Armour Collection B11E201 North Vietnamese Air Force Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 17F "Fresco C" Fighter - Colonel Toon (1:48 Scale)
"My God, we simply have to figure a way out of this situation. There's no point in talking about 'winning' a nuclear war."
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower
The prototype of the MiG-17 was a conversion of an older MiG-15 airframe. This prototype had a thinner wing that incorporated a mid-span bend in the leading edge. The prototype also had a longer fuselage and a larger vertical fin than the older MiG-15. In August 1951, with its test program completed, the aircraft was ordered into mass production and designated the MiG-17 (called the "Fresco" by NATO). The first MiG-17F (known as the "Fresco C") rolled off production lines in the spring of 1953. Not surprisingly, the MiG-17F was the most widely produced variant of the MiG-17. The main difference between the MiG-17 Fresco A and the later MiG-17F was the power plant. The MiG-17F used the more powerful VK-1 F after-burning turbojet which provided a substantial increase in power for takeoff and combat maneuvering over the older Fresco A model (the "F" in MiG-17F stands for Forsirovannyy, meaning "boosted").
Although it did not see combat in Korea, the MiG-17 saw extensive action in the Arab-Israeli Wars and in a wide variety of other Third World conflicts. In 1958, Communist Chinese produced MiG-17Fs (designated the F-5) destroyed two Republic F-84G Thunderjets and six North American F-86A Sabres flown by Nationalist Chinese pilots. However, the MiG-17F's most visible role came during the Vietnam War. The MiG-17 proved the continued worth of automatic cannons in an era of advanced air-to-air missiles. The North Vietnamese Air Force's leading ace and MiG-17 pilot, Col. Toon, was credited with destroying 13 American aircraft before being shot down in 1972 by a US Navy F-4J Phantom II. American flight crews repeatedly stated they feared the North Vietnam's elderly MiG-17s far more than the newer, faster and missile armed MiG-21 Fishbeds.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of Colonel Toon's MiG-17F "Fresco-C" fighter. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 9.5 inches
Length: 9.5 inches
Historical Account: "Tombstones" - Nguyen Toon or "Colonel Toon" or "Tomb" was the mythical North Vietnamese fighter pilot and flying ace who allegedly shot down 13 American aircraft during the Vietnam War. According to legend, he was killed in action on May 10th, 1972, by the U.S. Navy F-4 Phantom crew of pilot Lt. Randy "Duke" Cunningham and radar operator Lt.(jg) William "Irish" Driscoll.
Toon/Tomb's name arose during the latter part of the war, being known to U.S. Navy (if not Air Force) aviators.
Photos of North Vietnamese MiG-17s and MiG-21s bearing numerous red victory stars occasionally were identified as his aircraft, but the most basic aspects of Toon/Tomb's life and career were never published, nor was his photo ever released. Apart from those mysterious facts, ethnologists have noted that neither Toon nor Tomb is a Vietnamese name. (One U.S. Air Force sergeant said, "I'm the only Tomb I know, and I'm Irish!")
It is more likely that something similar to Toon or Tomb was a radio callsign, and a corrupted version of the story got out. Much of the information the U.S. obtained about the North Vietnamese air force came from "SigInt" or signals intelligence, monitoring enemy radio transmissions.
In the years after the war, American military officers visiting Vietnam have intimated that some of their hosts admitted that Toon/Tomb was a long-standing, successful fabrication.