Archive for January, 2016

MiG-31BM; pt.8

Ain’t it interesting how quickly the plans can change? I was planning to paint the big MiG by now and look what I did instead – build the landing gear struts and wheels.


Wheels come in two parts (+ 2 wheel rims) – this is of course nice, as you don’t have to worry about painting the rims, but on the other hand it means that the tires won’t have any thread detail. I wasn’t really keen on scribing those, as I don’t have proper tools, but I’ve decided to create optical illusion instead. Wheels were first painted in Flat Black. Then I cut Tamiya masking tape into really thin strips and applied it to the tires. Don’t worry about slightly messy job – you will soon see why.


Masked wheels were then sprayed with Tire Black, followed by some Grey on the top of tires.


Unmasked result – not bad, but a little bit too much of contrast for my taste.


Solution? Using fine grit sanding stick, remove the upper grey paint until it’s barely visible. The result – a well worn tire with hints of tire threads.


Before and after.


Landing gear struts are very nice, but they come in two halves and the resulting seams are tricky to clean up. As I finally managed to remedy that, various wires were attached to the struts, using 0.1mm and 0.3mm lead wire. Struts were painted in Lt. Ghost Grey and details picked out with different metallic and grey shades. A mix of Black and Brown wash followed.


Cleaning the excess wash and sealing it with Semi-matt coat, the wash brought out the shadows on all edges (and there are many!) and added a bit of grime at some places.


Tires were further weathered with dark brown pigments on the vertical sides, while rims got washed and stained with black pigments. Everything was then sealed with Alclad Flat coat.


MiG-31BM; pt.7

Hello everyone! Just 6 day after the last post, I bring you a new update. A bunch of little things were accomplished in the mean time and hopefully the step-by-step guide on painting the exhausts will be of help to somebody.


Exhaust cans were first given a coat of Alclad White Aluminum – any other basic Aluminum shade would do.


The parts were then covered by misting of Alclad Exhaust Manifold.


With paint dried, I randomley sanded the cans with fine grit sanding sticks, revealing the Aluminum paint below it.


This was followed by Alclad Pale Burnt Metal, which gives sort of a golden tint to them.


And again, lightly misted with Exhaust Manifold – what we have achieved is random, subtle scruffy looking paintjob of brownish-golden colour as seen on MiG-31 photos.


Exhausts dryfitted to the fuselage – they will be further weathered with oil colours for streaking effects.


BM version is equipped with in-flight refuelling probe, located on the left side of the cockpit. In front of the fairing, there’s a small triangular window, housing the reflector light for night aerial refuellings. I have painted the area in Flat Black and inserted a small “jewel” – half-spherical clear plastic part for jewelry making and decorations, I once found in one of the art-stores and thought once might come in helpful.  


MiG-31’s Weapons System Operator (WSO) has the ability to darken his workspace in the form of curtains. There’s a set on the canopy, which I’ll build later, and the set on the side windows in front of his instrument panel. Using a thin steel wire, I first created the bows that hold and guide the upwards closing curtains.



Curtains themselves were built out of kitchen aluminum foil, cut to the shape of side windows, then folded down, as seen in reference photos.



They were later painted in Flat Black and drybrushed with Grey to accenuate the highlights.


Using thinned Tamiya Clear Yellow I’ve sprayed the inner sides of the clear parts in hope to achieve the tinted effect seen on photos. The effect at the moment is exagarated as the corners and edges seem to intensify the effect.


And last but not least. the overall view of the build so far. Just a few details and some masking to do and I’ll see you next time in the paintbooth!

MiG-31BM; pt.6

I’ve already shown you photos of the finished cockpit. However, since I finished it first, I’ve come to realization that some things aren’t exactly as I’ve depicted them, so it was time to fix them. One of them was the color of the cockpit floor – reference shots I used, showed it dark grey but only later I’ve discovered, they were of a simulator pit, while true cockpits have an overall turquoise cockpit.


I’ve decided I am gonna replace kit’s ejection seats for K-36s from NeOmega; I will discuss my decision a little later. Seats were first sprayed in an off black color and the details picked out with different shades of grey. Ejection seats are PE parts from the kit. They are quite thick, but after annealing them (heating the brass over the flame), the material became soft enough for easy bending into a desired shape. Also of notice is the color of seat padding. While most K-36s produced had black fake-leather upholstery, the new version of this famous seat, has green padding. It is believed that Blue bort number MiG-31BMs, which were delivered first, still retain the leather seats, while the Red bort numbers, have this new design.


When the paint dried, I put a couple of acrylic gloss coats on the seats and when it cured, I’ve put a dark oil color wash over. Letting it dry a bit, I wiped the excess, which resulted in nice defined edges of the seat belts and other details and subtle shadows in the corners.



The seats were finished with a flat coat, followed by drybrushing a dark grey paint to highlight raised details.


As I got the kit, I was quite convinced, this will be a great build without the need for any aftermarket parts. And most of the time it is indeed. Yeah, the lack of seatbelts on the PE fret was a little disappointing but nothing I couldn’t manage. So I’ve decided to test build one of the included seats. I immediately noticed something odd with the seat – the dimensions just didn’t seem right – either the sitting part was too short, or the entire seat was too wide. When I received my NeOmega replacements, I was shocked by the size difference – the latter being much shorter and narrower. So I’ve dug through my stash and found a resin seat from HPM PAK-FA and an F/A-18 seat just for the size comparison. Here are the dimensional results.

Kit seat – width 11.9mm, height (backrest w/o headrest) 16.7mm
NeOmega – width 10.2mm, height 15.2mm HPM – width 10.3mm, height 15.6mm
SJU seat – width 10.5mm, height 15.5mm

As you can see, all the three other seat dimensions are in the same ballpark, while the kit one is considerably larger. I suspect this leads to other mistakes as well – namely the depth and width of the cockpit. Either that, or all other kit manufacturers before AMK got it wrong 🙂



Two low-angle shots of the cockpit showing the side consoles.





…and a few shots showing the dryfitted cockpit before putting it into the fuselage.


Nice addition to this kit are nose weights – no more calculating the required weight to avoid a tail sitter. MiG31-79.jpg

And last but not least, I’ve scratchbuilt another tiny detail – map holders and the maps. I know, it’s not a lot, but a nice addition to the cockpit nevertheless.

MiG-31BM; pt.5

Hello everyone! I hope you have all survived the NY celebrations and that the return to daily routine was as smooth as possible. It has been for me, and I’ve managed to finish a big piece of plastic at the same time as well.


Upper part of the fuselage with wings – as you can see, AMK cleverly engineered these parts with support structure to ensure the proper thickness of the wings.


Same thing goes for the lower part of the wing.


There are several optional configurations possible with the kit. One is the position of tailplanes – either neutral or dropped. Unfortunately, AMK designed them in a way, the leading edge drops. In reality, it is the exact opposite and you will only see this tailplane configuration when the pilot pulls the stick back.


But fear not, you’ve got two options to correct things. One is to leave them neutral. There are many photos that show rows of parked ‘Foxhounds’ with level tailplanes. The other is, to turn the parts around. Use the T-shaped part C10 for the right side and C14 for the left side. Cut a few milimeters of plastic on the top and bottom, to fit the part into the curved spot and glue.


And the result is a correctly dropped tailplane – trailing edge down.




The main part of the fuselage with wings is complete. Puttying was minimal as expected and more or less just filling of some seams, that appeared a bit too wide for my taste. It is also interesting, that of all the kits that I’ve built so far, AMK’s plastic is the only one, that reacts to the glue I use (Deluxe Materials Plastic Magic), by turning it white. The surface is not damaged by it, but these photos show more mess than there actually is.



Lower view – again the fit was exemplary. Slight feeling of little gaps on the wing to fuselage joins and other little areas, which was done in a matter of minutes. There are however, pin marks on the inner sides of the ventral fins that need to be filled (note the white circle).