by: Mecenas [ ]
Title: "MiG-21UM "Tiger in the Polish Air Force”
Author: Marek Idzior
Series: Detail&Colour No.1
Publisher: Hussar Productions
Introduction Hussar Production have provided us a great reference book For all the modeller enthusiasts of the MiG-21 fighter. This may become one of the most often used book in the library. In one volume we are provided the reference and decals for the five machines in the two-seater UM version which were used in 3rd and 10th Tactical Squadrons of the Polish Air Force. The selected machines which are presented inside this volume are machines no. 9292, 9308, 9311, 9349 and 9351.
Content The story about the few Polish UM's begins with a brief description of MiG-21 development history and the origins of UM series and their delivery to Poland. The book is rather an album or pictorial story as there is much more to look at than to read. I think that the general idea is to present each machine on many good quality and large photographs presenting the camouflages and individual features of the planes.
The first photos reproduced in the book shows different UM's (for example no.3046, 5710, 5016, 6507, 7507) in the most popular “silver” finish style in different situations like maintenance, landing, in flight or shortly before scraping. These photos nicely shows the “fading” and wide palette of the aluminium colours often seen on a single plane. This section takes twelve pages. The next six pages presents plane no.9311 which got the unusual “grey” camouflage but not yet in the “Tiger”style, however it is still interesting enough to be presented in this volume. This plane also gives us the taste of the further content. At first the author provides the pictures of the described plane which are followed by the colour four-side view drawings of the particular machine (there is no scale for these profiles but it is somewhere around 1:72). The plane no.9311 is illustrated on just a few photos while the “tigers” are shown on over a dozen shots taken in many circumstances and situations. Although the core of the book is about the colourful tiger camouflages the planes are also shown in their original all-silver finishes before repainting in the new style. Machine no.9349 is presented in two styles camo – three-tone and four-tones, as it was repainted in the meantime. Next to the planes the author also provides the unit badges, personal emblems or individual drawings spotted on the described planes.
Beside the presentation of the planes the book also contains a colour instruction supported by a Handy table for correct placing of the Polish stencils, which are provided on the decal sheet attached to be book. Camouflage colours proper for the planes are provided only as a reference to the Federal Standard palette. You will have to match the model paint not only to the FS code but also to the colour the decals are as some of the emblems (tiger heads) fluently pass into the camo on the whole machine – especially yellow for 9292,9308 and 9351 but also grey in 9349.
What is more, each plane is presented on large, two-pages wide, port-side colour profile.
A very good and often desired addendum to the book, making the modellers life easier, are two large decal sheets. The decals are dedicated to the three most popular scales – 1/32, 1/48 and 1/72 scales. They contains complete set of decals and stencils for all machines presented inside the volume, including the non-tiger 9311. Decals are placed in a sealed bag to prevent any dirt and fingerprints adhering to the sheets. As the publisher note states it was designed by Hussar Productions but printed by the well known Polish decal producer – Techmod. Quality of the decals seems to be great – very thin gloss carrier film, nice colours, no misalignment. Small stencils and readable like unit numbers in the badges or pilots name seen on canopy frames are full readable, even in 1/72 scale. The technical stencils are readable only in 1/32 scale, in 1/48 you can use some imagination but you have no chance to read the 1/72 stencils - as they are simply too small.
Summary The book is a comprehensive must-have for modeller-enthusiasts of Polish MiG-21UM's. The painting schemes are absolutely outstanding and unusual. Model painted in the mostly yellow colour will shine the whole collection of the green-grey planes by the reflected light. It's a three in one “shake&bake” modeller friend – inspiration, reference and solution. All we need are great quality and flawless MiG-21UM kits in all these scales.
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