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Brian Powell
42 articles

The Toss Up: First Soviet Jets, MiG-9 and Yak-15

June 6, 2024 · in Aviation · · 6 · 146


On April 24, 1946, both the and were ready to become the USSR's first jet aircraft. The MiG-9 flew first, allegedly on account of a lucky coin toss.

Both jets made use of salvaged German engines; while the MiG-9 was a new body, the Yak-15 repurposed the frame of the Yak-3. Both suffered from hot engine exhaust melting the underside of the rear fuselage, and both emplaced heat shields to deal with it. Neither jet saw much action: the MiG-9 participated in the blockade of Berlin in 1948, even though firing its cannon would tend to cause engine flameout. The Yak-15, meanwhile, found a cushy gig as a trainer: it handled much like the Yak-3, providing an easy transition from piston to jet aircraft for new pilots.

The kits are short-run and require a bit of care and patience. The MiG-9 needs considerable ballast, but not the Yak-15, which is a tail dragger. Rather than suffocate on enamel fumes, I matched colors to Vallejo and Tamiya acrylics. I had some fun layering Alclad metallics on the MiG-9 heat shield. Weathering involved enamel washes and oils, and some pigments. Thanks for looking!

Reader reactions:
4  Awesome 1 

6 responses

  1. Awesome little jets. The early model Russian jets don't seem to get much attention from kit manufacturers, and it's a shame, ther are some very interesting subjects. It's nice to see these little gems. Great work.

  2. Nice work, Brian. Good to see these built.

  3. Excellent job on both, Brian! Love to see them together!

  4. Beautiful work on both, Brian @bapowellphys
    Very nice paintwork, especially on the exhaust stains.

  5. Excellent builds, and lovely weathering.

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