(from the Specialty Press website)
Designed as a mass-produced and relatively cheap light tactical fighter, the MiG-29 first flew on October 6, 1977. After extensive flight testing, it entered production in 1982 and deliveries to the Soviet Air Force began in 1983. In addition to its main counter-air role, the aircraft had a useful air-to-ground capability, carrying free-fall bombs and unguided rockets. From the outset the MiG-29 had been steadily developed beyond the fourth generation with changes to the airframe, avionics and weapons systems and new variants were produced in the early 2000s.
The MiG-29 known as the Fulcrum in the west, became both one of the Soviet Air Force's main fighter types and a successful Soviet export with nearly a third of the 1,500 first-generation Fulcrums built up to 1996 being exported. It saw service with 25 nations around the globe. Apart from the (former) Warsaw Pact nations, notable customers include India, Malaysia, Iraq, Yemen, Eritrea, Cuba and Peru.
This revised and expanded edition of the definitive history of the aircraft charts in detail the MiG-29's evolution from the earliest design studies to the latest multi-role versions. It includes an enormous amount of new information, a listing of known operators and production lists together with a magnificent collection of previously unpublished photos.
This is a big book, really big: 8 1/2" wide, 11" high, 2" thick, 688 pages and it weighs about 7 1/2 pounds. The pages are filled with color and black-and white images, line drawings, text and charts. This should be considered as the ultimate reference for the MiG-29 family. Great image of a MiG-35 on the front cover.
The book was much too large to get good images on our scanner, so I took pictures of the open book to capture the variety of images and information contained within the covers. Hopefully these images will do justice for this publication.
Here is a breakdown of the contents (since this publication is so large, and includes hundreds of pages with text and images I essentially skimmed the work to complete this review in a timely fashion. Please forgive me if I have overlooked specific details or information. As time permits later every page will be thoroughly read and absorbed. The following is merely a brief overview of the contents.):
- Taking shape (34 pages)
- Here the general operational requirement for the aircraft are developed, various design models created, wind tunnel testing undertaken, weapons proposed, the design bureau and test pilots are introduced.
- Learning to fly (24 pages)
- The prototype aircraft, single- and two-seaters, take to the air, and weapon systems are tested. Back to the wind tunnel, but this time with full-size aircraft.
- Into production: 'First Generation' Fulcrums (76 pages)
- Many in-flight images of the MiG-29, along with cockpit images, weapons loadout, plan and profile line drawings. Really cool images of digital camouflage. Great information for the scale modeler.
- Fulcrum anatomy (43 pages)
- This is the chapter dedicated to the various details that modelers look for. This chapter by itself if worth the price of admission.
- A step towards a new generation (28 pages)
- This chapter covers the Mikoyan OKB planning and addressing upgrades to the MiG-29 structure, avionic, weapons and powerplants. This was done while the initial design was still in the testing process. Lots of images of weapons loadouts, cockpits and airframe modifications.
- Pushing for the Navy (52 pages)
- MiGs with folding wings and tail hooks! Several images of MiG-29 on the aircraft carrier flight deck as well as launching from the ski ramp. This chapter includes the history of the development of Russian aircraft carriers and naval aircraft.
- MiG-29SMT: New wine into old flasks (54 pages)
- Here the MiG-29 already a high-performance combat aircraft with better manoeuverability, speed, rate of climb and service ceiling, but with a short combat radius is upgraded to better compete with Western Powers aircraft.
- Generation 4+++: On deck again (50 pages)
- Development of the MiG-29K single-seat and the MiG-29KUB two-seat versions is covered along with the development of aircraft for the Indian navy. Many images of MiG-29s on deck with and without folded wings, as well as taking off and landing on the carrier decks.
- Generation 4+++: The land-based versions (38 pages)
- Stunning images of very colorful demonstration aircraft are included. Two great pictures of a Russian pilot in a flight suit, both front and rear views. Lots of great detail and weapons loadout images.
- The MiG-35 is first addressed on page 373 with several in-flight images provided, along with cockpit and nose radar details, and a weapons options diagram. Not much coverage on this new MiG. Wikipedia notes that eight MiG-35's have been manufactured so far (6 test and 2 serial aircraft).
- In service (96 pages)
- Plenty of images of aircraft inflight and on the tarmac. Can a MiG wear a sharkmouth? Yes! And it does it well. Just amazing stuff here!
- Fulcrums far and wide (167 pages)
- Every nation that flies the MiG-29 is addressed here along with the numbers of aircraft purchased. Each page includes color images of the aircraft markings and camouflage colors. There are numerous color profiles included. Color examples of the various nations insignia are also shown.
- Appendix 1. MiG family specifications
- Every MiG-29 type built is listed here with all the specification noted. Impotant notes for the modeler is the weapons loadouts for each type.
- Appendix 2. Production list
- Here there are about 13 pages of the MiG-29 family production list noting the version, tactical code/serial number and manufacture date.
- Appendix 3. Accident attrition
- Especially sad when aircraft are destroyed is when the crews are killed or badly injured. Here nine pages of text and images offer information on MiG-29 losses through accidents, technical failures and crashes.
What an amazing reference! Plenty of images, both color and black-and-white, many closeups of the various details. There are several images of aircraft under construction with panels open and components not yet installed. The colors in some of the images struck me a slightly 'washed out", however all are worthwhile references for the aviation buff and the scale modeler. Plenty of informtion included regarding development history, weapons, design issues and resolutions, testing and failures (crashes). All around a great read.
I reviewed this publication through the eyes of a modeler and I was impressed. Overall this is a fantastic reference for the modeler. There are many images of weapons and loadouts, details of the aerial refueling probe, the speed brakes, landing gear, radar, the cockpits, canopy details, exhausts and many others. This is a lot of book for the money and offers the scale modeler a bounty of detail and information. Everything is there for the modeler to enhance his MiG-29 model. I know this will be a valuable tool for me. I just hope the wait for a model on the MiG-35 is not too far down the road.
This is very highly recommended.
My deepest thanks to Speciaty Press and to IPMS/USA for the wonderful opportunity to review this publication and to add it to my reference library.