This review will be a little bit different from a typical article seen on Aeroscale. It is preceded by four other in-box reviews of the kits and sets presented here. This time I will try to compare the final effects of using different technologies for making scale replicas by taking a closer look on selected parts/sections provided in Eduard kit, photo-etched set or casted from resin in the Brassin improvement sets. I seriously hope this will help you to make your own opinion on the best way of enhancing your scale models and getting the most fun out of it.
As you can guess from the topic I will take a look at the latest 1:48 scale MiG-21PFM plastic kit and a few improvement sets dedicated to this kit. All items are produced by Eduard. At the bottom of this article you can find the links to separate in-box reviews of all these items.
Let's start from taking a look at the enhancements for cockpit interior which you can find in ProfiPack kit and in the Brassin set. Pilot seatbelts are pre-painted colour etched parts which are the same in both sets, I do not notice any difference. Small difference in length can be noticed however in the ejection handle of the seat due to the different technology of making the seat. A real treat is the instrument panel. You can make it in at least five different ways: by applying the decals on plain panels, by painting plastic parts from the kit together with using decals, by using pre-coloured photo-etched parts, by using resin parts together with pre-painted PE with instrument dials, by using full-resin parts with decals or painting the resin dashboard and gauges by yourself. You can also make your own combination of techniques and technologies if you have any other aftermarket set, as for example Airscale decals with instrument dials for Soviet jets. Variety is so big that I find it difficult to make up my mind what to use in my build. This option really enables you to choose YOUR favourite technique which fits YOU the best. Shape of the dashboard between Brassin and ProfiPack version result from combination of other details made in each technology. These are not different versions of the cockpit equipment but different ways of building it. Another important detail which can't be omitted in this description is the pilot ejection seat. Although the plastic kit has to be assembled from a few parts and is really nicely detailed for the plastic technology, the Brassin seat is a real masterpiece of details and finesse. It simply outclasses the kit offering in every aspect.
A very good and promising combination of details can be found in the Brassin set. It is based on the best assets of making the PE details and resin casting. You can see it best on the cockpit side panels. Here you can also choose from many options: decals, painting plastic on your own, pre-painted metal parts or Brassin. Decals are the easiest way so I assume this technology is rather dedicated for younger modellers. Traditionalists may use just plastic parts and paint them on their own. More advanced model builders will most probably consider using the kit PE fret, which gives a good resolution and accuracy of print and much more three-dimensional look of all switches and fuses. Most advanced combination is Brassin which offers very three-dimensional equipment details enhanced with very delicate photo-etched parts for separate sections and control panels.
Another highly detailed section of the PFM is the engine exhaust nozzle. Brassin set offers complete “tube” from turbine to nozzle which is made from resin with a small addition of single PE part for the turbine assembly. Resin part already contain a lot of internal structure details visible through the nozzle from outside. Photo-etched set offers a number of improvements for weaknesses of injected plastic technology and is advised to be used with the kit parts. Of course the finesse and delicacy of details on either photo-etched or resin parts is much better than on original styrene parts. If you want a highly detailed kit you can squeeze a lot of juice from these two improvements.
Plane undercarriage can be improved by using just photo-etched parts which you can find in both ProfiPack kit and in separate dedicated PE set. Kit details are two parts for scissor mechanism and its attachments to the the legs. PE set contains details for landing gear brakes pipelines, some rims, offers complete assembly for main gear covers and front leg cover hinges. The brass details will for sure require much more practice and its assembly will be time consuming but in the end the effort will result in a good looking, three-dimensional and sharp covers in comparison to the plastic ones.
That's what I can briefly say about the details which can be found in few options however there are still some parts which are exclusive for particular sets. In the ProfiPack kit you can find the wing stabilizing fins. What is pretty obvious brass details are much thinner in comparison to the kit ones made in plastic. I always like to make this detail as thin as possible, similar to the original detail in real plane. If I can't use a replacement I try to thin down the plastic part. The kit offers you “shake&bake” solution. This detail is not present on the fret with other “exterior” details. ProfiPack kit PE offers also the trident antennas seen on top of the vertical fin and in front of the nose wheel as well as back mirrors attached to the windscreen frame.
The Brassin set with pilots office offers a nice solution for cockpit gasket for the movable parts. This gaskets are made as photo-etched parts attached to the windscreen, edges of the fuselage and movable canopy section. It will be easily visible with the open canopy so using it is reasonable if you make the open cockpit.
There are many of details exclusive only for photo-etched set. First of all there is large section for plane armament details like rails for rockets, exhaust of rocket engines and details of bomb fuses. Lot of the smallest details will have to be used inside wheel wells: pipes, wires, hinges, patches, inspection panels, frames and other antennas.
Together the MiG-21PFM kit and its improvements is a well thought-out product which can easily be fitted to the needs and requirements of all scale modellers, no matter what's their age or experience. Eduard will for sure release a “Weekend” boxing of this kit which will contain just plastic sprues and single painting scheme. This will be a perfect kit for the youngsters. Adults can have a lot of fun with ProfiPack which offers more detailed options and more parts to assemble but still on a very reasonable level of difficulty. Advanced modellers can use the whole variety of improvement sets and their perfect super detailed scale model. The number of details is so big that the leftovers from different options can be used for improving the next, but this time less detailed kit from the Weekend boxing or “Overtrees” series. There's a plenty of options to choose from so I hope that with this article I helped you somehow to make your decision. Whatever you will choose you won't be disappointed.
related reviews Eduard 1:48 MiG-21PFM Profipack kit review by Paul Cotcher
Brassin exhaust nozzle set for Eduard's MiG-21PFM review by Michał Sindera
Brassin interior set for Eduard's MiG-21PFM review by Michał Sindera
Photo etched set for Eduard's MiG-21PFM review by Michał Sindera
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