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Trumpeter 1/32 scale MiG-29M Fulcrum

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT | MILITARY
Kit: No. 02238
Manufacturer: Trumpeter, from Stevens International, 856-435-1555, www.stevenshobby.com
Scale: 1/32
Price: $139.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 492 parts (13 photoetched metal, 20 metal, 4 vinyl, 1 photo film), decals
Pros: Excellent detail, great cockpit, wide range of ordnance, good fit, good decals, metal cores for landing-gear struts
Cons: Wire and photoetched hinges work poorly, seat harness stiff, model needs nose weight
Trumpeter's big Fulcrum appears first as the latest MiG-29M version. A MiG-29K is also on the way. Trumpeter has been on a roll with its Russian fighters, and the Fulcrum, with gobs of detail and accurate shape, is no exception.

The clear parts are well-molded, and this time, the instrument panel has gauge faces instead of holes. This requires careful painting. The photo film for the gauges glues to the back of the clear panel as usual.

White-metal landing-gear cores are included to give the struts extra strength. An optional white-metal pitot tube is provided, but mine was mis-cast. I glued the metal tip onto the plastic pitot.

Out of the 492 parts, 252 parts go toward a wide array of air-to-air and air-to- ground missiles and pylons. There are 32 missiles and their appropriate hard points, but the most that can be mounted on the jet is eight. Not being that familiar with Russian ordnance, I just picked a bunch of missiles I saw mounted on Fulcrums in reference photos. An entire decal sheet is dedicated to missile stenciling, and one side of the color and markings guide is for ordnance. Actually, only about half the weapons shown on the sheet come in the kit, so the others are probably destined for subsequent kits.

The decal sheet provides markings for two aircraft, but the camouflage pattern shown on the marking sheet is incorrect compared with photos.

Harnesses for the seat are produced on the photoetched fret, along with control surface hinge-pin holders. Metal hinge pins, 10 screws, and four vinyl tires round out the contents.

Construction was straightforward starting with the cockpit. The photoetched seat harness looks stiff and is difficult to bend and conform to the seat.

When joining the upper and lower fuselage halves, I had to fill near the nose and where the stabilizers attach. Screws attach the wings and nose-gear bay to the fuselage.

The hinged control surfaces were floppy, so I glued them in place. There's no indication in the instructions that the model will be tail-heavy once ordnance is installed. I had already glued the nose cone on by that time, but I was able to coat an automotive wheel weight with super glue and drop it into the model through the opening for one of the exhaust pipes. After a shot of super glue accelerator, it must have settled somewhere in the forward fuselage and was heavy enough to balance the model. That's the hard way to solve it. You should glue weight into the nose cone; there's no radar detail so there's plenty of room.

I had to work on the nose-cone seam and restore detail around it that was lost to sanding.

In Step 11 when adding the intakes, the ramps parts No. D6 and D7 sit high. I sanded them so they were flush with the intake edges. I also had to sand the wedges on which the ramps rest so the intake fit properly.

The landing gear struts go together well and they're sturdy, but the main struts are canted inward too far. The detailed exhaust cans angle outward, but I'm not sure I see that in reference photos.

The final tweak was to sand the instrument panel coaming to better fit the headup display. The last assembly session went to building the missiles and pylons.

After painting the model, the decals went down great. I spent about 40 hours putting Trumpeter's big Fulcrum together, some of that studying the unfamiliar ordnance. A good reference is Warbird Tech Series MiG-29 Fulcrum, No. 41.

The finished model looks right and makes a nice comparison with a 1/32 scale F-16. You should have some experience with complex kits before getting wedged in by this Fulcrum.

- Larry Schramm

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