With the release of a fantastic 1:48 kit of the mighty MiG-31BM/BSM ‘Foxhound’, it was only a question of time, when will the Russian decal manufacturer Begemot produce some nice marking options, to the three, already offered in the kit. It was a short wait indeed, as the new decal sheet hit the stores less than a month after the kit release.
Decals come in a Begemot standard package – A4 zip lock bag, with several black&white A4 sheets of instructions and two larger (225x160mm) and one smaller (160x110mm) sheets. Decals appear to be finely printed and in register. Print of the decals is flat while the carrier film is glossy and appears to be really thin.
Instructions give you option, to build 15 different aiframes, ranging from early BM prototype (592 Blue) up to the current operational airframes. Separate instructions are give for stencil application. Color callouts are given in FS numbers but I would exercise caution when using those – for example instructions suggest you should paint APU-73 and APU-170 missile pylons in aluminum, while they are dark grey on most aircraft (170s can also be white). I recommend checking references before painting.
Where Begemot sheet really excels, is the number of option it gives you. I have already mentioned 15 options – those are just the printed ones. Actually, you can build almost any MiG-31BM/BSM ever build – you are given the big Bort numbers in 2 different shades of Blue and one in Red, three different styles of Russian stars (with and without the Blue edge) and you receive 3 different kinds of numbers for the RF- registrations as well as 3 different versions of VVS ROSSII signs. You also get a number of Guard’s badges and Hero of Soviet Union medal decals along with the names of different Soviet HSU decorated pilots that adorn some of the MiGs. Combining all these options, the options are almost countless – I suggest using aviation photo portals like russianplanes.net airfighters.net or airliners.net for choosing your preferred choice and check for references.
There are also some omissions, that would make this sheet even better. Some of the ‘Foxhounds’ carry the bort number in white on top of the port rudder – decals for those are not provided – same goes also for nose wheel doors. Also Perm based MiG-31s have different style of markings on the intakes, which are not included on this sheet as are not several nose arts, found on photos.
Comparison with AMK decals.
Just a quick glance at the stencil placement instructions will show you, that there are a lot more of them on Begemot sheets. While AMK’s stencils don’t look bad at all, Begemot has gone one step further and made them even thinner, which should look even better as the final result.
Bort numbers are slightly narrower on the Begemot sheet (7mm vs 8.3mm without white border) than AMK ones.
Begemot Red stars have an off white color and slightly paler red color compared to a pure white borders and deep red stars. Checking the reference photos, both variants can be correct, depending on which airframe you decide to build.
Savalskeya Air base flag with crest – neither company has nailed the colors, but I believe printing costs are the main reason. While the Russian flag colors are better with Begemot, Blue on Russian Air Force flag is better with AMK. Yellow is a little too light on both sheets. The crest of the Airbase looks much better on the AMK decal. In fact, it seems like Begemot’s decal was narrowed during processing – it is way too narrow as a whole, the crest in the middle looks oval and there’s a jagged edge on the bottom of decal. If you will be building one of the Savalskeya birds, use AMK decal instead.
Red circular markings on the inner side of the vertical fins – there is a BIG difference in size of decals for those – Begemots are 17mm in diameter while AMK’s decal measures 23mm. Compared to the reference photos, I believe AMK’s dimension is more accurate.
Despite some minor nitpicks, Begemot decals, with a little help from the AMK ones, will enable the modellers to build a vast pallete of improved Foxhounds, besides the often seen Red 34s, Blue 93s and Akthubinsk’s Red 25s.
You can get your decals from Begemot official site or use any of the listed stores, on their official page – http://www.begemotdecals.ru/
Special thanks to Andrey Kotkov of Begemot decals for sending me the review sample.