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Knight of Serbia’s Sky, 1/48 Academy Mig 29

Former Yugoslavia was considered as one of the greatest armies during cold war era. Especially Air Force was strong for that era, Yugoslav pilots flew Sabre’s, than Mig 21… But 1980s was rushing very fast and it was obvious that new and modern airplane was needed to reinforce Air Force. Generals thought about buying F 20, Mirage 2000 or F-16… But, at one point politic had it’s last, and it was more than realistic that Yugoslavia is going to buy Soviet fighter aircraft.

Yugoslavia is considered to be the first European country to buy Mig 29. Their price ranged almost a half a price of F-16, and that was another argument for buying Mig 29 for the price of 15, 16 milion USD per one unit. First Migs landed in Yugoslavia on the 24th september 1987. Soviet crews flew them via Hungary to the army airport Batajnica in Belgrade. they landed without any markings instead of common stencilis. They received rondels and flags of identification after landing in Serbia. Another 10 planes landed until the end of 1987. Last 4 planes landed in april 1988. The all get military markings L-18. We received total amount of 14 planes, 10 singles seaters and 4 two seaters.

During next three years pilots went through rigorous training of air combat, striking land targets… Unfortunately in 1991. Civil war struck Former Yugoslavia. First part of war was in Slovenia. Mig 29s flew just reconnaissance and demonstrative flights. But, during war in Croatia Migs will flew 568 combat flights during 2 months. After signing peace treaty all planes were relocated to airports in Serbia.

Nevertheless, in 1999. Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) were attacked by NATO without allowance of UN, during aggression Air Force was severely damaged. Without resources, without spare parts planes were very in bad condition. Gravely outnumbered by Nato air force Migs didn’t stand any chance. We lost 11 planes out of 16, 4 were destroyed on the ground, 1 fell during flight and 4 were destroyed by AIM-120B i C AMRAAM from the distance of 30 kilometers. In most cases Migs flew with inoperative radars and without radar irradiators. Althought many problems with weapons, radars… Nato pilots were instructed to avoid any aerial combat with Migs because of their maneuverability and self guided R 73 rockets. As a fact I would mark that every plane which was destroyed in the air was destroyed in unfair combat. One Serbian Mig usually fought against minimum 4 opponent planes!

After agression only 5 planes remained in operational use, 4 single seaters and one two seater. In april 2004. Air Force was forced to ground all Mig 29s. Without any money, because of economic crisis Air force was unable to repair planes. After split with Montenegro, Serbia’s government in 2006. allowed 22.04 million USD for repair of Migs. Russian company RSK Mig repaired to a modern state 4 planes. Fifth plane was repaired in 2011. On the 7th july of 2009. pilot Rade Randjelovic crushed his plane during exercise for Belgrade Air Show, unfortunately he died in explosion killing one ground crewman. One more plane was gounded. But in last few years Serbian Air Force was resurrected. Planes were repaired and Serbia received 6 more Mig 29s as a donation from Russia. The plan for nearest future is to raise the flote of Mig 29s to number of 14… We can see them really often during their patrol flights from Batajnica airbase all over the Serbia’s territory. Also, pilots are much younger than before which is very important. Serbia Air Force has also Mig 21s, Soko J-22 and Galeb G-2 fighter planes…

Well, that was brief history of Mig 29s in Serbia’s Air Force. Now about the model. I received this model from very good friend of mine, who is considered to be one of the greatest Mig fans and experts. This is the old Academy kit from 1993. it is not a great modeller’s choice. It has many flews… Details are very spartan. Cockpit is beneath the basic, nose cone with plastic pitot tube is ver bad. Instructiions are badly organized. Upper and lower parts must be fit without consulting instructions. If You want to avoid hours of sanding You need to glue upper parts from cockpit part and upper wing part, than to glue down two part half… After curing You can attach those parts and avoid any problems with electronic parts behind cockpit… Rivets are to shallow, rivets, somewhere raised, somewhere in negative… Decals came just for German aircraft and for former Soviet Airforce. So, many changes had to be done…

So, what are the changes? I had to cut cockpit and to make room for resin Neomega cockpit with proper instruments and seat. After cutting it I realised that the electronics and control panels are much smaller than space for it! I had to use one whole tube of Super glue and muuuch putty to correct that. But, Cockpit tube came into place witohout any problems! All instruments are hand painted and treated with Klear to add shine which acts as a glass. Seat is manufactured extraordinary and it is full of details. Control stick had some troubles to be fitted, but nothing to be troubling with. Electronics behind pilot seat are resin too with few modifications. Also, I added shield on the canopy for protection of pilot’s head. I drilled a needle in shield because I wanted to add realism to build. And, also I drilled proper hole behind electronics so I can attach canopy to cockpit and unattahc it whenever I want.

I cut of all antenas because I wasn’t satisfied with their look. I made them from scratch from copper wires. Nosecone is also neomega resin, and pitot tube I pe made by Hobbydecal. Pitot tube I almost superb! Made out of three part it fits extraordinary to the nose! Nose is heavy so I had to add just 30 grams of lead to ensure proper standing on landing gears.

Engines OOB are so bad that I didn’t want to separate them from sprues! instead of that I used resin exhaust made by Quick Boost, to add more realism to model exhaust are covered by exhaust covers.
I have added wires and cables to cockpit gear and resin parts for fron landing gear. All glasses are made from spare clear sprues, burned then pushed in proper diameter holes to create landing gear lights… I added red signal light also.
I had to rescribe whole plane and to make some subtle riveting.
Whole model was primed, painted and varnished with acrylics, enamels and lacquers.

I wanted to made Serbia’s Mig 29, so I had to use custom decals. Common markings and rondels are Lift Here Decals, all stencils are Begemot. It is interesting that Serbian brand Lift Here made excellent decals, but I had maaaany troubles with Begemot stencils.

I decided to make very subtle weathering. I had many oppurtunities to see this plane in vivo, it has almost none of the scratches, streakings, grimes… So i used subtle wash and just a little heavier weathering with oils on the Exhaust…
Plane is armed with two R 27 and 4 R 73 rockets…
I’m very satisfied with the final result, but I’m eagerly awaitng for Your opinions, suggestions… Cheers !

15 additional images. Click to enlarge.


13 responses to Knight of Serbia’s Sky, 1/48 Academy Mig 29

  1. Beautiful looking aircraft

  2. MiG 29 one of the most beautiful planes of the dog fighting generation! Very nice build and story!!

  3. An amazing amount of work to bring this old kit up to scratch, you must be very pleased with the result, I hope your friend is happy too.

  4. It really is a beauty! All your detail work paid off handsomely. Nicely done!

  5. Thank You Greg for kind words 🙂

  6. Very nice article. I’m a big fan of the history behind the aircraft model, so enjoied very much reading your article.
    For me, the Mig-29 is one of the smartest aircrafts ever and I’ve built one too, although in 1/72 and not as good as yours. I must try another and in 1/48.
    Your effort shows, It’s an awesome build, congratulations!

  7. This is a great posting. Good history lesson. That’s a lot of work to improve a kit, you must enjoy a challenge. I’d heard that the Academy kit wasn’t a very good one.
    I’ve been wanting to build a MiG-29 but haven’t been able to decide which one, I’ve read various criticisms of nearly every one.

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