MiG-29UB Izdelye 9.51 Zoom set
To assist in training pilots to fly the MiG-29, the Mikoyan OKB developed a two seat trainer of the aircraft. In order to minimize differences in the handling characteristics between the single seat and two seat aircraft, Mikoyan modified the front fuselage by deleting the fire control radar and modified the nose to accommodate the second cockpit. The MiG-29UB retains much of the MiG-29A’s combat capabilities, including its impressive maneuverability, but its air-to-air weapons are limited to heat-seeking missiles and cannon fire. The MiG-29UB is operated by most air forces that fly the MiG-29.
This set it designed to be used on the MiG-29UB kit released by Trumpeter last year. As a Zoom set, it is printed in full color and provides parts to upgrade both front and rear cockpits and both ejection seats. The etch is beautifully printed and the detail is outstanding. However, based on the colors used for the cockpit side consoles, it looks like Eduard used a later build MiG-29UB as the side consoles and instrument panels are in a medium grey, not the bright blue-green color seen on many other Russian/Soviet aircraft. Unfortunately, the instructions do not include any painting references for the cockpit or other kit parts, so you must do your own matching. To my eye, the grey looked pretty close to the Testors Dark Ghost Grey (FS 36320) that I had just finished using on the for the upper fuselage of a F/A-18E I just finished, so I used this color as the base interior color.
The set is pretty comprehensive, there are 7 etch parts just for the instrument panel in the front seat. The set also includes some of the smallest etch parts I have used for a while as there is a piece for each control stick depicting all of the buttons and switches on the control stick.
The first major assembly are the two instrument panels. The instructions direct you to remove the raised or engraved details on both the front and rear instrument panels to prepare them for the photo-etch parts. I sanded down most of the surfaces as instructed, except for where the main instrument clusters go as these are represented be recessed dials on the kit parts, so I simply attached the black back-plate for each main instrument panel over the kit holes. Take your time in lining up the front plate of the instrument panel so that the instruments show through the open holes. I set the front of the panel over the back plate and once the instruments were lined up, I touched a little thin superglue to the edges of the panels to attach them to each other and to avoid accidently ending up with a blob of superglue in the middle of a dial. Part 31 in the rear cockpit appears to be a shroud around either the infrared tracker display screen or a CRT, so the top and right side need to be bent in to form the shield. However, since Eduard’s Zoom sets only have color printed on one side, once the bends are made, you will need to paint the outsides of the shroud black to match the rest of this panel. I found the fit of all the instrument panel etch parts to be outstanding.
Once you have assembled the instrument panels, the next step is modifying the two ejection seats by carving or sanding off the molded on seat harnesses, the hinge points for the arm rests and the molded portions of what appears to be leg restraints, as all of these are to be replaced with etched parts. Be sure to check your references as to the colors of the K-36 ejection seat for the aircraft you are building. I painted mine Tamiya NATO Black and I used Tamiya Flat Black to pick out details and highlights and Testors Gloss Black for the seat cushion and the headrest. The etch set includes a full set of harnesses, the butterfly shaped ejection handle, the G-suit and oxygen connections, and again what appears to be leg restraints for each seat. The instructions are unclear what to do with part #2, the lap belts, as just indicates that you need to fold these and install them. If you simply fold the belts at the break, you will end up with an unpainted side facing up. In reality you either need to twist the shorter part of the belt 180 degrees before folding so that the painted side ends up facing up, or cut the belt at the break, flip the short belt over and glue it on top of the longer section. I opted for the second approach as it allowed me to square off the ends of each belt and then match them up. I recommend only putting glue where the two belts match up at the squared off end, not at the ends with the buckles as these belts eventually get bent down over the front of the seats and I discovered that the ones where I glued the entire length of the top belt were much more difficult to bend down over the front of the seat.
One issue I had with the seats was with the parts that I believe are the leg restraints. You are instructed to bend the two ends 90 degrees to the center of the part and then attach them to the front of the seat. Again, as only one side of the etch is painted, once the parts are bent, you will need to paint unpainted sides of the two ends otherwise they will show. I also recommend bending the long sides beyond 90 degrees as they need to clear the control stick when the seats are installed.
Take your time with the upper harnesses and let the superglue dry for a while (maybe overnight) once you have attached the top and bottoms of the harnesses to the seats in order to ensure they are bonded tightly to the seat before you attempt to fold or manipulate the harness to make them look like they are draped over the seat not standing at attention. I did not do this and as a result it took me over an hour to get the harnesses installed as each time I went to bend or shape them, one end or the other of the harness detached from the seat.
The last step is the installation of the new cockpit consoles. Eduard’s design is very ingenious as they have included not only the side consoles, but also the cockpit sidewalls as a single etched part for each side of the two cockpits. The first step is to remove the red marked areas from the kit cockpit tub. I recommend removing a little more than they show for the right hand consoles as there is an interesting bend at the front of each of these consoles. I also recommend attaching the cockpit tub to the kit bottom fuselage before installing any of the new side panels as the sidewalls need to be bent so as to fit inside and match the contours of the upper fuselage, or you will not be able to attach the bottom fuselage to the upper fuselage. So you will be doing a lot of test fitting of the top and bottom fuselage halves while installing the console parts.
There are very visible dashed lines in each console part showing where that part is to be bent. When you get the bend correct, use superglue to attach the etched console to the cockpit tub, making sure that the inside edge is flush with the tub. If they are not and the etch hangs over into the cockpit hole, the ejection seats will not fit – trust me, it is no fun when this happens! Again, let the superglue cure really hard before fiddling with the side consoles as the actual gluing surface for each side console is pretty narrow.
While this set requires some preplanning and taking your time to let the superglue set in some of the steps, once everything is installed and in the kit, as shown in the photographs, the results are stunning! The set really makes the cockpit come alive. Highly recommended!
Thank you to Eduard for the review sample and to IMPS-USA for letting me review it.