BRIEF HISTORY / TECHNICAL
In the late 1940s the SKF requested an increase range of operation of there fighters, at least 1000km at 90% of the cruising speed, using only the inner tank. The building company modified the existing version of I-200 (Mig-1) with one called Mig-3. The changes were applied:
- The new tank L.250 was housed in the lower cockpit area, precisely under the seat.
- to give space to the tank, the more larger radiator of the previous one (called OP-310) was moved back to housing the new radiator was it installed in the lower part, between the two half-wings, a long container called ‘kakrakatitsa’ (cuttlefish bone). External attacks for auxiliary tanks, were removed to save weight.
- The wing dihedral was increased by 1 °, passing from 6 ° to 7 °, thus to increasing the lateral stability.
- The front carriages were equipped with tires from 650x200mm to better support the growth weight of the new cell.
- In the rear now was added a wheel with tire, forcing the manufacturer to realize new doors with bulging, adapted to contain the wheel once retracted.
- The closure of the carriages were modified, small interior doors were replaced by wider one.
- The tanks were now self sealing
- To balance the weight given by the new tank, the engine was moved forward by 100mm, thus bringing the total length to 8250mm against the 8150mm of previous version.
It is ‘important to know that all the MiG-3 were made of metal and wood. The metallic zones included the fuselage from engine zone to the line behind the cockpit and the wing near fusolage. The wooden part included the rear area of the fuselage the vertical fin and wings. The visible attack at about half of the wing surface, constituted by a longitudinal reinforcing plate, outlining the division between the metal part and the external one of wood. All moving parts had the metal core and covered in canvas.
The standard engine mounted on the MiG-1 and 3 was an AM-35A supercharged. Mass production of this engine was stopped in favor of the new AM-38F that manned the Mig-3 in early 1942. The AM-35 was a 12-cylinder 60 ° V, it developed a maximum power of 1350hp. 2402mm long, 866mm wide and 1098mm tall, he weighed 830kg.
The armament mounted on the nose above the engine, consisted of two 7.62mm machine guns ShKAS and a central UBS 12.7mm. Furthermore were later installed two racks with three rails called 3ROB-82, each of which bore the first air-to-air missile and air-to-ground RS-82. The radio compartment was placed immediately behind the headrest is, by photographic evidence, absent in most aircraft. Only a few units seem to have been equipped with two-way radio, the other with the receiver alone while most had none.
The idea of creating this aircraft set in cold and even snowy spring 1942, has been a challenge for me. Everything was new from the model to the scenic representation, find photos of that specific period, was arduous task.
In addition to the simple plane parked at a corner adjacent to the track, I had to find something that would enhance. Insert in the context a simple rusty barrel (of dubious origin), now discovered by the snow during the Russian spring, bears witness to the fact that under that pall could hide some material, maybe German! The soldier now tired of shoveling snow, gets a little ‘break, willingly accepting a cigarette offered to him by an officer of passage.
Have a nice modelling time!
The construction step by step
Photo 02 The cockpit side walls have been detailed using photo-etched from Eduard.
Photo 03 I rebuilt the tubing inside the cockpit with Evergreen plastic pipes. Trumpeter has simplified much of the detail, especially in the interior.
Photo 04 That’s how the tubing should be. To complete the work, I used the photo-etched flooring from Eduard. The four Seat attacks will be bonded to the corresponding juncture on tubes.
Photos 5>7 First ‘dry fitting’ tests operation essential whenever a new part is rebuild.
Photos 8>10 First look at the right dry fitting of cockpit’s parts.
Photos 11>13 The floor was painted green. With the help of tubular structure, it will be easy to add the various interior details.
Photos 14-15 The cockpit side walls were painted.
Photos 16-17 Here you can see three parts: the seat structure that contains the parachute, the back of the cockpit area, where the radio compartment is housed (that seems to have fitted a few units) and the bulkhead backrest (armored), which is one piece with the headrest, made by pressing a metal foil on the original piece taken from the kit.
Photos 18 > 26 Finishing the interior, I added the instrument panel (picture 24) and dry-fitting was necessary to check the fit and accuracy of the joints.
Photos 27 > 32 The fuselage halves are joined. Everything fits perfectly.
Photos 33 > 39 Next up is the front landing gear bay. The bays are lacking detail. I rebuilt the upper walls with 2mm plasticard and detailed all the interior structure based on photos taken from the book ‘yellow series’ of Mushroom Model Publication,. I was able to reconstruct the entire interior, including all mechanism, retraction wire system for landing gear and locking doors.
Photos 40 – 41 Time to mate the wings with the fuselage. In the lower part of the housing flaps, between the wings and fuselage, there is a part completely void of detail. A serious omission, because the kit offers the possibility of leaving the flaps extended. I solved the problem by using the Eduard photo-etched parts to address the issue.
Photos 42 > 45 Some parts, such as the windscreen and front cover were dry fitted to check the fit and make sure there are no issues later.
Photos 46>47 The landing gear bays are painted.
Photos 48 > 50 The interior flaps are Eduard photo-etched parts.The joint with the fuselage needs a bit of putty.
Photos 51 > 57 Let’s move on to painting job. I airbrushed the upper surfaces a base of green Humbrol HT. Then, I painted a white coat with Gunze H11. Once dry, I sprayed the model with alcohol, moving from the wing tips toward the fuselage. I sprayed the alcohol in many layers until the green base was visible. This process requires caution, as the white can “crack” once dry. I sanded with a 3000 grit sandpaper to tone down the colour separation effect. Interestingly enough, the white colour settled into the panel lines and rivets. The next step is more delicate and it will give a distinct character to the whole model. By airbrushing various shades of green, I faded the area between the green and white. I applied this on the wing base (near fuselage), the upper part of the fuselage and the tail surfaces. White will have a ‘worn-out’ effect on the parts exposed to weather and usage. In war time, white was a washable paint used only during the winter period and it was washed away in spring time.
Photos 58 > 60 Let’s talk about the propeller! The thickness is exaggerated (see photo 58). Comparing the piece with photos of the real blade, I noticed that even the ‘curvature’ was wrong. Armed with patience, I sanded the three original blades to achieve the proper thickness and correct angle (photos 59 and 60).
Photos 66- 67 The cowling placed under the fuselage, acts as a radiator housing. I used parts in photo-etched from Eduard for the radiator and the hot air vent bulkhead.
Photos 68 > 71 The flaps were painted, ready for the snap test. Fortunately, I took a look at some photos and I realize that I was making a big mistake folowing Eduard instructions! They reproduced the housing of the flaps made of metal. In fact, the exterior housing halves, are made of wood with three large holes where the actuator mechanism retract / extend flaps! What could happen if I did not look at those pictures? I would have done an incorrect job by following the instructions of Eduard! It is advised to check what ‘after-market’ offers us, some times they don’t do things the correct way!
Photos 72 > 75 Eduard provides some improvements to landing gears structs to replace the coarse part of the kit
Photos 76-77 The control stick was revised by adding the windings on the gripping parts, filaments and details omitted in the kit.
Photos 78-79 The propeller spinner was painted with white alluminium from Alclad II metal colors, while the blades with Metal Color Gunze. The inner parts of the blades were usually painted matt black to avoid glare. This colour fades with time, so I peeled off the areas with the aid of a toothpick.
Photos 80 > 85 The painting job on the under side is now over, the stars are painted with an airbrush using masks, deliberately decentralized knowing little care that at that time Russians had for details, I therefore wheathered all surface. To paint the base I used Gunze H-323 cleared with few drop of white. Get colors faithful to those Russians with the use of Federal Standard is definitely a chance, but the WWII Russians original colors reference charts are rarely available, I so had to approximate! The photo n ° 82 shows the the flap actuators.
Photos 86 > 88 Now the model can be almost defined over
Photo 89 Masking tape Tamiya was applied on transparent that have been painted both internally and externally. The frame on which was mounted the gunsight has been added using rods in plasticard
Photos 90> 94 Details of the front, which in this particular aircraft (also common to other Mig) was left in natural aluminum! These parts have been airbrushed with alluminium Alcalad II paint. I emphasized some parts with dark brown very diluted. Noteworthy are the exhausts, that with a proper use of color, emphasizes the shapes.
Photos 95 > 102 Details of the cockpit area with some views of the interior.
Photo 103 The attacks of the rear moving parts in the kit are a mess, I remade them to better position them ..
Photos 104>106 the base of the diorama was created by reproducing the basic ground on which I applied white glue diluted with water, so I sprinkled it all with microspheres of Max Meyer (originally used to mix paint, to create anti slip surface used for pools, boats etc.). Before the amalgam was dry, I took a bit of ‘excess snow’, using a spatula, this in order to reflect the ground below and discover some tuft of grass.
Photos 107>109 The two figures were are from ICM in 1:35, also making use of parts taken from the MB Master Box.
You can see the completed diorama by clicking here.
By Renzo Bortolotto
Text Proofing by Christos Athanasiou