Whatever Wednesday: Smokey Bandit
Meet the Amercom 1:100 scale model of MiG-29N M43-06, one of the Royal Malaysian Air Force's Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrums.
I got this some years ago when you could still pick up the Amercom fighter aircraft series in bookstores here. Well, you get what you pay for, but that's not to say that it's bad. Far from it.
As previously mentioned, this is a model of tail M43-06, of the Royal Malaysian Air Force's No. 17 Squadron, based in Kuantan.
For something that cost RM 30 new (complete with magazine), it's pretty hard to knock. However, there are some glaring issues like the main landing gear legs, the pitot tube and some of the weapon pylons, which are bent in rather eccentric manners.
This model depicts M43-06 in a standard air superiority loadout, with a mix of R-27 (AA-10 Alamo), R-73 (AA-10 Archer) and R-60 (AA-8 Aphid) air-to-air missiles, as well as a single centerline fuel tank.
The MiG-29N is a customized version of the basic MiG-29A built for Malaysia. The most notable changes from the MiG-29A (first production version that saw service with the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact and their successor states) are an improved radar with beyond visual range capability, provisions for inflight refueling (this model is of M43-06 before receiving that modification) to help with the MiG-29's notoriously poor range and communications equipment compatible with the rest of the RMAF's Western-made equipment.
The RMAF's MiG-29N fleet has been effectively retired since 2016 due to maintenance issues, something that the Su-30MKM fleet has suffered from as well. Its manufacturer Mikoyan has had similar fortunes, with export customers widely preferring rival manufacturer Sukhoi's Su-30 and Su-35 to Mikoyan's MiG-29 upgrade packages or the MiG-35, which is a more extensively updated MiG-29. Perhaps as a measure to keep Mikoyan afloat, the Russian government has offered to buy back the MiG-29Ns in exchange for MiG-35s. I have covered this offer and its potential ramifications at length for Overt Defense.