At the end of the sixties in the Soviet Union the development of a successor for the MiG-25 began. Primarily planned as a modernisation step for power plant, avionic and weapon systems, the changes turned out so drastically during the overhaul, that in the end a new interceptor was born: The MiG-31. This up to Mach 2.8 flying machine serves in the Russian Airforce since 1981 and is scheduled to stay in service until 2025.
The Kit of the Mikoyan MiG-31 BM/BSM – Foxhound
Manufacturer: AMK – AvantGarde Model Kits
Product No.: 88003
Released: December 2015
Price: ca. 65-80,00 $
Content: 28 sprues incl. clear parts, two decal sheets, instructions, one small PE sheet, two weights
Although AMK appeared on the marked only a short time ago (2013), they caused a lot of sensation in the modeling scene since then. From the very beginning the kits matched a very high quality standard and increased with every new release. There is a smart business concept behind that: AMK, albeit small, has its own production machines and with it a large degree of autonomy. Besides that the responsible persons for kit development are active members in modeling forums to keep up with customers and experts of the subjects. So modelers can take part by refining the CAD drawings and giving valuable hints to depict even the smallest version specific bits of the original object. The use of state-of-the-art molding machines let every fan of Russian aviation eagerly anticipate the release of this kit.
The lower fuselage, the one-piece front section and the also in one piece molded rockets are packed seperately in small card boxes who are stiffening the kit box additionally. For the further description of the parts we want to avoid any boring sequence of superlatives. It’s hands down the best quarterscale kit we’ve ever put our hands on. To fortify this sloppy statement we use the picture below as a preview for some jaw dropping kit engineering. It shows the complete fuselage of the beast, consisting of 4 (four!) parts, kept together by just a few stripes of tape.
Gaps are indeterminable. The cockpit can fully assembled and painted, but without ejection seats, slid into the one-piece front section. For this purpose rails are molded onto the inner walls. A novelty for sure.
To give this potential tail sitter a proper stand the kits owner is provided with two weights. They have their place underneath the cockpit floor. The tiny PE-fret includes the eject handles for the bang seats and crossed towbars for the roof of the rear canopy (only used for the opened version). Here’s the first shortcoming detectable: No seat harnesses.
Again immaculate quality. The canopy is provided in two versions, closed (one part) and open (four parts with expanded periscope). All around the sprue cast-on shields are protecting the parts from damage. Sprue gates are pleasingly small.
Instruction Manual / Decal Sheets
The instruction manual comes in modern standard as a booklet with 3d pictures derived from the CAD working drawing. The modeler is guided in 24 steps to the finished model, followed by 4 color profiles and and instructions for decal placement. The color guide refers to RAL and FS systems. A beginner may complain about that, but it’s no big deal to find cross references to paint manufacturers on the internet. We think it’s a smarter solution than just referring to just one paint sponsor (glancing in the direction of Spain right now). For the lazy ones among us or just for those who want to keep it all Russian, AKAN is providing a color set (47336) which includes the correct grey tones.
The decal sheets are printed well in register with opaque colors. The carrier film only marginally overlaps the printed areas. A lot of stencils are provided so everything’s needed shout be there. But, wait, where are the cockpit instruments?!
INSTRUCTION MANUAL EXTRACTIONS
MiG-31 BM „34 Red“, Ivan Pilipenko, Russian AF
MiG-31 BM „93 Blue“, Russian AF Moscow – Zhukovsky 2009
MiG-31 BM „93 Blue“, Russian AF Moscow – Zhukovsky 2013
MiG-31 BSM „25 Red“, Russian AF Akhtubinsk AB 2014
A nearly immaculate kit from modelers for modelers. It’s all thought-out: Design, quality, buildability and packaging. Small letdowns are the missing harnesses and some very fine parting lines on the slide-molded parts. The latter are easy to fix with a sanding stick and regarding the seats: Though they’re one of the best injection molded seats on the market, you’ll get yourself a pair of resin ones just to bring the CP to the level of the rest of the kit.
If you’re interested in a early version MiG-31 out of Soviet production, we recommend to wait a few weeks until the B/BS version hits the stores. For all fans of Russian Aviation and in general for all fans of fantastic engineered model kits this latest AMK product is a must-have!
Addendum January 9, 2016: We’re a bit puzzled about the missing cockpit instruments on the decal sheets. That’s sloppy, AMK! Hopefully they’ll get this sorted out with the upcoming version.