"Oh *blank* there's 2 of 'em!"

1/72 Italeri F-5F 

by *Shasper* Bud Sliger



MiG/Vepr OKB MiG-28S/MiG-28UB *FishHook*   

The MiG-28 was a joint venture between Mikoyan & the Vepr OKB, the Soviet Union's premeir naval aircraft bueroe. Intended to be a dedicated naval version of the MiG-26 (F-5A/B), the MiG-28 was produced from reverse-engineering a pair of American F-5's (an E and a F), aquired from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975. The prototype first flew in 1979, and serial production began in 1981 at the Vepr OKB plant in central Kazakhstan. When NATO learned of the MiG's existence, it was allocated the codename "FishHook".  While the Soviet Navy wasn't really impressed with the MiG-28 (preferring the more advanced MiG-29K), it was a success among the eastern bloc nations, with Poland among the major operators of the type. One of the first non-eastern bloc nations to order the MiG-28 en mass was the Socialist Republic of Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka), which received 84 aircraft along with the ex- Soviet carrier Rodina (Renamed the Red Ceylon). These were delivered in a overall flat black paint scheme in 1984.
During 1986 tensions between the Ceylonese and US were high, brief skirmishes between the Ceylonese naval air arm and aircraft from the USS Enterprise were reminiscent of what happened above the Gulf of Sidra, with the US air patrols being bounced by pairs of Ceylonese MiGs. These events led up to a confrontation in August of that year in which 6 Ceylonese MiGs attacked a F-14 BARCAP that was providing air cover for a naval rescue operation. During the ensuing dogfight 4 MiGs were shot down, with only one F-14 lost.

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This 'MiG-28' pair and the story are based on the movie Top*Gun, specifically by the opening scenes where 'Maverick' and 'Cougar' run into a pair of hostile *MiG's* over the Indian Ocean.

The single seat 'MiG-28' is the Testors 1/72 #272 F-5E Adversary kit, which included the markings used in the movie. I robbed a pair of AIM-9's from Italeri's 1/72 US/NATO weapons set, since the kit AAMs looked unrealistic. I decided to simulate the 'peeling paint' after looking at the opening scenes  from the movie and finding pictures in Dave Parsons book 'Bandits! Pictorial History of American Adversarial Aircraft' and DT&S' Color and Markings no.6: USN Adversary aircraft.

Italeri's 1/72 F-5F kit was the basis for the 'MiG-28UB'. I had to correct the gun layout on the nose (the F model only has one 20mm cannon, something Italeri missed when they did the mold.), and add a pair of Sidewinders from Italeri's 1/72 weapons set. I ended up doing some improvements to the RIO's cockpit by adding a radar display, control stick and a 'Towel rack' hand hold above the dashboard. Another F-5E Adversary kit donated the markings.

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(Thanks goes to *Super* Tom Choy for editing the pictures and *GrayGhost* Gregg for the "real" MiG-28 pic.)

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Photos and text by *Shasper* Bud Sliger