Mac's 1/72 MiG-31 Foxhound
The MiG-31 was a fighter-interceptor developed from the MiG-25. Originally designated the MiG-25MP, the MiG-31 shares a lot of visual similarities to its stablemate, but in reality it is a whole new plane. While the majority of the MiG-25 was constructed of steel (80%, with 8% titanium and 11% aluminum ), the MiG-31 is constructed from 50% steel, 16% titanium and 33% aluminum and a small percentage of composites. This resulted in a much lighter airframe which means more payload and faster speed. Weaponry was increased with four belly-mounted missile catapults and the pulse-doppler radar allows simultaneous tracking of 10 targets, making the MiG-31 a very potent interceptor.
Mac's 1/72 kit of the MiG-31 looks somewhat familiar to me, but I can't remember if this is because this is a reboxing of another kit or if I had seen a pre-release photo of the parts. What you get in the box is several trees of light gray plastic, with an etched brass fret, a small decal sheet, and one small tree of clear parts. Compared to the Mac Roland kits reviewed elsewhere in this issue, these parts are going to require quite a bit of cleanup. There is a bit of flash present and the general fit of parts isn't the best. The basic shapes seem to be there, though, and if you're careful you should be able to save much of the recessed panel line detail.
Starting with the cockpit, you get a basic tub, a pair of seats, two control sticks, and etched brass instrument panels. The brass instrument panels definitely look out of place next to the flat side panels and basic seat designs. Hopefully someone will come out with a resin tub for this kit to fill out all the space under the canopy.
The fuselage is split into upper and lower halves, with part of the wings being molded into the upper half. The vertical tailplanes incorporate a portion of the rear fuselage, making for a very complicated fuselage assembly. With some careful work with sandpaper and files beforehand, though, you should be able to get a good fit and minimize the amount of filler you'll need. The rest of the wings are molded in right and left halves, with the outboard panels being solid. The stabilizers are also solid and in right and left pieces.
The air intakes are a complicated matter on the real plane and on initial inspection it appears that this kit dropped the ball on providing a decent intake trunk. But after doing a test fit of all the parts used, it quickly becomes apparent that the blanked off space is not visible from any angle, so I welcome the added strength created by it. The exhaust cones, however, probably would best be handled by putting covers on them.
The landing gear on the MiG-31 is designed for rough field handling and is a rather unique and complicated affair. This kit does a decent job of capturing the shape of the gear, although the detailing is a bit light. If you can find some decent photos of the gear of this plane you should be able to superdetail this gear nicely. For other things hanging down from this plane, you get a whole bunch of weapons. Four R-33 (AA-9 Amos) missiles, four R-60 (AA-8 Aphid) missiles, and two R-40 (AA-6 Acrid) missiles, as well as two fuel tanks. The R-33 missiles fit into the underfuselage bays, while the R-60M and R-40TD missiles are options for the wing racks.
The decals are printed by MPD and are thin and in excellent register. There are two choices provided, and a rudimentary drawing is included in the instructions, with callouts for both choices. One has a red 79 on the nose and an emblem, while the other is red 08 with a rather colorful phrase & medals to go on the intake. The paint scheme is the same for both, being gray with dark gray radome and tail panels.
This may not be a Hasegawa-quality kit, but it is definitely buildable and once done it will put a MiG-31 on your shelves. The large selection of weaponry is welcome, as I think this plane really looks best with lots of stuff hanging from the wings & fuselage. I'm looking forward to building this one up.