Aircraft Completed Builds

Trumpeter’s 1/48 Mig-3: It Ain’t Easy Being Green… And Yellow… And Red

With the final matt coat on, and all the fiddly bits applied, Trumpeter’s 1/48 Mig-3 is finished. And I’m quite happy with the final result.

This is a great little kit. Period. The surface detailing is excellent, the fit is very good, the interior detail is very nice, and the best part is the price- you can pick this kit up at for less than $20. It’s truly a great value.

The cockpit consists of very nicely detailed molded sidewalls, and nice instrument panel, stick, rudder, and seat. I did add some Eduard photoetch belts, but the rest looks wonderful with basic paint and wash work. Fitting the finished cockpit into the fuselage presented no problems, with only minimal seam work needed to smooth things over.

The forward portions of the cowling did not align perfectly, but taking a section by section approach to gluing things on, the minor alignment issues didn’t cause any problems. Fitting the upper and lower wing halves together was near perfect, with only minimal edge smoothing needed in a few places.

Once the wing and the fuselage were together, the two mated together nicely. A light coat of Mr. Surfacer 500 was applied to all join lines, and the excess wiped away with a cotton bud dampened with alcohol. This sealed any hairline gaps, and gave all the joins an even, panel-line look.

I glued on the forward windscreen, and aft clear part, the fit being perfect. Say what you will about Trumpeter, but their clear parts are generally best in class. All clear parts were masked with Parafilm.  I stuffed a few bits of paper towel into the cockpit, then placed the sliding portion in place, setting it temporarily with Future. 

Once that was dry, I primed the exterior with Badger’s Stynylrez Black Primer. The lower portions of the aircraft were painted with a custom mix of Tamiya XF-23, with just a touch of white and red added. (It was actually the color I’d mixed to use on my Sniper II Gunpla.) The lower areas were masked off, and the uppers given a coat of Akan AMT-4 acrylic. A bit of post-fading was added to the upper color, and then it was all sealed with a coat of Future.

While decals are never a favorite part of the build for me, Trumpy’s decals performed very well, and the fact that there were only 12 to apply kept things simple. I added a few dots of Future to the surface of the model for each decal, and then once in place and smoothed over, I hit them with an application of Solvaset. All was then resealed with Future.

I’d covered the details of the weathering process in a previous article, but the basic techniques used were an application of a dot filter with various colors, post shading and fading via airbrush, enamel streaking grimes in specific locations, and some weathering powders. Chipping was accomplished with a Prismacolor silver pencil.

With all of that in place, the final dangly bits were added, a matt coat applied, and the canopy masking removed.

I’m very happy with how this kit turned out. The build experience was very fun, trouble free, and satisfying. Trumpeter (and Hobbyboss) often are poo-poo’d by “serious” modelers, but at the end of the day, they look like what they’re supposed to replicate, and they are FUN. Which, in my mind, is the most important part. (Please direct complaints to your local IPMS-US chapter.) 😀

If you’ve been building super-complicated aircraft models and need a break, or perhaps just want to try the genre out for the first time, I can highly recommend Trumpeter’s 1/48 Mig-3. You’ll still have money left in the wallet, and have a great time building it!


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