The MiG-21 was one of a long list of Mikoyan-Gurevich products to be integrated into the armed forces of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact, and allied client states. Its predecessors included such notable types as the MiG-15, MiG-17 and the supersonic MiG-19. The roots of this project reach back to the first half of the fifties.
The first of the new line to enter production was the MiG-21F, which together with the MiG-21P and F-13 represented the first generation of the MiG-21, and was in production through the end of the fifties and the beginning of the sixties. Subsequent versions included the PF, FL, PFM, R, S, N and PD, the production of which peaked at the end of the sixties. The third generation started production in 1968, which included such versions as M, SM, MF, SMT, bis among others. Simultaneously, two-seat training versions were also produced designated MiG-21U, UM and US. Production of the MiG-21 ended in 1985, and was put into service with some fifty nations.
NATO assigned the MiG-21 the reporting name ‘Fishbed’. It became the most produced supersonic fighter in terms of quantity. The Soviet Union produced 10, 645 examples of all versions, 194 were built in Czechoslovakia and 657 in India. The MiG-21 participated in combat in Vietnam, the Indo-Pakistan wars, the Cuban participation in Angola and in the Arab world’s attempt to eliminate Israel. The type serving as a fighter-bomber served with the Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pact into the eighties, when it began to be displaced by the MiG-29 Fulcrum.
This kit allows you to build foremost a model of the MiG-21MF. This 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.
(Source: kit instructions).
Saying that the Eduard 1:48 scale MiG-21 was eagerly awaited is an understatement. The first tools for it were produced in the beginning of 2010 (see the "Visit to Eduard" article HERE
) and almost one year later the kit is finally available for the modelers around the world. In the meantime, the project was delayed several times and the release strategy modified accordingly by the manufacturer so that, in the last weeks prior of its release, Eduard have felt the need to post daily updates about it on their Facebook page
to make the wait less difficult and, to be honest, to boost the sales of their Subscriber Limited Edition.
Now that the kit has materialized and that we finally have it in our hands, was all the fuss about it in the internet justified? The answer is most definitely a big YES!
Eduard's 1:48 scale MiG-21 MF comes in a standard orange Profipack box, which means that, in addition to the plastic sprues, the kit features additional photo etched parts, masks and several decal options (six in this edition). But wait, this is not all. Since Eduard have launched their Brassin line of products, resin detail pieces are sometimes included as well in their releases and this is the case with the MiG, so it really is a multimedia kit this time.
The content of the box is the following:
- 9 sprues of grey injected plastic parts.
- 1 sprue with clear parts.
- 2 photo etched frets of which one is pre-painted.
- 4 resin parts.
- 1 sheet of masks.
- 2 decal sheets.
- 1 instruction booklet.
For the plastic parts Eduard have, once again, improved their tooling technology. The switch already started with the Albatros D.III Oeffag kit and this is visible as well in this release. Slowly but steadily the Czech Manufacturer is refining the surface finish and detail of its kits to new standards. I think they are not far away from a certain Japanese brand now. For a 1:48 scale kit, the MiG-21 features very subtle renderings of the panel lines and exquisite relief details. The moulding is crisp and the surface of the plastic very smooth. There is only very little flash (almost none in fact) and I found no sink marks on my sample.
Tree A mainly holds the fuselages pieces, the air brakes and some pylons. Tree B is dedicated to the wings and horizontal tailplanes. Parts for the cockpit interior, the landing gear bays and the engine exhaust are located on sprue C and D. Trees E (X2) and F are composed of the external armament. The small tree H has only 6 parts on it: vertical tailplane, dorsal spine and upper instrument panel upper deck. Obviously the last sprue will be exchanged in future boxings to do other variants. The last sprue (G) is the clear one with the canopy and the instrument panels. In Total there are 384 parts to be used in the kit and 66 are not to be used. This makes a total of 450 plastic parts not counting the photo etched and resin ones! However, the armament only represents 214 pieces so the aircraft model alone, without any external stores fitted and with all the optional parts excluded, can be assembled out of approximately 200 parts in total. Still a lot for a 1:48 scale model.
The clear parts are really nice. Instrument panels (for several different sub variants) are transparent as well. I personally don't like it that way but pre painted photo etched parts are provided so this is really no big deal.
The photo etched frets, as always by Eduard, are perfectly done. I'm not used to Russian jet interior colors so the "Emerald Green" is quite surprising for me. I wonder if I can find the exact same shade of color by mixing my usual Tamiya paints? Obviously an optional instrument panel won't be used in this boxing so I find it strange that while the cockpit walls have been included as pre painted parts, one has to paint the side consoles which are sadly not to find on the PE fret. A scribing template is provided to add a typical oval access hatch on the upper wings which was not present on all the MF variants. Decals are also included to do these hatches in case one isn't sure about scribing the plastic of the kit.
To finish with the content of the kit, also included are a small sheet of masks for the canopy and some areas of the airframe and the wings (not the wheels since they are separate pieces) and two resin UB-16 Rocket pods. Since we are on the subject of external stores, below is a list of what is provided:
- External 800 liter Fuel Tank.
- External 490 liter Fuel Tank (X2).
- S-24 Missile (X2).
- RS-2US Missile (X2).
- R-3S Missile (X2).
- R-13 Missile (X2).
- R-3R Missile (X2).
- FAB 100 Bomb (X8).
- FAB 250 Bomb (X2).
- MBD for 4x FAB 100 Bombs (X2).
- UB-16 Rocket Pods (X2).
- SPDR Take Off Rockets
It is to be noted that some parts have been prepared for a special edition with fibre optic lighting (see interview of Mr. Jan Zdiarsky HERE
) in case you wonder what these trenches are which are present on the inside of the wings.
Instructions and decals
The decals printed by Cartograf are excellent indeed. Two sheet are provided, one with the markings for six aircraft and the other with all the stencils. The latter sheet is in fact bigger as the former and proposes two stencil sets: one for camouflaged aircraft (red and blue lettering) and one for grey or natural metal aircraft (black and red lettering). With the amount of servicing info text present on the aircraft, one could almost write a book! You can already plan a few decalling sessions to get everything on the right place on your model. A full stencil guide for the aircraft is present in the instructions and an additional sheet (2 side A4) will let you know where to place the decals on the extensive armament included in the kit. This makes three A4 pages in total only for stencils placement!
The six marking options of this Profipack kit are the following:
A - MiG-21 MF No.7628, Egyptian Air Force, unit unknown, Tanta Airbase, 1988.
B - MiG-21 MF, Czechoslovak People's Army, 9th Fighter Squadron, Bechyne AB, Czechoslovakia, 1989-1993.
C - MiG-21 MF, Slovak Air Force, 4th Flight, Sliac Airbase, Slovakia, ca. 1999.
D - MiG-21 MF, Polish Air Force, 10th Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego, Lask AB, Poland, 2001-2003.
E - MiG-21 SM, 812th UAP, Kharkov Higher Military Academy, based at Kupyansk Airfield, Soviet Union, August 1991.
F - MiG-21 MF, German Democratic Republic, Jagdfliegergeschwader 3, Preschen Airbase, 1990.
Eduard have made a good job with the making options as they are all quite different and I can already forsee that it will be difficult to make a choice. Again, the decals are really excellent, with good color density and in perfect register.
The instructions are typical Eduard. They are printed in color on glossy paper and constitute a 20 pages A4 sized booklet. They feature an aircraft history, a parts layout, a color table (Gunze), 10 pages of instruction drawings, one page for the external fuel tanks and weapons layout, 6 pages of marking and painting guides and one page with the aircraft stencil guide. Like I wrote earlier, an additional sheet accompanies the instructions to show you where to apply the stencils of the external weapons.
My only complaint about the instructions is that in some cases the optional interior colors (wheel bays for example) are not connected to a specific marking option. It is also necessary to figure out how much weight must be used to prevent the model from being a tail sitter.
Eduard have produced another winner with this MiG-21, no doubt about it. I'm sure most modelers will be pleased with it and enjoy many hours of building, painting and decalling for a more than fair price given what is provided in the box. It shows, once again, that the Czech manufacturer is to be ranked at the very top of the plastic model kit manufacturers.
MiG-21 enthusiasts will be pleased to know that other variants will be produced by Eduard in many different boxings (Profipack, Week-End, Dual Combo, etc...), some of them even this year. Yes, it is definitely Miguary month!
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AeroScale.