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HobbyBoss 1/48 scale MiG-17F Fresco C

Subscriber-only extra!
Kit: No. 80334
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: HobbyBoss, from Squadron Mail Order, 877-414-0434,
Price: $37.99
Comments: Injection-molded, 135 parts, decals
Pros:Top-notch moldings; high level of detail; excellent clear parts; dropped flaps; separate ailerons and elevators
Cons: Lack of instrument-panel detail; no separate rudder; unused ordnance positions under wings require filler
Issue Published: February 2009
HobbyBoss' new kit is a step up from previous 1/48 scale MiG-17s. The box art features a North Vietnamese MiG-17F, Red 2011, one of three aircraft (the other two are Soviet and East German) for which markings are provided on a six-color Cartograf decal sheet. The gray and clear injection-molded parts show minimal flash and mold seams which are easily cleaned up with light sanding. Panel line details are recessed, fine, and consistent, with subtle rivet detail.

The English and Chinese instructions include directions for decals and a parts map. Exploded assembly drawings show all parts by number; some parts have color notations, and colors are keyed to several paint manufacturers.

Perhaps the best area is the cockpit, made of nine well-engineered, good-fitting parts. Only the instrument panel lacks detail; a decal would have been welcome.

The intake splitter, which attaches to the front of the cockpit, contains the nose-gear well and an avionics deck. There is space below the cockpit floor for nose weight; add it before gluing the belly cover (Part A2) in place. My model needed about ¾ oz. of lead.

The engine will not be seen if the fuselage is closed up, but the detail is good (although Part F15 appears to have been drawn backwards; it fit fine when reversed). To display the engine, I left the aft fuselage detached and placed it on a stand from a Tamiya MiG-15 kit.

Upper and lower wing panels require little cleanup, and separate ailerons and dropped flaps fit easily. The wingtip pitot tubes are delicate; save them until other assembly is completed. My carpet ate one; I made a replacement from steel tubing.

The curvature of Part A10, the cover for the avionics bay, and Part A2, the bottom of the fuselage around the nose-gear well, does not match the fuselage. Part A10 could be left off to display the avionics bay; part A2 required lots of rubber bands and bar clamps. Part A16, the nose ring, needed sanding to fit.

The wings and horizontal stabilizers needed no filler, and the poseable elevators and ailerons are nice.
The best fit was the windshield, which clicked right into its recess. The canopy sits without stress on the fuselage, and the landing-gear struts plug in and self-align. The outboard wheel halves are an aid to painting. I had to file the two pieces of the nose-wheel strut.

Were I to build this kit again, I would replace the gun barrels with metal tubing. The kit's cannon barrel also could be enhanced.

The insides of the landing gear doors, the dive brakes, and the wing flaps are especially well done. However, fit of the fuel-tank racks under the wings was poor; again, the curves did not match. I installed one each of the ordnance so all kit parts were used. The holes in the lower right inboard wing panel for mounting one of the D4-50 racks (Part G5) and one of the RV-2 radar altimeter antennas (Part D9) are too close; fill the holes and relocate them for a better fit.

Squadron Signal's MiG-17 Fresco (Walk Around No. 46) has a photo on Page 41 of an SRD-1M radar rangefinder antenna not included in this kit. Page 61 of the same reference shows a strut brace for the MARS-2 rocket launcher (parts G1, G2, and G4), also absent.

I airbrushed with Hawkeye's SnJ Spray metal aluminum and Model Master modern Russian interior blue green, magnesium and stainless steel buffing Metalizer, burnt iron nonbuffing Metalizer, and Floquil railroad colors engine black and old silver. Decals were applied directly to the aluminum finish (decal solvent should probably not be used on bare metal finishes); no sealer was used.

My brand-new digital caliper measured the wingspread at 7.896", about half a scale foot short; the length is 9.1905", even closer to scale. I would say that's pretty accurate.

HobbyBoss recommends this kit to ages 14 and up. A couple of kits' worth of experience and the ability to use of an airbrush would indicate sufficient skill. I enjoyed this model - it's a good one!

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