1/32 MiG-19 Farmer
By Rick Cotton
The MiG-19 is sometimes referred to as the "forgotten MiG". It never got the publicity of the Korean War '15 or the incredibly numerous '21, but it filled an important technological gap between those designs. I also just happen to like the looks of the Farmer, so when Trumpeter issued the E model in 1/32...just had to have one.
Trumpeter's Farmer E is, in most respects, an outstanding kit, at least as good, if not better,than the MiG-21 before it. Very good interior detail, nicely recessed panel lines, two VERY well detailed engines, missiles AND bombs (no doubt for the future Nanchang MiG-19-derived attack aircraft release),plus optional parts and decals to build a Chinese J-6. Extensive, tiny stencils and national markings are supplied for a Soviet, an East German, and a Chinese jet.
The cockpit is excellent, with a well-done seat. No buckles or belts are molded in, however, so I used a set of Model Technologies Soviet buckles and some masking tape for the belts. Acetate film instrument dials are provided, and they fit well into the panel assembly. The kit consoles are nicely done, and a wash and drybrushing really bring the detail out.
Trumpeter learned its lesson well from the modelers who didn't like the Fishbed's engines split into quarters for assembly. The Farmer's are in neat halves, and the seam is easy to clean up. In fact, with the added resin parts, the external piping, the interior fan details, and more, these may be the best out of box engines I've ever seen in a plastic model. I just wish I hadn't installed mine in the fuselage instead of displaying them on the outside. Leave at least one outside, they're both beautiful.
The fuselage is a very tight fit around the cockpit tub, but it does fit, after much dry-fitting and sanding. Be patient. Most of this kit, like other Trumpeter kits, has tiny bits of flash on many joining surfaces. Take your time, and clean them up before joining, and eliminate as much seam work as possible, especially if you plan a natural metal finish bird.
Trumpeter supplies separate flaps and ailerons, and a slab tailplane that can be repositioned with removal of one locator pin on each side. Take care with the flap assembly…note the instructions and test-fit well before gluing.
The landing gear are fairly well-detailed, with the mains molded in one sturdy piece. I detailed mine with thin copper wire brake lines. The kit comes with a choice of weighted or non-weighted tires, and excellent brake detail on the hubs, which are separate pieces. The wheel wells have good stringers and formers detail, but I added more plumbing to dress it up.
The remainder of the assembly process is pretty conventional, with no real surprises,so let us skip ahead to the part we all love best...painting. Natural metal finish? Yes, the vast majority of MiG-19s were NMF, but I just didn't feel like polishing until my arm fell off. I did a bit of research and discovered that the Cuban Air Force had about 30 or so Farmers in their inventory in the early '60s. These, along with the older 15s, 17s and the brand spanking new 21s they had just received were all natural metal, and showed up beautifully in US Air Force recon photos during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961. There they were in the published photos, glinting beautifully in the Caribbean sun. Perfect targets. The Cuban military, aghast at the clarity of the photos, ordered their fighters camouflaged from then on. The scheme shown was also used on a number of MiG-17s, one of which is pictured in the book "MiG Dynasty" (Motorbooks International). Enough history, turn on the air supply. I sprayed the entire masked, primed, filled, and sanded airframe with metalizer Aluminum Plate, buffed it, and let it dry completely. Not good enough to leave as is, but there is a method to my madness: I sprayed the camo scheme with Pollyscale Acrylics, gloss coated, decaled (the kit stencils are very good!), gloss coated again, did two washes with watercolor, and finally two coats of Testors Acrylic flat. I let the model dry for two days, then took some masking tape and proceeded to yank tiny bits and pieces of the color off of the aluminum underneath. I wanted a very well-used Farmer, and I think it came out all right.
A word here about some GOOD GUYS who helped me finish this project: Frank Heredia and Art Murray were kind enough to help me out with decals for this bird. My grateful thanks to them for their generosity. Also to Carlos Entenza, a good friend of mine whose family escaped from Cuba when he was a boy. Thanks for the info! If you see these fellows in the trade page, know that they are quality people.
In short, the Trumpeter MiG-19PM kit is excellent. Take your time, clean up joints and test fit, leave the engines outside for display, and you should have no problems creating an eyecatcher for your next show or contest. Now...where the heck is that 1/32 Thud!!!?????
© Rick Cotton
This article was published on Wednesday, July 20 2011; Last modified on Wednesday, May 15 2013