The MiG-21 was developed in the mid 1950s as a lightweight interceptor/fighter for the VVS. First used as a day fighter, it was soon developed into an all-weather fighter and from there it was modified, updated, upgraded, modified again and still further altered until the lineage of the MiG-21 is only slightly less convoluted than that of many European Royal Families. The MiG-21 is still in service more than 50 years after its first flight. By any yardstick, it is by far the most successful supersonic aircraft in history. Only the American F-4 Phantom, a much larger, more expensive and far more complicated aircraft has come near to equalling the MiG's export record.
I have seen 1/72 kits with less detail and fewer parts than this one. This kit is a little jewel, which makes me itch to start putting it together. The scribing is about the finest I've ever seen on a model, and appears to line up very well. The separate fin and spine suggest that Eduard may release other versions, ( Oh look, they just did
!) as do the empty spaces on the sprue which look just the right size for an early MiG-21F fuselage. However, this last is only wishful speculation on my part.
The fuselage is two halves from nose to tail except under the wings. A fairly complete cockpit is provided, with options for the canopy to be opened or closed. Once again I have to say that I've built 1/72 kits with less detail in the cockpit. The only thing missing is a set of seatbelts. I am surprised to see that they're not on the otherwise well populated decal sheet. Alternate seat backs are provided for the opened or closed canopy. I presume the taller seat back is more accurate but won't fit under the closed canopy. A turbine wheel closes off the fuselage to prevent seeing up the jet pipe and into the cockpit. No indication is given of the need for nose weight. There is a tiny bit of room in the intake cone and above the nose wheel well. There is slightly more room behind the cockpit bulkhead to cram in some lead shot if the model turns out to be a tailsitter. Two pitot booms are provided although only one is to be used. The second appears to be redundant. Perhaps it's there in case you break the first removing it from the sprue? The moulding is incredibly delicate. Optional canopies are provided, with and without the MiG's characteristic rear-view mirror at the top centre. If the canopy is to be closed, the mounting pins must be carefully removed. The windscreen is a separate piece
The wings are one piece combined with a section of the lower fuselage. The 4 part main wheel well fits into the lower fuselage portion and then the whole assembly sockets into the main fuselage after the halves are joined together.
The tailplanes are one piece mouldings that have very substantial slots to fit into. Leave them off until final assembly to facilitate painting and decalling. The spine is in two parts with the fin attached to one half.
Armament and other dangly bits
The instructions mention 3 optional configurations for underwing/fuselage tanks: 1 under the fuselage, 2 under the wings, or all 3, but I can only find 2 tanks on the sprue. Perhaps you're meant to rob the third from the second kit, leaving only one for it? There are also 2 K-13 (AA-2 Atoll) AAMs and 2 S-24 unguided ground attack rockets. Alternate outboard pylons are provided. Apparently the small pylons are to be left empty, as there's nothing to hang on them. The GSh-23 cannon is a separate part.
The landing gear struts and wheels are finely moulded and nicely detailed. They could use some brake lines and whatever else the modeller likes, but will look good without them. The wheels themselves are proportionately thick and the detail moulded into the hubs is very good. The nosewheel is moulded in one piece with its strut, but that is quite acceptable in this small scale. There is no option for raised gear, nor are stands provided. As with all 1/144 kits, the gear doors are overly thick and may be replaced if the modeller wishes.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like an MiG-21MF
Decals and Markings
The decal sheet is where this kit shines. Decals are offered for no fewer than 8 different options:
- 1. Egyptian Air Force, Unknown unit, 1968
- 2. Czech Air Force, 6th Fighter Bomber Regiment, 1986
- 3. Czech Air Force, 211th tactical Squadron, 2003
- 4. DDR Air Force, Jagdfleigergeschwader 3, 1990
- 5. VVS, 812th UAP, 1991
- 6. Slovak Air Force, 4th Flight, 1999
- 7. Polish Air Force, 10th Eskadra Lotnictwa, Takycznego, 2001
- 8. Vietnam People's Air Force, 921st Fighter Regiment, 1970
It is going to be quite difficult to decide which option to do.
Self-adhesive masks are provided for the canopy and dielectric panels. Some of them are quite tiny, so needle point tweezers will be very useful. The main canopy mask is an outline; it will have to be completed with tape or liquid masking fluid, taking care not to mask over the mirror frame if that option is used.
This kit was kindly provided for review by Eduard.
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