As some of you may have noticed, I’m addicted to MiG-29 Fulcrum. After making a few planes, I decided it’s time to make something connected with air forces of my country and MiG-29 was easy choice.
History of Polish MiGs has a beginning in 1985. First talks with soviets took place between 23-26 October 1985 while planes were ordered in 1987- 9 Migs-29 version 9-12A and 3 Migs-29UB version 9-51A. 12 Polish pilots took part in training organized by soviets in 1989 and although it was rather fast and very demanding course, 6 of them were granted with instructors rights. First batch was delivered in July-August 1989 (planes #65, #66, #67, #70 and UB #15,#42 and #64) and second was delivered in October 1990 (planes #105,#108,#111,#114,#115). All planes were directed to serve in 1.PLM squadron from Mińsk Mazowiecki. First years were very difficult-all new pilots were trained by their more experienced colleagues without any help from Soviet Union, but after all on 13th January 1992, Polish MiGs for the first time started their watch in Polish air defense system. In July 1993, 1.PLM started long lasting cooperation with French 2eme EC squadron from Dijon (which were using Mirage 2000). It was first contact of our Fulcrums with NATO. In 1995 Poland got another 10 MiGs in exchange with Czech Republic for 11 PZL W-3 “Sokół” helicopters. This batch consisted of nine 9-12A planes (#38,#40,#54,#56,#59,#77,#83,#89 and #92) and one UB (#28). All of them were incorporated into 1.PLM. In 1996 for the first time, Polish MiGs took part in NATO training-“Cooperative Chance 96”. In 1997 our Fulcrums presented themselves during Royal International Air Tatoo in Faifford and trained with NATO forces during “Cooperating Banners 97”.Another, but much more secret presentation abroad took place in April/May 1997, when during 2 weeks period, 3 Polish MiGs (#105,#114,#115) were examined by Jewish pilots on Negev desert. Also in 1997, Poland organized its first NATO training- “Eagle Talon 97”. During next two years Poland and its air forces was preparing for being NATO member by extensive training during numerous exercises. In 1998 instructors from NATO’s Operational Procedures Harmonization Team gave a lecture about NATO’s tactics. On 19.O4.1999 Poland became part of NATO organization. Between 24th and 27th of May, Poland organized big NATO training “Ocelot 99”. In 2000, Polish pilots were training with instructors from Tactical Leadership Programme, to get NATO’s Combat Ready status. In 2001 1.PLM was reformed into 1.elt. As such, in 2001 1.elt took part in three big exercises: “Chopin 2001”, “Odax 2001” and “Sentry White Eagle”. Another big event was NATO Air Meet 2001, where 4 Polish pilots were rewarded for their abilities and professionalism.
During next 5 years Polish Fulcrums trained around the Europe and in 2006 Polish pilots got their first mission-for three months they were protecting airspace of Lithuania ,Latvia and Estonia in an operation called “Orlik”. After this mission, commander of 1.elt ppłk.dypl.pil.Robert Cierniak got an Estonian medal:Distinguished Service Cross of EDF. In January of 2002, an agreement between Germany and Poland was reached. In effect, 22 German MiGs were delivered to Polish Air Force, for 1 euro per plane (God, I wish I got one for me). First planes came to Poland on 26.09.2003, last ones came on 04.08.2004. German Fulcrums, due to some changes made in Germany, were quite different from those used in 1.elt, so they were headed to another squadron-41.elt from Malbork. Not all of delivered planes qualified for service-some of them were used as spare parts magazines or donated to museums and army schools. (Qualified planes:#4116, #4111, #4118, #4101, #4113, #4103, #4104, #4120, #4121, #4122 and UBs #4110, #4115, #4105, #4123). Since beginnings of 2006 this unit is being used in air defence and took part in numerous NATO trainings. Today our MiGs are serving in Polish Air Force with F-16s, as most important parts of our air defence. Unfortunately, after 22 years of intensive service, they’re still waiting for an upgrade. Between 1997 and 2005 big overhaul was conducted, all aircraft were re equipped to allow them safe operating in NATO air space and got new, individual camos , but no bigger modernizations took place. Right now there are about 30-32 Fulcrums in service(not sure of the exact number) and it seems that at least 16 of them will be used until 2029, so our pilots can only hope that they will see their beloved planes modernized soon.
#111 was delivered in first batch from Soviet Union on 02.10.1990. It has been used in 1.elt from the beginning. On 04.06.2003 an overhaul in WZL-2 was finished and it got new camo, which can be seen until today (With small change in 2006). It’s one of three Polish Fulcrums to carry individual pilot’s marks-a black dragon and “Zugi” label can be seen under cockpit. This aircraft was used during “Orlik” mission what can also be seen on aircraft’s tail. Unfortunately those two markings were added after “Orlik” mission, so they can’t be seen on my model.
This model represents #111 during “Orlik” mission on Lithuania. I have made a Fulcrum before-MiG-29K but this is totally different model although the shape is similar. It’s 1:58 scale, with movable flaps, working landing gear, air brake etc. All presented panels for ground personnel are placed as in real plane.On some photos you can see covers used during maintenance.