No real introduction is needed for this classic fighter. The MiG-21 was allocated the far from flattering name “Fishbed” within NATO and the much more affectionate nickname of the “Balalaika" in Russia. It went on to be one of the most produced fighters in modern times. Production of the MiG-21 ended in 1985, by which time the MiG-21 served with some fifty nations. The Soviet Union produced 10,645 examples of all versions, 194 were built in Czechoslovakia and 657 in India. Towards the end of its service it was adapted as a fighter bomber.
It saw plenty of action in Vietnam, the Indo-Pakistan wars; the Cubans operated it in Angola. It also saw a lot of action against the Israeli AF. The highest number of aces produced on the type was in Vietnam. Nguyen Van Coc was the leading ace with nine kills.
The MiG-21MF is an export version of the SM where the ‘M’ signifies ‘modernizovaniy’ and the ‘F’ ‘forsirovannyi’ – or ‘modernized with afterburning’. In factory documentation, the type is identified as Izdelye 96F. It was powered by the Tumansky R-13-300 with afterburner and carried the Sapfir-21/RP-22 radar. The armament was composed of the GS-23-2L 23mm cannon with 200 rounds. The under wing pylons could carry a combination of FAB bombs up to 500kg in size, UB-16-57 rocket pods, and R-3S, Ch-66, S-24 missiles, as well as R-60 air-to-air missile, including the R-60M. NATO assigned the MiG-21MF the codename ‘Fishbed J’.
The top opening box is bursting with plastic sprue's. The clear plastic bags are packed with either two or three sprue's. The clear plastic and photo etched parts are bagged separately as are the masks. The lid has a fine illustration of two Egyptian MiG 21MF’s over the pyramids. The nearest is included as one of the six marking options. It’s been some time since I have looked at an Eduard kit. I was immediately struck by the shear quality of the mouldings and the inclusion of both pre painted and non-painted photo etched parts and paint masks. The A4 format booklet is almost bedtime reading material, and there are some superb marking choices. Andy Brazier has recently done an out of the box build review of weekend release of the MiG-21MF, which you will find here
. The kit featured in this review and Andy’s Weekend Edition exemplifies Eduard’s philosophy of creating products to suite everyone’s pocket, without compromising on quality.
Inside the box you will find:
- 8 x dark grey plastic sprue's.
- 1 x clear plastic sprue.
- 1 x fret of pre painted photo etched parts.
- 1 x fret of non-painted photo etched parts.
- 1 x small sheet of masks.
- 2 x decal sheets.
- 1 x 20 page instruction booklet in colour.
Eduard offer two ways of creating the cockpit. There are a number of pre painted photo etched parts you can use with the plastic parts. Or you can just use the highly detailed plastic parts and paint and highlight them yourself. Whichever route you take you will end up with a superb office. Some of the cockpit parts need the moulded detail removing before fitting the PE parts. The seat is made up from around 17 plastic parts and there are twelve pre coloured PE parts for the harness and the seat ejection handle. All together the parts should build into one of the most impressive seats ever seen in a kit. In short the cockpit will look stunning.
The canopy and the windscreen are separate parts, so you can display the side opening canopy open. The plastic is pretty thin and crystal clear.
The fuselage of the MiG-21 is simply a tube, no area rule complication here. The fuselage is split vertically; the vertical tail and spine are separate parts. The separate spine is a very useful feature as it covers part of the upper fuselage join; the vertical tail covers the rest of the join. There is quite a lot of plastic to add to the interior of the fuselage before the fuselage halves are joined. The recessed and raised surface detail is really well done. The air brakes can be deployed if you fancy although some surgery is required to the forward air brake in the fuselage section in the lower wing half. The moulded air brake needs to be removed and there are separate parts included to create the wells.
The one piece radome is the obvious place to pack with ballast although the instructions don’t suggest how much weight to add. The delicate looking pitot boom has even more delicate looking PE yaw and pitch vanes to fit. At the other end of the fuselage, the jet pipe is made up from eleven plastic parts and two photo etched parts. The detail on the rear turbine, re-heat matrix and exhaust nozzle is very good. If you want extra detail, Eduard has a resin jet pipe in their catalogue. I think the jet nozzle detail included with the kit will be fine for most modelers.
The lower wing is one piece and is moulded with part of the lower fuselage. If you are fitting pylons under the wings, then you need to drill holes into the lower wing. There are marks on the plastic indicating exactly where to drill. The ailerons and flaps are separate; each is one piece with nice thin trailing edges. The wing fences have been created in plastic or as PE items. The MF varies from the BIS in having an additional panel on the upper wing. The panels do not exist on the kits wing, but Eduard has supplied a PE template so that you can scribe it yourself, or use the decals supplied.
The horizontal stabilizers are each one piece and are superbly thin with sharp trailing edges.
The undercarriage bays are superbly detailed. The main gear bay has quite a few parts to put together, but it will be worth the effort. I like the breakdown of the wheels on the main gear. The tyres and hubs are separate, which makes painting so much easier.
There is a wealth of objects to hang from the fuselage and wings. They include:
- 1 x 800 liters belly fuel tank.
- 2 x 490 liters wing or belly fuel tank.
- 2 x S-24 AGM .
-2 x RS-2US AAM.
-2 x R-3R AAM.
-2 x R-3S AAM
-2 x R-13 Missile AAM.
-8 x FAB 100 bombs.
-2 x FAB 250 bombs.
-2 x MBD racks each carrying up to four FAB 100 bombs.
-2 x SPDR take off rockets
The resin UB-16 rocket pods that were included in the first release are not included with this kit. I believe they were one of the first Brassin products Eduard produced. They were included in the first release as a promotional offer. Unfortunately there are no plastic versions included. The instructions include a very useful diagram of where to hang the ordinance.
The masks are made from pre-cut Kabuki tape and can be applied to the windscreen and canopy. There is also a mask for the dielectric panels on the fin and leading edges of the wing.
There are some superb marking options; sorry I have mentioned that already. There are six marking options all of which are camouflaged. So the non natural metal finish gang will be pleased to note that there is little shiny metal to be seen on any of them. There is one impostor that you might have spotted, option “E” is actually a MiG-21SM in Russian markings.
MiG-21MF 1/48 - MiG-21MF No.7628, Egyptian Air Force, unit unknown, Tanta Airbase, 1988.
MiG-21MF 1/48 - MiG-21MF, Czechoslovak People’s Army, 9th Fighter Squadron, Bechyne AB, Czechoslovakia, 1989-1993
MiG-21MF 1/48 - MiG-21MF, Slovak Air Force, 4th Flight, Sliac Airbase, Slovakia, ca.1999
MiG-21MF 1/48 - MiG-21MF, Polish Air Force, 10th Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego, Lask AB, Poland, 2001-2003
MiG-21MF 1/48 - MiG-21SM, 812th UAP, Kharkov Higher Military Academy, based at Kupyansk Airfield, Soviet Union, August, 1991
MiG-21MF 1/48 - MiG-21 MF,German Democratic Republic, Jagdfliegergeschwader 3, Preschen Airbase, 1990
They seem to be produced in house at Eduard. There are two sheets: the smaller has national marking, aircraft numbers, squadron emblems, wing walkways and some stencils. The larger sheet is full of data stencils and there are a lot. Don’t be too intimidated by the number as not all the stencils are used. Eduard advise that the red and blue stencils are for camouflaged aircraft and the red and black stencils are for the grey and natural metal finished aircraft. After a few sessions of decaling you will be seeing them in your sleep. The quality of the print is excellent; even the smallest stencils are legible. Colour density and register is generally very good although the German insignia looks slightly out of register. The carrier film has been kept to a minimum.
The glossy twenty page A4 format instruction booklet is definitely something to sit down and read with a cup of coffee or two. Written instructions are bi lingual: English and Czech. If you want to deploy the forward air brakes, then surgery is required. Where to cut is clearly marked in the instructions.
This must be one of the best kits produced in recent years. The all-round quality of the mouldings, the breakdown of parts, the inclusion of photo etched parts and the range of markings offer the modeler the possibility of creating an outstanding model. As this is the second time around for this kit, there are plenty of finished MiG-21’s for you to look at on the Internet. If you don’t have one of these kits, don’t hang around, acquire one or more ASAP.
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