Hobby Boss 1/72 MiG-3 Built Out-Of-The-Box

By Jim Schubert

Overview

This kit was reviewed in the box in the July issue of this magazine.

As the kit is about half way between a snap-tight and a conventional kit, I decided to build it in strict compliance with IPMS-USA Out-Of-The-Box rules. The nature of the kit invites you to do it that way. For example, see Norm Filer’s build of their P- 47.

Fuselage

There’s not much to do here; just a little cleaning up of the places where the multi-part molds slid together. The separate upper nose fit perfectly on my model.

Wing

A very little clean up was all that was required. Here, however, I interpreted the OOB rules regarding thinning of surfaces rather liberally in that I only thinned the wing trailing edge locally; where the wing joint fairings were but shouldn’t have been to allow me to pencil in the flaps after the model was painted. This is detailed in the in-box review linked above.

Details

The separate detail parts required less than the amount of clean up required by the average conventional kit and, as shown, possess a lot more detail than you’d expect from such a simple and inexpensive kit.

Cockpit

Before gluing the canopy in place with Elmer’s brand white glue, I “detailed” the cockpit with the kit’s headrest cushion, seat belts cut from an old decal sheet, printed paper sidewalls and an instrument panel cut from the, now defunct, Modelaid magazine. The sidewalls were for a P-51 and the instrument panel was cut-down from that intended for a P-38. I’m sure the spirit of the OOB rules permits cutting up printed decals. I could have copied the printed-paper, fold-up cockpits and printed them on decal stock but what’s the point of that? Arris?

Clear Parts

You have the option of using the one-piece closed hood canopy or the three-piece open hood. I chose the closed hood for simplicity and to hide the fact there isn’t much interior. The one-piece canopy fit poorly in the area aft of the headrest. Some scraping away of the turtle deck narrowed it down to match the rear, fixed part of the canopy. I dipped the canopy in Future (Kleer) and painted the edges black to eliminate edge lighting after it was installed.

Assembly

The fit of the one-piece wing to the fuselage was quite good, requiring, as you can see, a mere spot of filler at the rear on the belly.

The fit of the chin was a bit awkward but I managed to get in on pretty cleanly. The radiator housing would, however, not snug down to the wing leaving a small gap requiring another couple of dabs of filler. The same was true of the cheek intakes.

The taillplanes and the detail parts all slotted snugly into their sockets, which also provided good alignment of the parts. The only quibble I have here is that the holes in the wheels are much larger than the axles on the landing gear struts, making their installation the only fiddly bit of the whole project.

Finish

The color scheme I chose is for a plane number 11 of the 120th Fighter Regiment assigned to the defense of Moscow in the winter of 1942. This choice was inspired by a great build article on the ICM 1/48 MiG-3 kit in an issue of REPLIC magazine, the date of which I did not record. Shame on me! I did not use the radio antenna mast and filled its hole in the fuselage to simplify the build. I noticed not all MiG-3s had them. OOB rules do not require you to use all the parts in the box.

I don’t understand the logic of painting an airplane white for on-the-ground camouflage and then painting the wings red and a painting a black band across the fuselage. Perhaps this was done because most aerial photo-recon in the forties used black and white film and the red and black would both show up black thus completely breaking up the outline of the airplane. Can any reader enlighten me further on this kind of camouflage, which seems to have been fairly common?

The primary paints used were flat white auto lacquer primer – as both primer and final color, Floquil Signal Red, Floquil Weathered Black and Aeromaster Light Blue.

The flaps and the radiator outlet flap were drawn onto the blue belly with a .3mm drafting pencil as scribing is prohibited by OOB rules.

After the model was completely painted and decaled it was given a light spray of Testors Dullcoat to seal the decals and pencil lines

Decals

The black outlined stars on the fuselage and tail are from the kit as are the victory stars. The underwing stars and the plane numbers are from Micro-Scale and the patriotic slogan is from a very old ESCI sheet. I had airbrushed two coats of Micro-Scale Decal Film over the ESCI slogans but they still broke into several pieces upon being wetted – just like our Publisher told me they would. Next time, I’ll brush on a heavier coat, or two, to prevent the decals breaking up

The cockpit framing is made from strips of pre-painted clear decal stock. The first color applied to the decal stock was a neutral gray, for the interior, followed by a flat white. The strips were cut to uniform width by gluing two No. 11 scalpel blades together.

Conclusion

This was a simple, quick build of an attractive little WWII fighter of not much note. I’m notorious for being a slow builder. I started this model on July 3, 2007 and finished it on August 21, 2007. That’s a really fast build for me.

It was a satisfying project and I’m mostly pleased with the end result.

References

I consulted nothing not listed in the in-box review. After I finished the model I became aware there is a Squadron In-Action book on the early MiGs but neither of my local connections had a copy in inventory. Maybe that was a good thing, as too much information tends to slow down an AMSer, even when he’s building OOB.

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