So, the new Bronco kit arrived today.
This is a simple, straightforward build that offers no problems or difficulties if you keep your wits about you.
It is a “snaptite” version of the earlier Trumpeter MiG-15bIs. That’s a good thing! It has been simplified and improved over the earlier kit like the new Eduard Fw-190s as opposed to the first ones. Fit of all parts is better due to the simplification. The Trumpeter history is demonstrated in the goofy rear wing fairing to the fuselage, which shouldn’g be “fish tailed”.
These kits were originally created to be sold this past summer at the Chinese Aviation Museum in Beijing for the 70th anniversary celebration of China’s entry into the “US Denial War,” their name for the Korean War. This is why they are simplified into snaptites, since they’re made to be built by non-modelers, usually young kids.
A good result of this is they’re not expensive. Mine cost US$39.00, delivered from China in two weeks, bought off eBay.
Overall, the best thing to do is cut off all those snaptite connectors, because they prevent a good close fit, being so tight. If you do that, you can glue it together (we’ve all done limited-run kits without locating pins) tightly and close enough that no putty or filler of any kind will be needed. If you’re bound and determined to be super-accurate, you can fill in the “fish tail” wing fairing, and sand it to be the straight line. Leaving it alone also works.
I started with the wings. I cut off the snaptite locators and opened locating holes for the slipper tanks, then glued each wing to the fuselage half so I could work the joint from inside and out and get it nice and tight and close, no putty or filler needed. The flap has nice detail as well as the flap well, but I closed it up because you see very few photos of these airplanes sitting on the tarmac with the flaps down. Most kits with a lowered-flap option only really assemble well by doing the flap down. This only needed to have the three locators cut off and it slipped right in. I also cut off the molded-on pitot tube, since it’s going to be knocked off. I drilled out a locating hole at the proper position and will glue it back in when the model is no longer being handled for construction or painting.
The fuselage is only in right/left halves, not also fore and aft since it doesn’t have the engine the Trumpy kit does. The dive brakes are closed and just represented by scribing. They get the correct smaller brakes for the first iteration of the MiG. This is fine – photos show the brakes closed along with the flaps up on most MiG-15s sitting on the tarmac.
I glued the rudder to the vertical fin at this point to get it fitting just right.
The cockpit is easy to assemble, there’s not that much there, but if you close the canopy and keep the overall lines, what’s there is fine. I squeezed four fishweights and put them in the little “holding area” ahead of the cockpit in the intake assembly, then flattened and glued three others to the rear cockpit bulkhead, which is plenty of weight for nose-sitting.
Do not attach the gun tray to the cockpit assembly before putting the cockpit into the fuselage. Cut off the snaptite locating pins and attach the tray after you glue the fuselage together. With care and a little squeezing after applying glue, you can get a nice tight fit and again not need putty or filler.
The two halves of the model glued together easily, I rubber-banded fore and aft of the wing and with care got a nice joint that only needed a light scrape-down followed by a minute with a fine-grit sanding stick to get rid of the centerline joint.
I then glued on the horizontal stabs. I had to trim the locator tabs to fit. These are the correct smaller horizontal stabs for the early MiG-15.
This whole assembly to the point of being ready to paint took about 5 hours, and I was proceeding slowly, test-fitting, figuring out what to do like cut off the pins, etc. If you follow my idea about cutting off the pins and other suggestions, you can probably do it in less than that.
Like I said, it’s a nice, simple, accurate, inexpensive kit. A good placeholder until Eduard gets around to releasing their great 1/72 MiG-15s in 1/48, which they’re threatening to do in late 2021/early 2022 (maybe later now with “recent developments”). Did I mention it is the only early MiG-15 out there in 1/48? Yes, it is. And that’s the airplane that fought most of the battles in MiG Alley between the USAF and the PVO/Strany during “the year of the honcho.”
I’m very happy with the way this is going. Simple, accurate and inexpensive is GOOD.
The “history” in the instructions is amusing. “the world’s first practical jet fighter” (I guess the Me-262 was just experimental).
7 attached images. Click to enlarge.