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Trumpeter MiG-31B/BM "Foxhound"

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/72 scale plastic model aircraft kit
Designed to replace the MiG-25, the MiG-31 supersonic interceptor can reach speeds of more than 1,800 mph. Further developments in avionics and weapons are found in the B and multirole BM versions.

Trumpeter’s beautiful new-tool Foxhound comes in a large box packed to the brim with 16 gray plastic sprues; the parts feature fine recessed and raised surface detail and no flash. The crystal-clear canopies are bagged separately and protectively wrapped in foam. Stores include drop tanks and R-33, R-40T, R-40R, R-77, and R-73E missiles.

Two decal sheets provide markings for two aircraft with a choice of numbers; stencils for the airframe and weapons are included.

The ejection seats feature molded harnesses, but the soft details are difficult to paint. On the other hand, side consoles and instrument panels have crisply molded dials and controls that can be enhanced with decals. Three different instrument panels are provided for both the front and rear positions, but the instructions are vague about which one to use for which version. 

The canopies are a little too big and will need work to pose them closed.

The landing gear and bays are extremely detailed straight from the box. All of the gear legs fit perfectly, but the main gear is complex and a bit fiddly; study the instructions carefully and you should have no problems.

The kit provides full intake trunks comprising four parts each, with another four parts for each intake ramp. Rather than follow the instructions, I attached the ramps after the fuselage was assembled to ensure proper alignment.

I had trouble mating the fuselage with the wing assembly because the lower fuselage was slightly warped. I pushed the sides into place with a stick inserted though the rear opening for the exhausts, then clamped the fuselage once everything clicked into place. A little filler smoothed seams.

Adding gear doors, air brakes, pitot tubes, scoops, and antennas finished the fuselage. The kit omitted the large antenna on the spine aft of the cockpit, so I made one from sheet styrene.

Be prepared to spend a couple of sessions applying the stencil decals — there are a ton of them. Unfortunately, the printing isn’t super crisp, and most of the stencils aren’t much more than a string of black dots. So you’ll have to decide if they’re worth the effort. The decals perform flawlessly, however, settling with aid from Microscale Micro Sol.

The finished model’s shape and dimensions look accurate, detail is excellent, and fit overall is quite good.  With more than 320 parts, this kit is probably best recommended to modelers with some experience. But the reward is an impressive replica of Russia’s front-line interceptor.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2017 issue.
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