Our Muse, that will guide us through these times of political darkness

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Avis 1/72 Mig-8 Utka

 This is the review/building article, for the completed model please go here:

If Mig is a recognizable name in the aviation world, this particular plane, the Utka (duck in Russian) may be not so. Designed along the lines of the canard (again, duck, this time in French) lines of so-(wrongly)-called  tail-first, it joins the multiple planes built by a number of manufacturers using that formula.
I was surprised of finding this plane as a kit, and I am happy Avis, the manufacturer that released it, decided to present this attractive and unusual civil aviation design.
Congratulation Avis on releasing an appealing and unusual civil subject.
At approximately the same time, a resin kit appeared in the market. This other resin kit by Jet & Prop seems to be nice and very refined, but, alas, as usual, with a much bigger tag price.
This resin kit presents a different solution for the transparent parts, presenting the whole area as a clear part, a much better approach than the one taken by this injected kit by Avis, which only has individual panes that are rather thick and not absolutely clear.
The Avis kit though has some degree of detail overall, however it gives a general impression of heaviness (short run technology). The surface detail is fair, and it has interior details too, if again not particularly refined.
No decals are provided, nor photoetched parts or masks. You are on your own to create painting masks for the design, which has a certain degree of complexity.
Some flash and mold lines are present on the parts and all require cleanup. The engine/prop pack is designed to allow the prop to freely rotate.
The price of this kit is very convenient, and you get a nice replica of an unusual plane, so for me it seems not a bad deal overall.
The kit represents one of the many iterations this design went through, so study your photos and references.
It is likely that this one may have a propensity towards tail-sitting, so I think it would be wise to load some weight inside the nose, just in case.
My thanks to Mr. Psarras of Parabailarlabamba, and Deimos and Phobos, his dogs, for facilitating the acquisition of this lil' kit.

 The parts are separated from the sprues. The sprue gates are somewhat intrusive and prominent, so a not small amount of cleaning and refining is needed. As you can see there is a nice number of parts, covering some detail. The seating for five (one pilot two benches for 4 passengers) is most likely inaccurate, since sources state that only two passengers were carried, in staggered seats on each side:
Once the parts were cleaned up of mold seams and a few rough spots, it was evident that due to the short-run nature of this kit the fit was vague, to say the least. Much scrapping and sanding is needed to make the wing upper and lower parts fit without a step, and the trailing edges need to be thinned as well. The parts are a tad chunky and thick, but all this just requires a bit of the ole modeling magic (and patience and no little sanding and dry-fitting):
The transparencies, although not bad,  present -when looked closely- a pitted surface that impairs clarity. I may replace the flat panes:
One of the most likely inaccurate benches is halved to make two individual seats as per all references I have. Metal armrests are added, and the floor seat pedestals trimmed to reflect the changes:
 The door outline is carved from the solid fuselage side and one is made from sheet:
 The kit DOES NOT provide the necessary anhedral (negative dihedral) for the wing -the kit wing is straight horizontally-, so that has to be "bent-in". Much sanding is needed for the lower halves to fit correctly:
 Even when I barely touched the contact surface of the fuselage side to true them, with a mere swipe of the sanding stick, the fuselage width is noticeably smaller than the width of the windshield! good that I checked. A thin strip was added to reach the necessary width. If you don't do this your clear windshield will protrude to the sides:
A weight is added to the nose to prevent tail-sitting. The aft bulkhead is glued in place. "In place" is just an expression, since the instructions provide a vague reference and the part seems not fit conveniently anyway. The wheel pants are seen here, an inelegant design solution that usually complicates painting. The fit is also vague and has to be worked out. Sigh...:
 The wing will need some putting to hide the wingtip gaps created by the particular method of achieving a good mold without sinkholes, reminiscent of old kits where the aileron was part of one half and the other cut around it:
Interior already in place:
 I decided to replace the bigger windows with tailored acrylic pieces:
 The instrument panel can be seen from these angle. The kit also provides rudder pedals and joystick. It is also evident how the pax seats should really be -the kit's are inaccurate-:
The fuselage halves are glued together and ancillary parts added:

 As you probably noticed looking at the photos above, I decided not to enclose the engine in the aft compartment. I discarded the kit's engine which is not bad, but not exceptional either, for cast cylinders made by friend and modeller extraordinaire Matias Hagen. These much better cylinders will be added later on after the model is painted:

 Dry-fit of the main components followed. ALL joints require some degree of adjustment:
Watch out because the vertical stabilizers are sided, not only up-down but also left-right. Once checked (and again sanded to fit) the vertical stabilizers are glued to the wing, so it is easier to deal with the joints without the fuselage interference:
The rudders' counterweights are molded integrally, and are just a tad coarse. You may like to replace them. For that you should cut them off, drill a small hole, insert and bend a wire, and add some white glue to its tip to simulate the weight teardrop shape:

Since we are talking about the wing, pay attention to the fact that the ailerons run all the way through the wing tip as indicated in the instructions' drawings. The box illustration and the kit parts themselves are vague in this regard. You may have to reinforce, as I had, that line on the wing tip (that is to say, it was not an inset aileron at the tip, it run all the way).

Styrene discs are punched out and applied to the interior of the cylinders locating holes, to provide a  base for them:
 All mayor components glued in place and surface ready now for the application of primer:

Photos show some kind of short skirt/shield for the cylinders not present in the kit, so they were added:
Primer is applied:
Color is airbrushed. A piece of decal paper is also painted, in case canopy frames, access panels, etc., needed to be done:
The propeller twin red stripes were made cutting very thin red decals leftovers. It would have been great if the manufacturer would have provided them:
 The very convoluted masking process in place. You have to make drawings of patterns, transfer them to making paper, align them...a real nightmare:
 Again, the manufacturer should have provided masks, very common now in kits, or at least patterns. You will spend a lot of time making up for this manufacturer shortcoming:
 All is more or less done, even prop and pants. Still some touch ups here and there will be necessary:

To be continued...


  1. Where did you find the oversize pencil, Claudio? I think I had one like that in kindergarten! We rested the end on our shoulders.

    Very nice model. Always reminds me of the Gee Bee canard.

    1. Dearest John: I brought that giant pencil from Argentina in my last visit. They are claiming they want to increase the size of their exports.
      I reckon I got pencil for at least 17 generations.
      It also doubles as lance, flag pole, mast and gym weight.