Hobby Master HA2401 North Korean Air Force Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-15bis "Fagot" Fighter - Russian Colonel Yevgeni Pepelyayev, 196th IAP, 324th IAD, Antung, China, 1952 (1:72 Scale)
"I hit this Sabre so hard that it disintegrated. Pieces of its right wing ripped away from the aircraft, and its vertical stabilizer also tore apart. The Sabre began to spin and plunged to the ground."
- Russian ace Colonel Yevgeni Pepelyayev
The spectacular MiG-15 fighter used a combination of Russian ingenuity and "borrowed" advanced European aviation technology to become one of the most famous aircraft designs of its era. Called the "aircraft-soldier" by Russian pilots, the aircraft was exceptionally strong and dependable. The MiG-15 is still respected for its speed, maneuverability and firepower; advantages that made it a worthy adversary of the North American F-86 during the Korean War.
The Mikoyan and Gurevich (MiG) design team utilized captured German technology when developing the layout of the MiG-15. The plane's 35 degree swept wing, fuselage mounted engine and clean lines gave the aircraft exceptional performance. Powered by a unlicensed copy of the famous British Nene centrifugal flow jet engine, the MiG-15 was capable of speeds up to Mach .934. The initial prototype, the I-310, made its first flight in December 1947 and won a fly-off against the Lavochkin La-15. The MiG-15 went into production and entered front line service in 1949.
Shortly after its introduction the MiG-15 entered combat over Korea. Flown by Russian, North Korean and Chinese pilots, the swept wing MiG fighter terrorized U.S.A.F. B-29 bombers flying strategic bombing missions over North Korean cities. The MiG-15's speed, maneuverability, and heavy armament (two 23mm and one 37mm cannon) allowed it brush aside escorting fighters and rip through the B-29 formations. B-29 losses to MiGs reached such high levels that the U.S.A.F. stopped daylight B-29 bombing raids and flew all strikes under the cover of darkness. Although several MiG-15s were brought down by B-29 gunners and other U.N. aircraft, only the North American F-86 Sabre was the MiG-15's equal in combat. The MiG's combat success and its dependability made the plane very popular with Eastern Bloc and Communist nations around the world. Since 1950 roughly 7,500 MiG-15s have been built in Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and China. In addition to the Korean War, the MiG-15 has been used extensively as an air defense fighter, an air superiority fighter, a ground attack aircraft and reconnaissance fighter in a number of conflicts in the Middle East and the Orient.(courtesy Cavanaugh Flight Museum).
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a Russian-built MiG 15 that was piloted by Russian ace Colonel Yevgeni Pepelyayev of the 196th IAP, 324th IAD during the Korean War.
Wingspan: 5.5 inches
Length: 6 inches
Release Date: January 2009
Historical Account: "MiG Alley" - From November 1951 until January 1952, both sides tried to achieve air superiority over the Yalu, or at least tried to deny it to the enemy, and in consequence the intensity of the aerial combats reached peaks not seen before. It was a good time for the aggressive fighter pilots, both Soviets and Americans, and Col. Yevgeni Pepelyayev was among them.
November 8th, 1951 was a particularly successful day for Pepelyayev, because he added two American aircraft to his tally.
At 12:10, Pepelyayev led 20 MiG-15s on a CAP mission over "MiG Alley", and about 30 minutes later at 7,000 meters (21,000 feet) over Pkhenvon he spotted four F-86s, apparently unaware of their presence. Without hesitation Pepelyayev jumped the American element wingman and opened fire with the 3 cannons of his MiG-15bis at 150-200 meters (450-600 feet).
According to Pepelyayev, “I hit this Sabre so hard that it disintegrated. Pieces of its right wing ripped away from the aircraft, and its vertical stabilizer also tore apart. The Sabre began to spin and plunged to the ground. One of my pilots screamed: 'Cool!' and I replied: 'Watch out, you bunch of idiots, and be careful you dont get surprised and shot down by the enemy!'
Afterwards, I got down from the cockpit thinking about showing the gun camera footage to the whole regiment for educational purposes; but the footage only showed an usine and a chimney instead of showing the Sabre.... It happened that I lent my aircraft to another pilot because no other MiG was available. This guy fell asleep in the cockpit during an alert wait and he accidentally laid on the conmutator. The result was that it consumed the whole film that I should have had available. Anyway I got full credit for this victory: the aircraft crashed and the debris was recovered a little bit later. The American pilot did not eject."