First of all, I’d like to say that the MiG is an aircraft really close to my heart. It is probably one of my favorite Russian aircraft of the Cold War. The MiG 17 was the successor to the MiG 15 of Korean War fame. It has a very similar body structure and is still used by various Air Forces to this day.
The MiG was used most famously by the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War. While it was not the most powerful or most dangerous aircraft, it was a really bad day for you if you got into a dogfight with it.
It has various variants that include a fighter-bomber version, a radar equipped interceptor, and trainers. It has been used by Air Forces including China, Sri Lanka, Poland, Pakistan, North Vietnam, Albania, East Germany, Mongolia, and the Soviet Union. It has been modified by various Air Forces to carry different weapons systems.
Bear Studios has made a number of MiG 17 variants and paint jobs for this package, and also included various weapons you can fire. For this review I will review the FSX version.
Installation and Documentation
Installation is straight forward. All you have to do is follow the instructions on the screen and it will do it correctly. I should also note here that the aircraft is not DX10 compatible. This is unacceptable for current payware.
The documentation is adequate. The only real problem I have with the documentation is that the grammar is horrible. It is apparent that the English in the manual is broken. This isn’t just capitalization but also the way the words flow. Incomplete sentences make some things harder to read. One glaring example is how they call the ejection seats “Eject Seats”.
There are plenty of variants of the MiG to fly in this pack. Overall they are well done, but are held back by some very annoying glitches. These glitches include graphical, sound, and flight model glitches. The aircraft models are very high in poly count to the point where you can expose the engine and have the tail section on a cart.
I found one big personal beef with the aircraft in that it required you to edit the airfile in order for you to modify the load out. If this was freeware I could understand that, but since it's payware, that’s unacceptable in my opinion.
The variants in this package include the trainer model, the FT-5; the various single seat Fresco models including the LiM-5P Fresco D, LiM-6Bis Fresco C, the Fresco A; the Chinese built versions; and even the radar equipped PFU version among others. While it doesn’t include every variant, there are enough to keep you busy for a while.
The skins are all incredibly well detailed, and include those of various aces. The aircraft skins depict various countries including North Vietnam, China, Poland, and the Soviet Union. This package also includes a paint kit for those of you who feel inclined to make your own skins.
The model is very well done and has some very nice features to add the sense of realism everywhere. One nice thing is that the engine itself is modeled and you can use the wing fold key (Shift+Y by default according to the manual, even though I had to manually set it) to expose the engine.
One glitch I found was that the canopy takes forever to close, even though the closing sound plays and the message says that it’s closed. It also models all the various extra surfaces on the aircraft. Finally, I found an isolated incident where my ejection seat was following my aircraft even though I had ejected quite a distance from my now falling aircraft.
The 3D panel is a work of art. The panel is nice and in high resolution. The only issue with the textures I found, is that the seat could be of a higher resolution because it is a bit blurry and appears as a low resolution compared to the rest of the cockpit. There are some flaws here though.
First, when I am on the ground motionless and parked and I move the stick, it appears as if my aircraft has become a low-rider since my view in the 3D cockpit appears to jostle my head because of g-forces. Another flaw was that I could see the engine flame from the exhaust through the seat while looking back. Furthermore, some of the switches have poor descriptions of what they do.
Most of the switches are modeled in 3D, if it were all of them it would be perfect, but since it’s just some of them it’s nice to see after all my years playing Falcon 4.0 and wishing the switches were in 3D because I had a hard time telling if something was active by looking at the switch but I would like to wish that they were ALL 3D. I noticed a few of the switches in the 3D cockpit appear to not move when clicked, which is an annoyance, but I’m sure can be fixed in a patch.
The radar is really nice. It allows you to simulate locking up an AI target aircraft up to 7 NM away. Also while I am on the subject of the combat systems, you are able to turn the gun sight on and off and modify the firing solution, allowing for an even greater challenge in simulating combat.
Sadly, I noticed that when using TrackIR, I was able to move out of the canopy by moving my head too far; this should have been avoided by limiting the amount the TrackIR can move in the cockpit. Another problem I found was with the mirror, which I wish would have been functional rather than just a single static texture. One more problem is that it seems as if the flares don’t work. I armed the flares, and when I push the button, nothing happens.
The 2D panel is there, and is good for people who need to conserve frame rates using less polys, or for those who just prefer the 2D cockpit. I personally prefer the 3D cockpit, because of the higher level of immersion (and because I use TrackIR).
One reason I can see using the 2D cockpit is just to get familiar with the positioning of everything as the layout is pretty much the same between the 2D and 3D cockpits, just a different angle and perspective.
tooltips are very well done, except for a few which fail to describe
what position the switch is in. Also, a problem with the
fuel tank selector in both the 2D and 3D cockpits
to "all" as being selected, but you can’t
manually return it to that selection.
The sounds in the MiG are great. There are a few glitches here and there, but they are great otherwise. The main glitch I found was that the canopy plays the sound quickly when you close it, but it actually takes about 10-60 seconds to close when it should close in 5-10 seconds while playing the sound.
The aircraft handles like a dream. It has various flight features modeled, including redundant backups for your control surfaces in event of a failure. So you can still extend your landing gear within 15 seconds of turning on the backups. The one big issue I have, is that you can control the aircraft after you have ejected, which is impossible in real life without it being an RC aircraft or a drone.
The models are well detailed. They have a nice high poly count. This includes such things as being able to expose the engine and having a high ly detailed Virtual Cockpit. The effects include things such as turning on your smoke system and having it show smoke trailing from your fuselage. The biggest flaw in the effects are apparent in a few of the variants. As you are flying your MiG, it constantly trails flares. Another issue I found was that the engine fire has the effect a little below the engine.
Summary / Closing Remarks
All in all, the Bear Studios MiG 17 would be a very good aircraft if they would have fixed more of the bugs and had better documentation. It has plenty of variants and skins, and lets you fire the weapons and they show that you have fired them by their disappearing from your pylons.
If you love the MiG 17, and can’t live without it, then pick this one up. But if you can live without it, wait for a service pack or a patch.
What I Like About The Bear Studios MiG-17
What I Don't Like About The Bear Studios MiG-17
Tell A Friend About this Review!
All Rights Reserved