Wings & Wheels Publications
have recently published a second edition of their photographic study of the MiG-21MF/UM variants. The softcover 167-page book by František Kořán, Josef Martinek and Petr Soukop will be an absolutely goldmine for anyone modelling the aircraft, with over 750 excellent colour photos forming one of the most detailed “walkarounds” which I’ve ever seen.
The 240x225mm book is printed on high quality glossy stock and divides its coverage broadly in two. Firstly, there are longer range external shots which are ideal as references for colour schemes and weathering effects (and there is some quite remarkable wear and tear evident on some of the aircraft featured). There’s something to suit pretty much all tastes among the schemes illustrated, from standard n/m and camouflage, though to some quite spectacular “specials”, including “Tiger Meet” schemes and the intricate splinter camouflage seen on the book’s cover. The majority of the aircraft are Czech and Slovak, but there are a number of other nationalities featured - a Cambodian 2-seater caught my eye in particular.
Secondly, there’s comprehensive close-up coverage of the airframe and systems, and it’s these detail shots which form the overwhelming bulk of the content, making the volume a real must-have for modellers seeking to enhance the many kits of the MiG-21 which are available.
The crucial aspect of the shots for me is that they appear to show airframes in their standard condition and colours - not pampered “warbirds” or exhibits which have been restored and repainted in (often) non-authentic ways. So, there’s weathering and oil-staining evident in many cases, which will serve as a very useful guide for accurately adding some general wear and tear if you wish.
With such a wealth of reference material included between its covers, an easy way if navigating the book is essential. Wings & Wheels Publications
have handled this very neatly with coloured “filing tabs” on the pages, so you can flick through the book and quickly find the section you need.
These tabs break the coverage down into the following categories:
MiG-21MF Early Production Series
MiG-21MF Late Production Batch
Russian Original Cockpits
CzAF Cockpit Since '89
CzAF Upgraded MFN
CzAF MFN Cockpit
All Series Walkaround
MF 23mm Gun
UM 12.7mm Gun Pod
Pylon and Weapons
MF Top Fuel Tank
MF/UM Fuel Pump
Removable Fuselage End
Engine Access Panels
Pilot’s Flight Suits
That’s a very comprehensive list - but it’s really only a snapshot of the full content included, because many of the sections are further subdivided. For instance, the All Series Walkaround breaks down its coverage into no less than 16 sub-sections. All in all, I counted a phenomenal 58 separate topics (and I may well have missed something tucked away amid it all)!
The actual photos are excellent, printed large enough on the page to allow the details to be picked out easily, and are taken with a real for what’s important to modellers, with angles chosen carefully for clarity and often multiple views of items to show shapes and context. Each section included a concise description of what’s shown, noting points of interest and differences specific to individual airframes.
The size of the book is well chosen, as the landscape format means it can sit neatly on your lap while you’re at your workbench.
I am highly impressed by Wings & Wheels Publications
’ study of the MiG-21MF and ‘UM. It’s many years since I built Eduard’s then new MiG-21SMT
, but this is one of those books that triggers the modelling itch and inspires you to build a kit of its subject, so I may well tackle another in the series! I think anyone detailing a MiG-21 kit in any scale will want to have a copy of the book handy, as it’s among the most comprehensive modelling references I’ve come across. Highly recommended.
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