KIT: Hobbycraft 1/32 MiG-15bis
KIT #: HC 1690
PRICE: $30.00 MSRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Trumpeter kit reboxed


Much of history is full of examples where one group of people misunderstand, misinterpret, or generally base their actions on false assumptions or what they'd like to believe, the reality of the situation be damned. The last 100 years has been full of examples where this has occurred, one of those instances, and something that relates to aviation, being the MiG-15. This is an aircraft that the Soviets were not supposed to be able to develop. In 1950 Westerners knew that the Soviets were a backward people, incapable of advanced aeronautic. It was a known fact (sic) that the only way any aviation advancement was made was by copying products from other countries.

Somehow the Polikarpov I-16 of the mid 1930s, the long range bombers and recce flights of that time were blithely ignored. So was the development of the Yak and Lagg series of fighters, probably the most successful fighters of their time, made even more remarkable in that most of the construction was wood. Let's also ignore the capabilities of the IL-2, a ground attack aircraft that was second to none.

After the war, the Soviets exploited the German scientists that fell into their hands just as much as did England, France and the United States. Their technology was tested and much of their work found its way into aircraft design. When you add the incredible stupidity of the British government to sell the Soviets cutting edge turbojets in the late 1940s and one can easily see how a world class jet fighter could have appeared in North Korean skies in 1950.

I'm sure the arguments will go on for decades as to which aircraft was better; the F-86 or the MiG-15. In reality it is a bit of apples and oranges, for each aircraft had their strengths. The F-86 had better high speed performance and a higher diving speed. The MiG-15 had more powerful armament and climbed much faster, thanks to its lighter weight. When pilots of equal experience met each other, the outcome was very much in doubt.

Despite the massive propaganda campaign that indicated a very high kill ratio for the F-86, as with every war, those claims have since been shown to be considerably lower than originally thought. This has been made possible by better research and the access to Russian historical data that was not available until only recently.

Regardless of opposing opinions, it cannot be denied that the MiG-15 is one of the premiere early jet fighters.


For those of you who are not aware of the situation, Hobbycraft and Trumpeter have a deal going where Hobbycraft reboxes Trumpeter kits, generally with different decals and instructions. That is the case here.

When you pop open the thick box, you will find three plastic bags with four main sprues and one clear sprue. You'll be struck by how much this seems to emulate the Tamiya 1/48 MiG-15, but you'll soon see that while there are a lot of similarities, there are also differences. Yes, this one has a separate engine like the Tamiya kit and a number of other similarities. I do believe that it even copies the Tamiya instructions in some way as there is shown a large nose weight that is not included in the kit. Overall molding is well done with engraved detail including the rivets.

There are several nose cones in the kit that are obviously for other Trumpeter MiGs as they have what look like radar nose lips and intakes. Two options are provided for wing tanks; either the slipper type that fits right on the wing or the more usual type that has a pylon. Ailerons, elevators, rudder and flaps are separate. Speed brakes can be posed open or closed and a handling dolly is provided for the rear fuselage. Rubber tires are included and are designed to slip right over the wheels. I'm not sure what they used to determine the windscreen and canopy, but they sure don't look like what my references show. To do a proper MiG-15, you'll have to find some sort of replacement. The windscreen (to the left) looks like something for the radar equipped MiG-17PF or possibly the Chinese twin seat trainer. The clear portion of the canopy is too abruptly cut off in the rear and should extend back a bit more (to the right).

  Instructions are untypical for Hobbycraft in the amount of color information provided and the clarity and detail of the drawings. Probably copied. Markings are given for three planes. One is the box art plane in unpainted metal with a red nose. Next is another North Korean version in a disruptive camouflage of Dark Green, Brown and Tan over Light Blue-Grey. The final scheme is an unpainted metal version of the Egyptian Air Force. Optional insignia centers are provided for this scheme, but they look no different from what is already printed on the insignia. Odd. The decals are well printed and since this is a 2000 kit, they should be very good.


I'm sure that many of you have heard about this kit and its problems before. I still find it odd that any model company can get even obvious things like a windscreen so wrong, especially when the kit is based on a known quality (the Tamiya kit).

June 2005

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