Kit: No. 2803
Manufacturer: Trumpeter (China), distributed by Stevens International, P.O. Box 126, Magnolia, NJ 08049, 856-435-1555
Comments: Injection-molded, 162 parts (1 film instrument panel), decals
Pros: Excellent surface detail, good cockpit and landing gear, welcome subject
Cons: Some fit problems, vague color recommendations, no seat harness
The MiG-19 was the first Soviet fighter capable of supersonic speed in level flight. The prototype first flew in September 1953, and full-scale production began in 1955. Flown by the air forces of more than 20 nations, production may have exceeded 10,000.
The sprues of Trumpeter's new MiG-19S kit come individually bagged in a heavy-duty cardboard box. All panel lines are recessed, and the well-molded cockpit has raised detail. A film instrument panel adds a realistic touch. The decals provide markings for Soviet, East German, and North Vietnamese Farmers.
The parts breakdown is straightforward with the exception of a separate vertical stabilizer and inserts for the central speed brake and nose cannon. All the control surfaces are molded separately, including the flaps. However, the MiG-19 has Fowler-style flaps that roll back and down, so Trumpeter's simple hinged rendition is not correct. The speed brakes can be displayed opened or closed.
The cockpit is an improvement over the Su-15 kit I reviewed in the November issue. The only thing needed would be a harness for the ejection seat. The color recommendations are vague, just stating the cockpit should be green. You can open the canopy to show off the great cockpit. The landing gear struts and wheels are nicely done, and the wheel wells have nice molded detail. Although the gear doors are a little thick, they have good attachment lugs that secure them to the model.
Building the MiG-19 went smoothly. After closing the fuselage halves, I tried dry-fitting the double-barrel afterburner section; it wouldn't fit! I had to pry the rear fuselage open to fit them in. You should attach it to one fuselage half, then glue the halves together. The lower nose inserts (A-25 and D-22) were the only assemblies that needed filler to hide the seams.
Some of the fuselage scoops and fairings are small and were a challenge to clean up without losing them forever in my rug. I left some of the detail parts off until later to avoid breakage.
I'm glad Trumpeter molded the MiG-19's distinctive wing fences as separate, thin parts. The front corners of the wing roots have to be cut out to accommodate the separate cannons. The wing-to-fuselage fit is very good.
Depending on the version you build (MiG-19 or Chinese F-6), you have to modify the top nose section (A-26). That requires care to make the fit right. The attachment pins for the horizontal stabilizers are supposed to allow positioning, but they are too small for the holes in the fuselage and simply fall out. You must pick a position and glue them in.
I painted the MiG using Floquil old silver, accenting some panels with slightly lighter and darker tints. I applied a sludge wash to the recessed detail to make it look weather-worn. The decals were fine, though a bit shiny, and they didn't respond to Micro Sol. The decal location instructions show only the left side of each marking choice and don't show where the stencils go.
An illustration on the box shows an East German aircraft painted blue over gold with red-and-white stripes, but no decals are included for the stripes.
Putting on the small parts finished the model. The main gear retraction struts are a bit too small and don't fit right.
The finished MiG-19 looks great and measures to scale. I worked about 20 hours on it, most of that cleaning up the seams for the natural metal finish. Trumpeter did an outstanding job on this kit's surface detail, and I hope that's a sign of things to come.