Pilot & Markings
120th IAP (Independent Aviation Regiment), March 1942
Model Builder: Jeff Smith
Scale & Kit
1/48 Scale Trumpeter Model
Manufactured by Mikoyan-Gurevich, the MiG-3 was a World War II Soviet fighter plane designed to operate as a high-altitude interceptor. The MiG-3 was based on the MiG-1, but was designed to address the MiG-1‘s many inadequacies. Design work on the MiG-1 started in 1939 in response to the Soviet‘s perceived need for a high-altitude interceptor. Due to the strategic value and scarcity of aluminum, the MiG-1 was designed to be constructed from steel and wood. It proved to be very fast, but had a short range and poor handling characteristics. Its fuselage proved to be too short which caused undesirable pitch stability. The MiG-1 was retired in 1943 after only 100 production units were manufactured.
To improve the center of gravity and provide better pitch control, the MiG-3 was designed with a longer nose and an engine situated further forward. Armor was added to protect the pilot, an additional fuel tank was added to improve range and wing dihedral was increased. Even with these improvements, the MiG-3 proved inferior to its primary foe, the German Bf 109. Furthering the mismatch was the fact that the MiG-3 was designed for high altitude combat, but most WW2 conflicts over the Eastern Front were at low altitude. However, it is interesting to note, that in spite of the its weaknesses, the second highest Soviet ace, Aleksandr Pokryshkin, got most of his 59 kills in a MiG-3.
This model is based on the famous black and white vintage photo shown above. The photo was taken during an official ceremony on March 7th, 1942 when the 120th IAP was awarded the Guards Banner. After which, the regiment was renamed the 12th GIAP. The actual aircraft was a combination of “early” and “late” MiG-3 versions. As such, some modifications were made to the kit to accurately replicate the actual aircraft. The model has Model Master enamel paints and the markings are from Hungarian Aero Decals.