"For the Bolshevik Party"
When Peter Knaul asked me a few words about this model I couldn't start writing without first
mentioning something about the actual aircraft itself.
In fact, for a WWII warbird scale modeling enthusiast the Soviet planes can be very appealing.
The MiG-3 was known as a kind of brute, relentless and very difficult aircraft to master.
It fought "face to face" against some of the best planes the nazi regime mass produced and
despite less technologically advanced as its foes were, it did in fact score some kills due, mainly,
as far as I learned, to very efficient flying through experienced Soviet pilots.
The MiG-3 was not for the rookie pilot though as it demanded too much experience either in low
and high altitudes to be correctly - and deadly enough - controlled.
The elegance of the lines, as any aesthetic debate, are arguable. For me, they are appealing,
naturally, but the MiG-3 can represent another interesting point for a modeler. There are tons of
possible schemes, from winter to summer. Plus, you may choose a winter scheme for a first layer
and roughly paint a summer on top of it, as it was so common back in the days. This option can
represent another challenge for the modeler. The less experienced may train a lot of painting and
weathering techniques. The experienced one, well, has a chance to add another great warbird to
the collection and, if he's into it, to shine throughout the web platforms and scale models shows :)
The Alanger model
This is an old kit. Flash flourishes throughout all sprue sheets except the transparent ones.
As far as I know, Alanger was bought by ICM, which still makes MiG-3's, but not as complete as
this older kit.
I am not an experienced modeler and it took me from November to middle June to finish it (ok, just
working a few hours on the weekends, but still...).
The engineering is quite uncommon. A wing, for instance, is usually built with 2 to 3 pieces in most
1/72 and 1/48 scales. Each wing on this kit is made with about 5/6 pieces (don't remember exactly;
built them in November... :)
This adds another challenge to the kit. Plenty of dry fitting must be done at all steps and at all the
time. Neglecting this rule will mean serious sanding, putting and massive headaches. I did not
respect this rule all the way down and I'm still haunted by dreadful migraines to this day...
You have three options for the final aspect of the plane. All of them demand serious studying and
planing before starting the build itself: 1) covered engine 2) exposed engine 3) exposed engine and
guns/firewall. Option 1 being the simpler one, of course.
Being an unexperienced modeler, I thought going for 1) right away. But then, I looked at the engine
and fell in love. It is an excellent replica of the real thing and decided to build it just for the fun. Just
needed to add some minor wiring to be pleased with the final result (can't be seen anymore, but
you know how it works, "I know it's there"). Didn't have the heart to cover it when done. When
covering as come, I chose to go for option 2).
Option 2) it's a real pain. To be short, it was a nightmare to match the three gun holes on the cover
with the actual guns mounted on top of the engine. I'm still not sure how I did it. And to be true, it is
not a perfect job.
On a side note: gun holes on the cover do not come OOB and fitting the cover on the engine
requires a lot of sanding. You'll need to engrave the format of the gun barrels into the underside of
the cover to make sure that the cover itself fits well upon the engine structure. I think I needed
December and January just to accomplish this :D
The landing gear is not over detailed, but it's acceptable enough (a lot better than kits from another
brands in fact). I chose not to use aftermarket and I was pleased with what it offers. I had to ad
horizontal lines on the wheels as they come plain from the factory, which is not the most common
for the MiG-3.
The cockpit is also a lot of fun. I added some detail to the stick, floor and central panel. The sides
are more poorly detailed. Added trim wheels/levers which proved to be an ill decision. With them, I
"fatned" the cockpit on the sides and later was much more difficult to install it inside the two
The kit comes with three decals for the cockpit panels. I used the central and the
left one. The one for the right side was too poor to use, so the option was to paint it. All the cockpit
settles in a bar structure, which is very fragile. Joining the cockpit to the fuselage is also a
challenge because of this feature.
The transparencies are excellent. They just need riveting to be perfect. The transparency for the
landing light should be replaced though, for it only does an "ok" job. I made a lamp with foil sheet
and covered it with transparency leftovers.
There aren't many decals to apply. Six Soviet stars, arrows for the engine cover sides, numbers
and sayings. There is also an option to add a decal with small numbers near the propeller (info
about engine rotation rating if I remember correctly...). The only decals this model has are the "For
the Bolshevik Party" sayings on both sides. They were very aged and "yellowed" but stood out ok
after the gloss varnish.
The stars decals are valid options, but I wanted to try my own stencils and this was the right project
to do it. The stars are quite easy to reproduce. The arrows not so much, mainly because it is very
difficult to stick the stencil in place due to the problematic location.
It was a first also for painting the nose roundels, and I have to thank Peter Knaul for some insight
on the subject.
White on top, blue under. Red for the markings. Tamiya x-2, mr hobby h323 (light blue) and mr
hobby h327 (red). That's it.
Throughout painting I bared in mind that, in the real aircraft, half fuselage and half of both wings
were made of steel. The other halves were wood. So, there is some chipping technique mainly on
the wing roots and all steel sections are coated with satin varnish. Wood sections are finished in
mate. Ammo Mig 090 and AK 183 Ultra Mate, respectively.
Oils, HB hardness pencils and watercolor pencils completed the weathering process.
Fun! From start to finish. Great kit, not expensive and very challenging in some sections. Great to
practice a bunch of skills and techniques. And really, who doesn't like a good ol'MiG?
Note: for MiG-3 references this site is a true encyclopedia:
http://mig3.sovietwarplanes.com/mig3/mig3.html#development, by Massimo Tessitori