Master of the MiGs: 1/48th Academy MiG-29A Fulcrum
The 1993 release of this Academy kit held the promise of being a great improvement over the 1/48th Monogram kit. Although better, the Academy kit left a lot to be desired as well. Sadly model makers were left without a good MiG-29 kit until the Great Wall Hobbies release in 2012.
Notable Kit Features:
Good instructions with some reference photos included
Basic cockpit and poor ejection seat
Choice of open or closed canopy
Optional open or closed dorsal intake louvers
Open or closed FOD doors in intakes
Compressor faces at end of intake ducts provided
Positionable speed brakes
The MiG-29 was an impressive aircraft when it made its debut in 1982. Built to counter the USAF F-15, F-16 & F-18 it was the lighter-weight class fighter with its bigger cousin Su-27, they made a formidable foe.
General overly-complicated engineering and poor fit in places
Intake halves are a poor fit requiring a lot of CA and sanding to eliminate the seams
Mismatch shape between the front and rear pieces requiring spreaders, CA and re-scribing
Poor fitting underside panels
Poor fit of tails
undercarriage doors are the wrong shape and a poor fit
Starboard side tail mounted pitots are incorrectly placed in the instructions – these should be on the outer surface, not the inner surface
The large intake on the upper rear fuselage is incorrect shape
Wingtip lights are also the wrong shape
So-so engine exhausts
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Replaced kit seat with aftermarket
Used aftermarket decals (CAM 48-105)
When I built this MiG I knew of the Monogram kit deficiencies, so I thought I was getting a much better option to that build. I wasn't aware of this kit's shortfalls. I was happy with the result at the time, so all was good. CAM called for Ghost Gray (FS 36373) and Gray Green (FS 35352) uppers over Light Gray (FS 26493) which seemed pretty good matches to the few reference photos at the time. (Although CAM's aircraft profile picture as well as paint swatches showed different colours.) Weathering was kept minimal for this shark-mouth Russian example based out of Maryy AB around 1989.
The After-Build Report:
To my surprise, there are not many options for a 1/48th scale MiG-29 (considering what a capable aircraft this was when it came out, its long production run and how many countries operate this series). The early Monogram kit was known for its (major) inaccuracies so it is not really a contender. Although I haven't built the GWH kit I would think this should be your best bet, considering the downfalls of this Academy build. The GWH is a more expensive kit however the details provided appear to be good. I can't imagine it being a more cumbersome build than the Academy one and the end results should be much better.
Completed build #124 - July 2010 using the 1/48th scale Academy #2116 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers