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Reviewed by Phil Brandt
The Mig-19, NATO-coded 'Farmer,' was the definitive model in Mikoyan's legendary line of swept wing fighters. Not only was it the first mass produced supersonic fighter, but it was the first Soviet airframe to, for a short time, level or even tilt the performance playing field against the West's frontline fighters such as the F-100.
The Farmer has never been as well known as the Mig-15 and ubiquitous Mig-17 Fresco, because of limited production numbers due, in turn, to its transitional role in rapidly advancing Soviet double-supersonic aircraft development. Until recently the Mig-19 has soldiered on in the Third World as the affordable, Chinese-built F-6 Shenyang. Forty years after its introduction, its twin- engined power, hard-hitting cannons, high rate of climb and small turning radius still make it a serious competitor in close-in, air-to-air situations.
Until now, the only Mig-19 kits generally available in 1/48 have been the hard to find resin offering by Gremlin Models in Oregon (it may be OOP--contact NOXAF@aol.com), and a recent resin release by Collect-Aire.
The Gremlin kit is rather rudimentary but can, with serious effort, be built into a decent presentation. The
Collect-Aire kit is likely to be more detailed and better finished, but bring money!
Recent word on the street has been that two or three firms would soon market an injected 1/48 Farmer kit, and the PRC's AA Models was first out of the chute. And that, boys and girls, is about all the positives Bondo can apply to this toylike kit, because it will take all the skills and spare parts you have to turn this release into an accurate model ready for competition!
Molding has that rounded, soft look, and engraving is slightly heavy, much like OEZ and Kopro. But it's the gigantic, sunken rivets with scale six-inch spacing that makes one gag! You'll have to do lots of masking before filling them in.
A quick-and-dirty ruler/calculator check using the dimensions in the Squadron "Mig- 19 Farmer" book reveals that the AA Mig scales out differently in length (1/52) and wingspan (1/48). Strangely the distance between the wing trailing edge and stab leading edge seems O.K., so the question is where to add the approximately 3/4" fuselage plug that's needed.
But, it's the seriously incorrect airframe shapes and crude compartments - talk about Aurora and Lindberg revisited! - that will be show stoppers to all but the most dedicated kitbashers.
First, the kit's intake cross sectional area is significantly undersized. It's actually smaller than that of the OEZ or War Eagle Mig-17 kits... and they're single engine airplanes! Any photo of the Farmer's nose shows a much blunter profile. Adding insult to injury is the flat-edged splitter plate that goes nowhere, and the box caused by the nosegear bay simply jutting into the airstream for all to see.
As a fix, Bondo suggests sacrificing an (IMO) not-bad OEZ Mig-17 kit. Use the intake ring and splitter/nosegear well assembly; the splitter merges perfectly into the OEZ intake ring and will practically fit the AA fuselage as is. Align the intake ring bottom with the bottom of the AA fuselage, and fair the sides and top into the fuselage with A&B epoxy putty or equivalent.
Moving back to the windscreen/canopy, things get worse. AA Models has merely cannibalized the windscreen/canopy of their earlier A-5 Nanchang kit, and they're totally unacceptable for the Mig-19.
First of all, the backsweep of the windscreen is way too much, and there's an odd flattened area at the top of the arch which meets the canopy. If you can locate an ESCI G-91 windscreen, it's a decent substitute. After all, nobody said accurizing this toy would be easy!
Secondly, the length of the A-5 Nanchang's canopy clear area is only about two-thirds that of the Farmer. The best substitute I've located is the Monogram F9F Panther. You'll have to trim off the aft end and do some puttying to fair into the spine, but it's workable, especially if you do an open canopy (is there any other way?) Moving far aft, the exhaust tubes appear to be way undersized, and I don't know at this point if you'll be able to drill 'em out enough to be realistic without destroying the swoopy sheetmetal fillets surrounding the tubes. I'm going to drill as far as I can and then add plastic or brass tubes.
The cockpit's the easiest part to fix because AA has provided so little to remove. Simply Dremelize the existing cockpit floor/bulkhead/instrument panel into oblivion, and plug in a KMC Mig-17 resin tub. You can use the well-detailed KMC seat or, in case you desire to do a Pakistani F-6, add the excellent Paragon MB Mk 10 seat for the Tornado.
AA models again chose the rude and crude way out in doing the positionable (I think) flaps and ailerons. As with the A-5 Nanchang kit, the flap and aileron leading edges are square, so you'll have to add some half-round stock to the flap/aileron leading edges and bevel the squared wing trailing edges to accept the new flap/aileron leading edges. The wing fences are too thick by about half. If you carefully score them at the wing junction, they'll break off cleanly, and you can then sand 'em down to a more accurate thickness, and Tenax 'em right back onto the original mounting area.
Then there's the matter of AA's fanciful interpretation of the main gear well and door shape. You'll have to cut accurate well shapes from drawings and integrate them into the abominable outline furnished by AA's master craftsmen. Same, same with the gear doors....unless you've got a Gremlin Models Mig-19 around to furnish accurate ones. While we're talking about landing gear, Bondo advises chucking all three El Crudo AA struts and subbing the OEZ Mig-17 gear and wheels. Compared to the AA parts, they're positively Tamiya-like!
I don't know where AA's folks came up with external tank shapes, but they don't look like any in the Squadron book! Use the OEZ tanks, lengthened, say, half an inch in the center. As far as cannons, the tiny AA ones are useless as a representation of the hefty 30 MM real thing; get out the tubing and go from scratch. For air-to-mud ordnance, the OEZ kit comes to the rescue again. But, if you're doing the Pakistani version, you'll need to cannonball a couple of AIM-9s with pylons from the quarter-inch modern fighter kit of your choice.
Apparently, the PRC's model industry hasn't gotten the word that this is the Golden Age of Modeling.
If you've been keeping up with Bondo's suggestions, you now have a feel for what it's like to accurize what must be the modern injected world's answer to Combat Models vacform kits. Or, as the huge logo on the flight jacket of the Marine pilot in line ahead of me to file a flightplan at Danang Base Ops in '68 proclaimed, 'One Good Deal After Another"!
Review Copyright © 2000 by Phil