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MiG Group Build : 1/48 Tamiya MiG-15 bis, Captain Pavel Milauszkin, 176 IAP / 324th IAD, Korea 1952.

This article is part of a series:
  1. MiG Group Build : 1/48 Tamiya MiG-15 bis, Captain Pavel Milauszkin, 176 IAP / 324th IAD, Korea 1952.
  2. MiG Group Build, Tamiya 1/48 MiG-15 bis, Major Nicolay Shkodin, 147th GIAP, 5 victories Korea July 1953
  3. MiG Group Build, Tamiya 1/48 MiG-15 bis, People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Korean War
  4. 70 years ago today. 1st LT Michael Rebo, shot down over North Korea. MIA for many years, and a childhood friend of my Dad

This model was built as part one of a project that I have been wanting to do now for a very long time. The recent Group Build was the perfect opportunity.

This is the first half of the project...Please follow along and I'll explain. It turns out this particular has a very interesting story behind it.

Not many people know this, but during the , the Soviet Union was sending some of their fighter pilots to fly and fight in the skies over North . They were using "MiG Alley" as a training school of sorts. It was a very dangerous classroom, with real bullets involved !

These Soviet pilots were not allowed to fly over areas that were held by UN forces. If they had to bail out, they were under strict orders to kill themselves before being captured alive. Under no circumstances could they be captured alive.

This model represents a plane that was flown by a Russian pilot named Captain Pavel Milauszkin. He was an ace and had 10 confirmed victories. Now here's where the story takes a little twist...

My Dad grew up in a tiny little town in Pennsylvania named Weedville. This little town makes up part of an area that is commonly called "Bennett's Valley". During WW2 and the Korean conflict, there were a lot of young men from the area who signed up for military service and were deployed overseas. My Dad was one of them... and he saw combat as an Infantry "Grunt" and as a "Tanker" in the Korean Conflict or "Police Action" as it has been called.

My Dad had an older childhood friend from his hometown named Michael Rebo. His nickname was "Mickey" and ironically his family was of Russian descent. The Rebo family had 5 brothers, and all five served our country in the armed services of the United States during WW2 and the Korean War era.

This next part of my article was partially copied from a local newspaper story and from an online website called "The Mount Zion Historical Society". This is a dedicated website for military members of the surrounding Bennett's Valley area in Pennsylvania. They also operate a small veterans garden and have brick pavers with veterans names engraved on them. These brick pavers are part of a walkway entering the area. My Dad has a brick paver with his name on it there too...

Prior to joining the US Air Force, Michael Rebo had served in the US Navy during World War 2 at the same time as four of his brothers also served in the military.

Mike's oldest brother was Lt Joseph D Rebo- and he was a B17 pilot in the 8th Army Air Force, stationed in England. Joseph flew with the 351st Bomb Group, 510th Bomb Squadron (the “Devils”) from Polebrook Airfield in Northamptonshire, England. One of their most famous members from this unit was the American actor Clark Gable.

Joe might end up as the subject another build, if I can find out some information on any plane he flew. He is known to have piloted some B-17's with the following names. “The Uninvited Guest”, “War Hawk”, “April Girl II”, and “John Silver” to name a few.

The one plane in particular I'm looking for is a B-17 that he belly landed on the "occupied" side of the channel after losing 3 out of the 4 engines on a bombing mission. This mission involved the crew in a flight that spared all their lives. One engine was lost due to flak while en-route to the target and a second engine after bombs away. Unable to keep up with the group they were now alone on their return. Over France the flight engineer called out “Two fighters-One o’clock high.” The German pilots were attacking from different directions. There was a cloud formation below them and Lt Rebo told the crew to hang on as he nosed the B-17 down in a steep dive. The fighters and the B17 began firing at each other. One fighter was hit and went down. Engine #3 of the B17 was hit, and had to be shut down. Flying on only one engine they had a 50% chance of reaching England. They decided to land their B17 in an open space along the French coast. They broke out the rafts and jumped into the Channel. Fortunately, they were picked up by a British Destroyer and made it back to fly another day.

After this happened, the crew was finally brought back to Polebrook...

Mike Rebo's other brothers who served in WW2 are:
Staff/Sgt John H Rebo (who later retired as Chief Warrant Officer)
Tech/Sgt. Andrew Rebo in Army Intelligence
Army Private Alex Rebo in the European Theater

The Rebo family and the Bennett’s Valley area must have been proud of these five Rebo brothers’ service as veterans during World War 2.

There were also 4 Gardner brothers serving in the ETO as Infantry "grunts" at the same time, but that's another story... One that almost follows the same plot line to the movie "Saving Private Ryan". Our family lost two brothers killed, and had the other two seriously wounded in a matter of 108 days. One brother jumped into Normandy as part of the 101st Airborne, and was later wounded at Bastogne. Someday I'll cover these stories too...

“Mickey” looked up to all of his veteran brothers, but especially his older brother Joe for being a pilot-

Joe enticed Mike to join the Air Force to become a pilot.

Before joining the U S Air Force, Mike Rebo attended Penn State University, using the new GI Bill, then went on to complete his pre-flight training at Perrin AFB in Texas, and finally his jet training at Williams AFB, Arizona. Soon First Lieutenant Rebo, now a fighter pilot flying F-84 Thunderjets, was assigned to the 9th Fighter Bomber Squadron -The Flying Knights- (49th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 12th Air Force) in South Korea during the Korean Conflict.

My Dad told me that on occasion, Russian speaking pilots could be heard talking on the radio during combat over the skies in Korea. Mike Rebo, with his family being of Russian descent, was also fluent in speaking Russian... and occasionally he was reported to "taunt" the Russians verbally over the radio while flying in his F-84. Marine Corps Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington did this same thing occasionally with the Japanese in WW2...

On November 10, 1951, while on a combat mission, his flight of 12 F-84Es was attacked by an enemy flight of 24 to 30 MIG-15s 30 miles southwest of Pyongyang, North Korea. The American pilots didn't stand a chance as the MiG's sliced through them like a knife goes through hot butter. The F-84's were armed with ordnance for a bombing mission, which was quickly dropped to help them maneuver against the MiG's in a swirling dogfight where they were outnumbered at least two to one... in the MiG's favor.

The last radio traffic from Mike was that he was wounded and was going down. He and his airplane were never found... at that time.

He was initially listed as Missing in Action.

The whole "Bennett's Valley" community rallied around Mike's Russian immigrant parents, while they were awaiting word from the Air Force. It was later on December 31, 1953, that Mike was officially presumed dead, with his official death date listed as November 10, 1951. The same date he was shot down and killed by Captain Pavel Milauszkin... flying this very MiG-15.

Mike's wife, Mona J. Woodring Rebo of Medix Run, Pennsylvania, posthumously received the Air Medal and Purple Heart for his meritorious action in battle from General Rogers at Luke AFB, Arizona.

Lt. Rebo was also awarded the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean War Service Medal, plus his flight unit was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation.

Lt Michael Rebo’s name is inscribed and honored in the courts (the “Tablets of The Missing”) representing American servicemen missing from the Korean War at the Honolulu Memorial, Hawaii. A memorial marker also has been placed in the Morningside Cemetery in DuBois, Pennsylvania.

Now Michael Rebo, (along with his brother Joe), have been honored as a "hero" by the Mt. Zion Historical Society and as one of its initial “Heroes of Air Power” with their recent articles appearing in a local newspaper on these two brothers.

As it turns out, Mike Rebo was actually shot down and killed by the pilot who flew this very same MiG-15 that I have presented to you here. Mike was represented as a little red star on the side of this MIG-15, and is one of the 10 confirmed kills made by Captain Pavel Milauskin during the Korean War.

Mike's partial remains were only recently repatriated several years ago from North Korea, when they were handed over at the DMZ that runs between the border of North and South Korea today. DMZ is an abbreviation for De-Militarized Zone. The present day "DMZ" follows the lines of the front after the war had stabilized, which began to resemble the trench warfare that was fought during the First World War. It is currently a hot spot... with land mines, barbed wire, observation towers and foot patrols. Occasionally a few rounds have been known to cross the border, and there have been several infiltration attempts made.

After DNA samples were obtained from his surviving relatives, and a positive match was made by the Department of Defense, Mike was finally returned to his family.

1st LT. Michael Gordon Rebo
9TH Fighter Bomber Squadron
Aircraft Type:
Aircraft Serial Number: 51-549

If anyone has any information or photos of this particular plane please contact me. I plan on building up a model of Mike's F-84E in the very hear future, using the kit as a tribute to my Dad's childhood friend. It will look very close to how this one does in my kit stash... The markings will be very similar to the one shown on the side of the box with red and white diagonal stripes.

I wish to thank Dmitry Stropalov @starfar and Sebastijan Videc @inflames for their advice and assistance with researching the proper colors that were used on this MiG. This model would not have been as authentic without their assistance. Thanks again gentlemen. I sincerely appreciate your help.

Going on now to the kit build:
It was built using the 1/48 scale "Chrome Plated" edition. It went together very easy. Not much to say here other than this: If I had a choice I would go with either the chrome plated version or the regular plastic kit if you can find one. There is also a clear edition that was produced. This would show the engine detail very nicely if you wanted to build one. They include a separate set of clear fuselage parts in this particular kit.

All of these are very nice models………….. but you have to scrape away the chrome plating in the glue joint areas on the chrome plated edition. Plus the plastic seems to be a different formula and is a darker color gray on the chrome kit. The glue didn’t take too well in some places during assembly, and required some additional work to get things to stick on the chrome kit.

I also had a problem with getting the radio antennae to stay put. I kept breaking it off... My fault, not the kit's.

A small nose weight is included, and it keeps this one from being a tail sitter. A very nicely detailed engine is also included. It can be displayed since the model is designed to come apart in the middle section of the fuselage allowing this. However, since I decided to add the radio antennae cables, I can no longer separate the two fuselage sections. This would pull away the antenna that I made using EZ line. A separate little trolley cart is included with the kit to support the tail assembly if you decide to do this. It's a very nice touch and gives you options.

In the very beginning, I had planned on building this model using the regular MiG-15 kit, and covering it with bare metal foil. But partway through the build I found a "Chrome Plated" version online that was for sale at a price that I couldn't pass up.

So I made the purchase and used the chrome plated version so that I could make the deadline in time. I still used various shades of Bare Metal Foil in the locations that I had scratched the chrome plating.

The plating is very thin, and is easy to damage if you're not careful. The seam lines were also covered with foil too. I think this is a great little kit, and wish that Tamiya would start producing them again. Currently they are discontinued... too bad as they really build up nicely. No putty was needed anywhere. The fit is that good.

I decided that I would try something new on this build. I used the stretch thread called "EZ Line" for the radio antennae. This was done after I went online and found pictures showing how the antennae cable was routed on the real MiG-15.

Tamiya has done a fine job in my opinion with the air intakes. They also incorporated the landing light and gun camera rather nicely. Here's a close up photo of this.

The real MIG-15 had various exterior finishes from what I have read. Some were reported to have left the factory in a bare metal finish, with a clear lacquer protective coating applied to the outer surfaces.

Others were reportedly painted using the same clear lacquer, but with a slight twist. They added a small amount of aluminum paste to the formula which would give an overall appearance of being painted in a shade of aluminum.

I chose to model my plane with the flaps deployed, although most of the pictures show them being raised when the aircraft is parked on the ground. I wanted to show the details that Tamiya provided right out of the box. I chose to leave the speed brakes in the closed position, but that too is another option you have if you're building one of these little jewels.

The cockpit is mentioned as being a bit sparse by some. However it looks good enough for me "as is" right from the box. No additions were made other than to use a set of "Aero Master" aftermarket decals.

I made a work in progress build journal here, in the section. I have three other Tamiya MiG-15's currently underway. I plan on finishing these others up with various Chinese and Soviet Union markings.

There's a lot of great builds going on in this MiG group build area. If you haven't looked for yourself, you don't know what you are missing. Here's the link to the build journal for this MiG in case you are interested.

I have always said that freedom is not free. This build is a testament to those who never made it home, and how former enemies can eventually become friends.

Lest we forget….. POW / MIA At least now Mike's surviving relatives have some closure. I wish that Dad was still alive to have seen this happen.

I have been thinking about having a that would start on June 25th, 2020, and end a little over 3 years later on July 27th, 2023. This would be exactly 70 years to the date afterwards. It would be our remembrance to the "Forgotten War". Anything that was used during the conflict could be modeled. This leaves a lot of opportunities to build things from either side, and would also include equipment operated by the UN Forces, as well as the Chinese and North Koreans on the other side.

What are your thoughts on this ?

As always,
Comments are encouraged.

1 additional image. Click to enlarge.

35 responses

  1. That's a great-looking Mig - your foil work is fantastic as always, with some nice subtle shade differences. Great story as well!

    A 3-year group build...I could manage that!

    • Thank you Greg ! @gkittinger
      I appreciate the compliments... and I think the idea will fly with the Korean War GB. I was thinking about calling it "Korea: The Forgotten War". The time frame would give us ample time to build as much or as little as we wanted. I would be happy to see you participate... but only if you use one of your world famous and patented display stands. LOL

  2. Outstanding Louis, Well Done! The model is superb and the write up is a great read.
    I too would be interested in a long group build.


    • Thank you James @jamesb
      I am happy to hear that you enjoyed both aspects of the article. I also appreciate your kind words. As far as the long term Korean War group build, this gives us a lot of wiggle room and we shouldn't be pressed for time to complete something. I think it would be a worthwhile endeavor, and will look forward to your support with a project (or as many as you please).

  3. Super work Louis and a great story!
    I like the idea of a Korean War build - at my current rate of progress I could need all of those three years though!

    • Hello David, @davem
      I have been having the same problem as of late, and my production rate is not what it once was. When I try to work at the bench, life gets in the way and that stops all progress... Hopefully with 3 years available, we can get some builds completed.

      Thanks for the compliments and the kind words... Take care.

  4. Great story and usual!
    Louis, I still prefer your first MiG, the green from NV, but this one also has its charm, the chrome looks very nice.
    A 3 year long GB idea? Unorthodox at the very least, it might be a bit too long imo, but that’s just me.

    • Pedro my fellow Luftwaffe enthusiast and friend... @holzhamer

      The overall green NV MiG-17 looks rather menacing doesn't it ? This one with the chrome has a charm to it as well. Thanks for the compliments.

      My thoughts behind the long 3 year Korean War GB are this. It would follow the exact number of days and show us just how long this horrible War lasted. Please keep in mind that only a "Cease Fire" is in effect and no actual Peace Agreement was ever signed... This is designed to be a tribute to all of those who were affected in one way or another by this event.

      A bonus is that it will give us more than enough time to finish what has been started, and give the builder a chance to build more should they desire to do so. The down side is that it would be so long, and some might lose interest. Time will tell. I hope it will fly...

      Thanks again !

      • Louis, @lgardner
        I understood the reason and concept of the GB idea, but it’s the downside you mention that could be its weak side...but like I said, that’s just me, probably most fellow modellers don’t see it that way. What I also acknowledge is that no one has so far proposed such bold length 😉
        Who knows, I just might get some project fit in. Cheers!

        • "To boldly go where no man has gone before" to quote a famous TV series ... I like it. Reminds me of Star Trek.

          I hope that you can join us on our endeavor, if and when it's a go. I also appreciate you bringing up the weakest link. This is what I wanted. Good and honest feedback.

          If this idea ends up being a flop, the most likely reason why would be the excessive duration.

          Thanks again my friend. @holzhamer

  5. Fantastic build and article Louis! I'm not into jets, accept the WW Ii stuff, but your Mig with its metal finish is very eye appealing!

    • Hello Dale, @dtravis
      I am a big fan of the early jets, ones like the Me-262, Panther, F-80 and Sabre to name a few. However, like you, my main interests are basically anything from the 1950's and backwards from there.

      Thanks for the compliments... and maybe I can entice you to join us with a Korean War prop driven plane ?

  6. Great metal work,
    maybe some aging that gives you a little more contrast.
    But it may be because photography with bright objects gets very complicated. In any case a great job.


    • Hello Carmelo, @tupeman

      Thank you for the kind words my friend. I tried to take some other photos, but decided against posting them here as part of the article. These were taken with very low light, and using a small flash light to illuminate the model.

      You sure are correct about taking pictures of a metallic object ! And it's amazing at how much dirt and dust can collect on a model when it sits near the work bench and you are sanding on another model... This plastic acts like a dust magnet... and you don't notice it until you take a picture up close.

      Thank you again, and I hope to hear from you soon.

  7. Lovely job Louis, and really well presented around an interesting story , well done buddy.

    • Hey Neil ! @neil-foster
      It's always good to hear from you. I'm very happy to hear that you enjoyed the story behind the build, as well as the actual model. This is something I have wanted to do for years. Hopefully I can get a 1/48 scale F-84E built up soon, the last one flown by Mike Rebo, possibly as a part of the Korean War group build... should I decide to go ahead with this crazy idea. This would be "part 2" and a follow up to this article here.

      Also look out for another story involving a B-17 flown from Polebrook. Mike's older brother Joe was a B-17 pilot who flew from there during WW2, and I hope to eventually build one of his planes. I don't know how far away Polebrook is from you, but thought it might be interesting for you as well.

      Take care mate.

  8. Nice work, Louis! Good story and build.

    • Hello Gary, @gwskat
      Thanks for the compliments, and I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the story behind this build. The Mount Zion Historical Society is located not too far from your area. Here's a link to the website should you be interested in checking this area out.

      There's a standing joke up there in Pennsylvania that goes something like this: "We are 30 minutes away from nothing", in regards to how rural and secluded the area is... Beautiful scenery, great hunting and fishing...not to mention the Elk that roam freely.

  9. Hi Louis, the metal/foil finishes of yours continues to amaze me. Might try it in baby steps, still in the NMF paint finishes that even with that I only have two ever completed in bare metal. An F-86 and a P-51. You know we can add some flexibility on the GB as we can present the models that flew in that particular year, in other words the equipment used in the early part of the war from Jun 1950 thru December. As 1951 starts with new aircraft and later variants of the F-86 start to operate. It may prolong the interest instead of trying to present everything in 2023. Just a thought as you have plenty of time to adjust as the long term GB progresses. Regardless I'm in with several subjects in mind on both sides. By the way a very nice presented model and the history of the subject as well. Well done.

    • Hey Chuck @uscusn
      Thanks for the feedback. This is exactly the sort of stuff I was asking about with my question about the Korean War GB.
      I had planned on having everyone post their work when they completed it, as we go along throughout the 3 years. If a person wanted to wait for a specific date to roll around, they can do that too. This way, we don't have to wait until the very end in July of 2023, for people to see what all has been going on.
      Your thoughts are also spot on as to how the weapons evolved. We still have about 6 months left to work out the details, but it sounds like you are on track.

      I am looking forward to see what you might have in store for us... These all sound like some excellent ideas for building subjects. There's a lot of choices out there, especially when you consider all of the countries that were part of the UN forces.

      As far as the MIG bare metal finish goes, it's not all that hard to do. Once you get the hang of working with foil, it becomes second nature. I highly recommend you give it a try. Nothing else compares to real metal when you're trying to replicate a metal finish. It's almost impossible to get using regular paints.

      Thanks for the input and the compliments.

  10. Good stuff Louis. Beautiful looking model and great back story

  11. A real beauty my friend, Very interesting story, great job!

    • Hey Robert ! @roofrat
      Thanks for the kind words about the MiG-15 build. I'm very happy with how it turned out. It also pleases me to see that you enjoyed the article as well. This is a story that I have wanted to write about for years. Take care my friend, and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  12. Great story as well as family history Louis. The Mig turned out well but I have a question what scale is that? It appears to be 1/72 ? Furthermore, you'll have fun with the F-84, built one several years ago and posted it here. Nice kit, good cockpit detail and no putty required. Lots of stencils were included in my version. The F-84 was not a dog fighter but it carried on as a decent ground attack A/C.

    • Hey Tom ! @tom-bebout
      I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the story behind this build. But it looks as if I have made a major error... The Tamiya MiG-15 is a 1/48 scale kit. I should have mentioned that in the headlines section. I'll go back and edit the story to reflect these changes. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

      As far as the F-84, I have looked at what is inside the box and it does look rather nice. I'm happy that you mentioned it should fit together well... This is good news as I was a little worried, especially when mine is going to also have a bare metal finish on it once it's completed.

      I have read where the F-84 was rugged and well suited for ground attack like its older sibling, the P-47 made by the same company. However I have also heard it was under powered (as were most jets from this era) and struggled to get airborne with a full weapons load out... as far as a dogfighter, I'll take your word on that. Thanks again !

  13. Turned out great, Louis! You don’t see those Tamiya MiGs in stores or online shops anymore. That’s a mystery because it’s a nice kit.

    • Hello John, @j-healy
      Thank you for the kind words about the model. Unfortunately Tamiya has decided to discontinue this kit. It is no longer available from hobby stores, but it occasionally can be found at a reasonable price on EBay. Most often they have the prices way too over inflated for my tastes though. I was very lucky to find this kit there, at a price which included shipping, for about 10 dollars less than what these kits originally sold for. These “Chrome Plated” versions are not as common as the regular plastic ones are. You can also find this kit with the clear fuselage halves if you look.

      If I had a choice I would go with either the chrome plated version or the regular plastic kit if you can find one. They are a very nice model………….. but you have to scrape away the chrome plating in the glue joint areas. Plus the plastic seems to be a different formula and is a darker color gray on the chrome kit. The glue didn’t take too well in some places and required some additional work to get things to stick on the chrome kit.

      Take care !

  14. Such a great story, Louis! My grandpa was flying MiG-15 in the Russian Far East, closer to Japan. Glad to see your model done and done really nicely!

    • Hello Dmitry, @starfar

      I thank you for the compliments...on the story and my MiG-15 model. That must be incredible for you that your Grandpa flew MiG-15's... He even flew them in the area "closer to Japan", and that takes it up another notch. Very impressive.

      Thanks again for all of your assistance with the color choice questions. Without your help, this model would not look as authentic as it does. I sincerely appreciate your help with everything.

  15. Nice job on the Mig Louis and I enjoyed the narrative about your dad's friend. I would be game to be part of the GB but to me three years is a long time and I would probably loose interest. If it was 6 months or a year I might be game, but; it's your GB. I had a 2nd cousin who served in Korea and my Father in law, who is still with us, was an FO during that time as well. The interest is there.

    • Hey Mark. @mkrumrey
      Thanks for the compliments on the MiG. I wanted to get the story out there about what really happened to my Dad’s friend named Mike Rebo.
      The main reason why I want to have the Korean War group build last as long as it is planned is simple.

      I don’t want it to be forgotten, since it has been treated like this for way too long. I thought it would really draw the attention it deserves if it was to mirror the actual dates of the conflict.

      I do understand how you feel about it. You can join us if you like. How long you want to participate is up to you. It’s not mandatory that you have to build something for the entire 3 years. It would really be cool if you could build something though.

      These veterans need to be recognized for the sacrifices they made and not forgotten about as they have been all these years.

      My Dad told me two things that really struck home.

      He was still waiting for his “Turkey Dinner” that was promised by President Truman to all of the troops in Korea in 1950, and secondly he said that he never got his “parade” when he finally came home.

      In fact his own mother called him a liar because she told him that things couldn’t have been “that bad” over there. This scarred him for years.

      • I will most likely participate as most of the aircraft I want to build aren't huge kits with a hundreds of parts. I don't have the sticktoitiveness to do that anymore. I can appreciate your dad's comments. As a Vietnam/Desert Storm and Iraqi Veteran, I never had the parade either, goes on. Sad story about his mother calling him a liar, that would really hurt. Yes, it was that bad!
        More modeling excitement on the way. Keep me posted on your GB, I just might take the plunge.

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