by: Richard West [ ]
BackgroundThe Fishbed is the most produced supersonic aircraft of all time, and an icon in its own right, and a stupendously fast fighter designed to intercept and destroy Western intruders in huge numbers. The F13 represents the first widely adopted variant of the Mig 21. Capable of delivering the then cutting edge K13 missile system it was a viable counter to Western fighters and weapons, notably sidewinder. Compared to earlier versions the F13 had improved range, weapons control and payload versatility. The NVAF was equipped with F13's during the Vietnam War. As interceptors they proved extremely effective against daylight sorties by the USAF.
The KitIt's always nice to be greeted by so many parts in a model kit. Nine medium grey sprues plus one clear, one small sheet of PE and two rubber-like tires.
The sprues contain pylon options. Weapons on offer are the eponymous K13 Atoll missiles, UB16-57 rocket pods, FAB unguided bombs, K-5 Alkali missiles or external fuel stores. The stabilizers on the Atolls are of pleasingly thin styrene, and the fact the the rocket pod holes are actually holes is a real treat.
The PE sheet is minimal and a bit of a disappointment, amounting to a very simple seat belt and two aerodynamic surfaces. Not a show stopper there, but better than nothing. The inclusion of rubber tyres for the main wheels may not please every taste, and there is no option for solid wheels.
The clear parts appear to be superb, rivets are very fine and present where they should be present. The areas to be painted have a rough texture, presumably to allow easier paint adhesion.
A sprue containing most of the detail parts is the real winner here. Molded detail is above par and everywhere making this kit a good candidate for OOB builds. Moreover the options for build configuration are superb. Essentially all control surfaces are positionable, including brakes, and the canopy can be posed open.
The panel lines are fine, no Matchbox trenches here. Flash is not present and virtually no sign of ejector pins or towers. Quality of manufacture leaves nothing to be desired.
MarkingsThe decal sheet provided gives options for six aircraft:
-MiG-21F-13, Bort 04, Tushino AB, Soviet AF, 1961
-MiG-21F-13, Bort 0102, PLAAF
-MiG-21F-13, Bort 5063, North Vietnamese AF
-MiG-21F-13, Bort 645, East German AF
-MiG-21F-13, Bort 1106, Czech AF
-MiG-21F-13, Bort MG-77, Finnish AF
Decals appear nice and more importantly, a separate sheet of a great many stencils is provided.
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