The only part that required trimming was the top of the hood on the kit parts to clear the resin IP hood. I actually over trimmed, it took all of 15 min to fit this. 




At at this stage I had 6 hours of work into it.














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It's alot of work, but so is the HPH kit.  What I like about the HPH kit is that after the parts are prepped and everything cleaned up, it almost falls together.

What I don't like about the HPH kit is the price and having to cut out the airbrakes and hand form open ones in PE. Not impossible, or even all that difficult, just tedious.

This is looking nice.

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My initial impressions of what needs to be fixed or replaced...

if you just want to build it out of the box, you don’t need to do anything outside the instructions, it will build and fit fairly well. One thing you will need to do is sand or scrape any flash or burrs from the mating surface seams, also, true up the joints between the front and rear fuselage halves, just to make them flat, I do this with a sheet of 150 grit on the table. Glue the rear to the front fuselage halves before you join them.

These windscreens are all a little wrong, the left windscreen is a Mig-17PF, slightly too vertical, it should lay back maybe another 5 degrees, but pretty accurate. The right windscreen is way too vertical, it should lay back until it touches the hoop, however, you can’t just cut it and lay it back, as then it would be too short. A solution could be that you cut it back at an angle, then use the 17’s windscreen as the new forward glass. I may try this as a future project as there are some other minor shape issues with the framing, but for the 15 and the non-radar 17, the squadron one really captures the shape well, and it’s fairly thick, so it’s easy to shape. As far as the rear canopy, it again has a nice profile for the 17PF, but maybe a little low for the the other versions. The base framing for the rear canopy is OK in shape, but missing detail inside. The external framingEduard’s early PE set (32 050) has some parts to help with this, however, you will need to scratchbuild other parts of it. Getting hard to find, the G-factor canopy is a direct replacement for the plastic part, but has detail that is missing from the kit. Regardless, any version will need the rear armor glass installed.

The cockpit will build very basic, at minimum, the above Eduard PE set will get you a nice cockpit, along with the canopy parts, a nice PE seat and belts, and some other misc external parts (including a nice set of flaps. There appear to be three or four resin sets, However, I think the Lonestar resin cockpit is the ticket, it’s a super easy drop in, no sanding fit, you will just need to cut the pour stubs off the seat and gunsight. The IP included has a cloth shroud on top, this is not common from what I have seen, however, you can sand it down easily, or you can just carve the plastic above the IP to fit. 

There are some other detail issues issues, like wing fences and the gear, but none of these will keep it from looking like a Mig-15. Aftermarket decals are the last recommendation, the kit decals only give you the option for Chinese birds. Other sets will get you many other choices, including eastern block and African, as well as some Middle East options. 




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I was in the middle of cleaning the resin cockpit this morning when I had to take my Father in law to the ER. He had a hemoglobin and iron levels that were rock bottom, I spent the whole day in the ER. They admitted him and are still running test to figure out why. Ten hours in a hospital is not conducive to modeling. It’s been one fun day.

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Sorry about your FIL Mark.   I know that's never fun to visit the hospital whether a patient or caregiver.   The Mig project looks great and I'm always impressed by your ability to take some tough kits and turn them into gems.

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I hope your FIL’s doing well, Mark.

I admire your dedication, this is looking nice.

I, of course, will cling to my HPH and if I find a month or two with no other builds ongoing, knock it out so I have an actual Baby MiG on my shelf.

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FYI, in case anyone is waiting and following, I will not be posting any more in-progress pics on this build as I am using this to practice a new technique I want to experiment With. Either I will posting it in finished work as a success, or the project was a total failure and I will be chucking it in the trash can. I am not sure what I am doing will work, but, hey, it’s $17 model!

My original intention was just to show how this kit fits together. I understand that there are some great inaccuracies with this kit, and I was not intending to make an accurate Mig-15, I am just using it as a canvas. Wish me luck, and I hope I can post finished pictures by end of next month. 

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  • 5 months later...

It has been many moons since I technically finished this kit, and I did manage to make a nice kit out of a pig. Mostly I used good old modeling techniques. A lot of sanding and fitting took care of problem areas, and finally a little filler.

A little sanding improved fit.


Vastly improved fit with sanding sticks




right wing sanded to fit left wing as trumpeter gave us.





wing glued, a little acrylic filler to smooth it in.


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Added Lone Star cockpit and Squardon Canopy. I originally intended this to be an abandoned aircraft with a cracked canopy and leaves in the cockpit, but liked it so much, I just left it as heavily weathered. 

fit of the resin cockpit was perfect, nothing cut or sanded off. Wish Lonestar still made these, I would buy a few more.







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Here is where things get tricky. This whole build was an experiment in weathering, I knew what I wanted to do, but didnt know how to do it, so I figured if chipping worked for paint, why not aluminum. I covered it in chipping medium and sprayed XF-19 Tamiya paint all over in a splotchy pattern, the color is a close match to oxidized aluminum. Then I used stencils for a Polish plane.








next came weather and brush chipping, so far, so good.









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Unfortunately, this is where the story takes an ugly turn. 

I decided to seal the model with a lacquer clear, specifically Testors dullcoat sprayed through an airbrush. I for some reason forgot I used chipping fluid, and decided to use a water/clay wash. Yup, it reactivated the chipping fluid and left large patches without any weathering and dullcoat. I decided to try to reapply the XF-19 and carry on, using oils. :hsmack:

Instead of using streaking ENAMELS, I used rust OILS, and tinted the model a nice shade of desert salmon. Because we all know the deserts in Poland are pink. :raincloud:

this is the patch effect the clay wash gave, the dark areas are where the clay stained the paint, and the light patches are where the finish came off down to the first coat of paint.





in the following photos, I decided to strip the model and and started by using Madea Airbrush cleaner, and the oils started wiping off!




ultimately, it ended up like this, which is vastly better. Since it’s going to most likely require a reprint of at least the wings, I am going to try some other weathering techniques. I don’t have any pictures, but I was playing with snow effects, which after a couple different tries, I am not satisfied with. Next I may try some moss and leaves. Although if I’m not truly happy, it’s going to be a full strip and respray.


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