As I already did, I tried to take the full benefit of some hours of train commuting time! My modelling time is still very limited but this research activity gives me the feeling I can use the very rare hours in front of my bench in a more effective way!
As usually, feel free to comment, update or correct as here, with that plane, I clearly went out of my comfort zone!
F-5 fighter MiG-17F TWEAK LIST
TYPE: Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-17F/ F-5 (early FRESCO C)
KIT Number: 02205 (also released in 2001 by Hobbycraft as kit HC 1692 MIG-17F “Vietnam/Mid East”)
MOLD CREATION DATE: 1999
TWEAKS LIST VERSION 1.0 (publication date: February 2018)
Compiled by Thierry Laurent
The following list is intended to help modelers in improving scale accuracy of an airplane model replica. In no way is it intended to support or be offensive towards a scale model company.
As such, it is only the result of a progressive process and is in no way intended to be absolute or even comprehensive. Hence, it is intended to focus on commonly admitted discrepancies and will probably not cover some errors. It is up to the modeler to decide whether correcting the listed issues is worth the time and money he will have to invest in the quest for accuracy process.
No aftermarket correction or detail set is mentioned in this document as the availability of such items may be very variable. Hence, refer to other LSP sections to find relevant information. Moreover, aftermarket sets do not necessarily correct all listed issues. Please refer accordingly to relevant documentation.
- GENERAL REVIEW
- The kit molding is acceptable but not crisp. Some areas need to be carefully sanded as the plastic surface is not homogeneously smooth. Fit is just acceptable but there are flash here and there and some parts have slight dimension issues. Last, unfortunately, there are a lot of ejection pin marks, some being located in tricky to clean areas.
- The kit has engraved panel lines and rivets. However, some of the panels are clearly incorrect (this is quite obvious on the wings and tail) and others are missing. Moreover, the rivet lines are more figurative than accurate.
- The kit has mixed features of the early and late Fresco A and C. As such it is not possible to build one accurate version out of the box. Essentially, the kit has the airbrakes of the Fresco C but the engine of the Fresco A. Indeed, if a full engine is included, it is the VK-1 of the MiG-15, not the longer VK-1F type with afterburner used on the MiG-17F.
- If shapes and dimensions are generally correct, the windshield and rudder are clearly misshapen. Details are generally far too simplified for such a large-scale kit. This is probably due to the fact the kit is a modified enlarged copy of the Tamiya 1/48th MiG-15.
2. FUSELAGE (from front to rear)
- The nose intakes should be totally smooth. So, it is required to fill and sand the recessed ejector marks in the fuselage halves up to the cockpit area. It is also recommended to remove the two side tabs of the nose ring (part 40) and fill the corresponding recesses in each fuselage end.
- Possibly replace the light in the intake splitter section (part 36) with a clear resin light or replace the lamp with a section of clear sprue, use foil to cover the reflector and add a punched clear disk before adding part 5.
- The two small depressions in the part C36 were actually holes intended to secure a tow cable. They are not correctly located (a little bit too close to the top). Fill them and according to the case, either drill new ones or scribe two small circles to simulate the disks that close the holes on some planes. Add also the circular access hatch on the starboard side of the part (close to the abovementioned towing hole).
- Do not forget adding ballast weight (e.g. in the rear of part 36) to avoid the tail sitter syndrome.
- The two tabs linking the splitter section (part 36) with the fuselage halves are located too close to the nose end. Moving them would not be easy as this would ask for extending the rear of the splitter part. So, here is the proposed mitigating solution: remove the oval locators on the fuselage halves, sand the tabs cross section to get a thinner airfoil profile with a front edge and extend them a little bit to be long enough to glue the ends on the fuselage sides. This will noticeably improve the look.
- If you build a Soviet or Eastern European production MiG, add the missing small square access hatch on the nose ring port side. The J-5 had such a door on both sides of the nose.
- If you built a “standard” Russian-made MiG-17F, add the missing SRD-1M radar rangefinder antenna between the nose intake and windshield (on the plane axis). This may be easily simulated with a plastic strip. Note that antenna was only present on Soviet-built MiG-17s. Typically, planes that had this antenna lacked the SRO-1 Bariy-M IFF transponder dorsal blade antenna (that is too thick in the kit). Fresco C using that system also got a similar antenna aft of the front wheel well port door. In any case, check closely the combination of antennas on the plane you want to reproduce as there were variations.
- A small thin rod was protruding out of the fuselage close to the port front corner of the windscreen to indicate that the landing gear was down. Add a thin metal rod section in a drilled hole to simulate it.
- Check if the plane you want to reproduce had the pitot tube on the starboard side of the nose, close to the windscreen front edge. The kit does not give such a part.
- The three guns (C42, C43 and C44) are not correctly shaped and the muzzle brake of the N-37 gun is lacking the double baffle characteristic muzzle feature of that gun. Use aftermarket parts to correct this. Last, each gun fairing should have a lip around it. This feature is missing. The plane also had thicker blast panels to protect the nose from gun fire. This asks for correcting the panel lines under the nose.
- The three guns ammo shell ejection ports should be drilled under the nose. Note the gun blisters are not correctly shaped and they should have hard edges on their surface.
- Drill the hole located over the rear port gun blister. It was intended to use the tool for dropping down the guns nacelle.
- The upper fuselage antennas such as the RSI-6K mast need to be thinned. Early Fresco C had a wire antenna linking the top of the tail to a small mast located close to the radio antenna. This is not included in the kit.
- The air pressure probe tube should be added on the fuselage spine.
- The fuselage break line is not correctly located. It is far too close to the tail. The vertical panel line located between the cut and the canopy is the actual location of the fuselage separation line. So, glue the front and rear fuselage halves together, sand and polish the seam to remove that fantasy line.
- It is not possible to show the engine without moving forward the separation line and rebuilding completely the engine exhaust. The early Fresco A had the same tubular exhaust that the VK1 engine used on the MiG-15. However, the Fresco C had a differently shaped exhaust with a conical section ended with afterburner nozzle petals. Last, the engine is very simplified. So, unless if you really want to show the engine, it is better to glue the more important parts within the fuselage (C6 and C10 have no structural function and can move in your spare part box) and close everything.
- The airbrakes are far too simplified and the shapes are not fully accurate. Close them or be prepared to some serious work to correct this. The airbrakes parts 16 & 18 internal side should be far more detailed and the activating arm should be thicker. Moreover, the airbrake bay should be shorter at its rear end. Last, it should not have a bottom wall as actually it was the engine exhaust external surface that closed the airbrake internal side.
- Remove the MiG-15 tail bumper parts molded on the fuselage parts and add the missing tail keel. Scratchbuild the part or use one of the various available aftermarket options.
- Tail rudder chord is far too small (more than 2mm at the bottom). Either use an aftermarket tail of correct the parts.
- The shape of the tail between the rudder and the exhaust is not fully accurate. The kit has angled section whereas the transition between them is more rounded on the full-scale airframe. Adding plastic strips and sanding them will restore the profile to get a more accurate result.
- The EKSR-46 flare launcher oval panel should be added on the tail starboard side, under the stabilizer.
- The reinforcement sheet that join the top and the bottom part of the rudder is not correctly depicted. The position light and, if required, the Syrena system are also missing on the tail extension trailing edge located between the two rudder parts.
- The elevator moving surfaces have a too thick trailing edge, are too short and the mass balance (similar to the rudder one) is missing on each side, inboard of the tip. Moreover, the hinge issue is the same than the one of the wing ailerons. The port elevator had a trim tab. The actuator was covered by an aerodynamic fairing that should be added under the stab. Last, the two stabilators were not identical: the rectangular panel should only be present under the port one. Fill the other one located on the upper side of the starboard one.
- Various panels are missing on the plane underside axis. This is more noticeable between the wing trailing edge level and the keel where there should be radio-compass and marker beacon panels.
- The kit has not exhaust afterburner nozzle. Scratchbuild it or rely on a photoetched set.
- The chord of the wings looks too short (more or less 2mm). however, this is not really noticeable and the amount of work to correct that would probably not be worthwhile.
- The trailing edge of the wings requires some sanding to get a sharper edge. The situation is even worse for the ailerons (far too thick edge).
- Wings control surfaces separate parts (ailerons) may be depicted opened. However, the flaps are retracted.
- Wing fences are far too thick. Sand them seriously or replace them with plastic strips or photoetched parts.
- The aft end of the wing root fairing is too thick. It should be sanded to get a thinner edge.
- The wing pitot tubes are too thick. Replace them with scratchbuilt or aftermarket ones.
- The T-shaped RW -2 Kristal antennas are globally correct. The central section should be hollowed and the ends sanded and drilled. However, they have a correct round profile that photoetched replacement parts do not have.
- The large LFSV-45 wing light is missing under the port wing. Add it between the landing gear door and the wing leading edge, close to the wing root.
- The kit has just two PTB 400 drop tanks. Their details are quite thick. The two strips molded on the surface should be sanded and replaced by thinner ones intended to reproduce weld lines. Note it is not possible to locate the tanks correctly under the wings as such. The axis of the tank should be located close to the middle wing fence (precisely 1mm outboard). So, fill the holes and add new fixtures: the D4-50 bomb hanging mechanism used for securing the drop tank should be reproduced. Last, note the rear sway brace molded on the tank is too short to position it horizontally with a correct stance.
- There should be a large panel close to the external fence on the middle of the chord of the starboard wing surface.
- The two aileron hinges (parts 6-9-15-20) should be cut from the parts and added in the wings to fill the slots in as the plane used internal hinges.
- The port aileron had a trim tab. The actuator was covered by a large aerodynamic fairing that should be added under the wing.
- An anti-flutter weight and its base should be added under each wing, close to the tip.
- The wing tips are a little bit too rounded. Moreover, the recessed wing tip lights should be added.
- The tub and side consoles have too soft and inaccurate details. Actually, all cockpit areas need to be corrected, rebuilt or detailed: area behind the windscreen, gunsight, front IP, side consoles, oxygen system, floor, rudder pedals, seat, canopy sills and rear bulkhead area. The area under the canopy is also far too simplified. Using an aftermarket resin pit is really a time-saving solution in such a case.
- The use of the clear part 7 is a total mystery. This does not correspond to any existing part on the full-scale airframe and had no structural function.
- The part 1 windscreen shapes are horrendous. The armored glass should go close to the top side of the part whereas the kit part has a kind of bridge linking the oval glass top with the windscreen top end. Either replace the windscreen with an aftermarket one (a MiG-15 one is relevant) or correct the kit part. To correct the kit part, remove the armored glass, sand the remaining windscreen front edge, add a new armored windscreen, then sand and polish to get a smooth result. Note that is you want to use a vacformed correction part, it is recommended to retrieve the armored glass from the useless, longer PF part. Glue it with Kleer inside the vac part to simulate the armored glass thickness. For that option, adding a thick plastic strip on the rear edge is also required. Last, scratchbuild or add aftermarket windscreen defrosting tubes.
- The canopy has better shapes but is not really acceptable either. The cross-shapes reinforcing strips molded on the part are far too large and the rear section of the clear part is too short. Moreover, the shape of the canopy edge (part A14 in grey plastic) is not fully correct either. Solving that is far from easy. This either ask for sanding all details from the clear part and modifying the base to get something better, for scratchbuilding a new canopy or to use an aftermarket MiG-15 one in spite of the fact the 17 one was less rounded. Moreover, a lot of small components should be added inside: the pierced reinforcing plate, the angled armored glass, the defrosting system, the knob to open the canopy, the side locking levers, etc.
- Check if the plane you want to reproduce had the external mirror on the canopy as the kit has none whereas this was a standard Fresco C feature. If this was indeed the case, scratchbuild it out of plastic.
- The doors of the front and main landing gears are far too thick, have too large hinges, blunt details and are marred by ejector marks. So, replacing them or at least sanding them and filling all holes is required.
- The plastic main gear legs are globally correct but simplified. A lot of small features are missing on them (the welded steel rectangles used to secure the plane on the ground with chains or cables being the most obvious missing feature). Moreover, brake hoses and different hydraulic lines as well as the links with the doors are missing on the landing gear legs. Note the Russian and Eastern European Fresco C had two brake lines whereas the Chinese J-5 copy only used one.
- Various details are also missing on the front LG leg, the most obvious one being the small landing light (white or green) on the front. Adding some bolts and nuts would also noticeably improve the look.
- The wheel rims do not look like the full-scale ones and the kit only gives rubber tires. Replacing the wheels with aftermarket ones is a cheap time-saving solution. However, check closely which type of rim was used on the plane you want to reproduce as there were spoked or plain nose rim variants.
- The main wheel wells are far too shallow and have too basic details. Actually, the wells walls were located under the wing surface whereas they are protruding on the kit. The structural reinforcement ribs molded on the well ceiling are wrong as they correspond to a MiG-15 type, not a MiG-17 one. Moreover, some holes should also be drilled in the fuselage sides of the wells. So, there is no way to add the missing structural details, ribs, fuel lines pipes, hoses and hydraulic plumbing without rebuilding a larger wing well.
- The design of the front LG well is weird as the belly plate A2, the splitter part C36 and the ring nose C40 must be combined to get the full well. Unfortunately, this results in a lot of seams to fill in difficult to reach areas. This is quite unfortunate as the full-scale front LG bay is made of flat sections. Structural reinforcement strips are missing and the cavity in which the front wheel is retracting is missing. Correcting and improving details is not easy. Check references to replace molded hydraulic lines and add the other missing items.
- The kit has a nice access ladder.
- The kit has many leftover parts. This includes the nose and windshield parts to build the radar-equipped PF Fresco D variant. However, the shape of the nose is totally off as the PF nose top was straighter from the windshield up to the radar end and the radar dome should be larger. The other nose is the one of the two-seater Chinese J5 version.
- The kit has no flaps. Adding them ask for the use of an aftermarket set or heavy scratchbuilding.
- The kit does not have the Syrena-2 radar homing and warning system button-shaped antennas that were visible on some planes. Generally, they were used on Russian and some Warpac planes but not exported to other countries. They were located in front of the main wheel well, on the tail rear edge, on the rear wing tip and on the wing leading edge close to the external fence.
- The pilot figure is under scaled.
- The Trumpeter kit has just decals for one Chinese PLAAF plane. The Hobbycraft re-edition has far more options (Vietnam, Syria, Angola & Burkina Faso).
- The kit has no option to build a fighter-bomber or a reconnaissance plane. Such versions used intensively by countries such as Poland, East Germany or Egypt ask for the addition of fuselage/wing pylons or camera fairings.
The following sources were used to build this list.
- Stapfer, Hans-Heiri, MiG-17 Fresco, Walkaround n°46, Squadron Signal Publications, 2007.
Scale plans and TM extracts:
- Karnas, Dariusz, Mikoyan Gurevitch MiG-17 and Polish versions, MMP books, 2015.
- Н.В.Якубович, ИСТРЕБИТЕАЬ МиГ-17, МОДЕЛИСТ-КОНСТРУКТОР, 2007.
Colour pictures photofiles:
- Osinski, Albert, MiG-17F/Lim-5, Top Shots, Kagero, 2005.
Other used books:
- Anderton, Mikoyan Gurevitch MiG-17, Aerofax, Midland Publishing, 2002.
- Domanski, Jerzy, Samolot Mysliwski MiG-17, n°41, Wydawn. Min. Obrony Nar., 1976.
- Gordon, Yefim, Kommisarov, Dmitriy, Mikoyan MiG-17, Famous Russian Aircraft, Hikoki, 2016.
- Stapfer, Hans-Heiri, MiG-17 Fresco, In Action n°125, Squadron Signal Publications, 1992.
- Slatton, Bill, The MiG-17 (Fresco), Series III, n°1, Detail & Scale, 1979.
- Some magazines articles and web walkarounds.