On the Bench: Trumpeter 1/32 MiG-3 “Obnazhennyy”



For most people, summertime conjures up visions of sun and surf, of late days, sweltering heat, kickass movies, fireworks and cookouts.

It conjures those visions for me, too. But it also conjurs visions of spiders.

For some reason, my bench becomes the equivalent of a small town Dairy Queen for an unending parade of tiny spiders that get all over everything.

I’ve grudgingly come to not completely hate spiders, because they’re such ruthless dispatchers of basically all other bugs (see: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”). But these little assholes don’t do that. They just flutter down from the shop light, or wherever the hell they come from, and get into my business. Last summer, I had to put my HK B-25 away for a few months because I left it on the bench overnight and the little douche canoes built a maze of spider webs in the bomb bay so thick it looked like a bad Indiana Jones set.

That’s a long way of saying that, in the summer, I’m forced to pursue more self-contained projects that can easily be tucked inside a drawer or carried inside for the night. Projects without massive openings for dillhole spiders to throw parties in.

So as much as I want to bust out an Academy Hornet, or my Trumpeter Lightning or something else huge and awesome, I’ve decided to keep it small(ish) with Trumpy’s 1/32 MiG-3. I had plans to build this as a recce version, until a fellow modeller got my gears turning by suggesting I build it unpainted to show off the wood-and-metal construction.

“Obnazhennyy” means “uncovered” or “unpainted” in Russian, or so Google tells me…

Mig-3 Profile Mig-3 top

Of course, this quickly became WAY more complicated than a simple metal-and-wood finish. Because wood construction is way more complicated than just screwing a plywood sheet over some spars and stringers. The MiG-3 was covered with thin strips of birch plywood, laid diagonally, then covered at cross angles with more plywood, then back to the original angle, etc.

Aviation-grade basket-weaving, basically.

If you kind of unfocus your eyes, you can see it in the wing skin of this MiG-3 undergoing restoration.

And I get to try to recreate it!

Obviously, there’s going to be a MASSIVE degree of artistic license going into this project, because the final product will ultimately represent a thing that never existed. It would be like a car with everything put in it…engine, seats, floorboard carpeting, you name it…left unpainted. It does not happen. Which…thank god…because evidence isn’t exactly all over the place for the MiG-3.

So how am I going to pull this off? With a combination. The bare metal will either be Alclad or Gunze Mr. Metal (which I need to test), or may in fact be a combination. The wood will be Tamiya and Gunze paints overlaid with Uschi Van Der Rosten woodgrain decals. If you haven’t seen them in action, you need to check out James H’s Natter build on LSM…the wood looks phenomenal!

Aftermarket will be fairly light this time out. An Aires pit and Quickboost exhausts.

Stay tuned for the fun!

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