MiG-21MF 'Soviet Air Force and Export'
The MiG-21 was the first Soviet production aircraft designed to operate above Mach 2. The MiG-21 featured a modified deltawing platform with the addition of traditional elevators. The first MiG-21 to enter production was MiG-21F Fishbed C and was shortly followed with the MiG-21F-13 Fishbed E. The MiG-21F-13 was the first example to be examined by the West, following the defection of an Iraqi pilot to Israel in 1966. This individual plane proved vital to the Israeli victory in 1967 and subsequent American aerial superiority in Vietnam.
This kit includes the MiG-21SM/MF Fishbed J with an intercept radar in the nose shock cone, an internal GSh-23 23mm gun, and four underwing pylons. The J model was powered by the R-13-300 engine. The MiG-21MF has seen combat in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and other parts of the world. The successes were based upon the skills of the pilot and his adversary. Often superior pilots in inferior aircraft could bring down their adversary, and the MiG-21MF was no exception in either side of this conflict pairing.
Academy has reissued their MiG-21SF/MF kit again, and even though the kit is close to 20 years old it doesn't seem outdated by newer kits of other subjects. The light gray plastic is very finely scribed and comes on 5 trees plus a tree of clear parts. The kit is an easy build suitable for both the moderately experienced builder and expert alike.
The cockpit tub and instrument panels are extremely basic. The KM-1 ejection seat is considerably more detailed, but still not up to the expectations of many more experienced modelers. Luckily, for those wanting more details, there are several resin upgrade sets on the market.
The fuselage was designed to be modular for multiple releases and includes four main parts: left & right, front and rear. The spine is molded separately. This allows Academy to do multiple variants from the same basic tooling. I found the 15g weight called for in the instructions to be a little light, 25g is more realistic in my experience.
The wings are single pieces and mate with the fuselage easily. The vertical & horizontal stabilizers and dorsal spine similarly fit well. The landing gear, while a little simplistic, are very sturdy and seem to support the model very well. The model is, however, intended to be built with the speed brakes in the open position as they do not seem to fit totally flush with the fuselage due to their thickness.
The kit includes the following external stores and associated pylons:
- 2 x UB-16 rocket pods
- 2 x UB-32 rocket pods
- 2 x 130 gallon external tanks
- 2 x K-13 infrared Atoll air-to-air missiles (AAMs)
- 2 x K-13A radar-guided Atoll air-to-air missiles (AAMs)
This release has five decal options:
- MiG-21SM, Bort 23, Soviet AF, 1968, Invasion of Czechoslovakia markings
- MiG-21SM, Iraqi AF, shot down during Gulf War
- MiG-21bis, Bort 1904, Sky Hussars Demo Team, Hungarian AF, 1983
- MiG-21bis, C2788, 24 Sqn, Indian AF
- MiG-21MF, 8676, Egyptian AF, 1982
All of these planes, except "Red 23" Soviet AF 1968, are in one form of camouflage or another. For "Red 23" the sheet has a full set of aircraft stencils (minus instrument panels) which can be optional on camouflaged aircraft. I chose to build option #3, Capeti from the Sky Hussars. This proved to be a mistake. The paint job required many light coats of PolyScale paint over white primer to prevent pooling of the very thin paint.
The kit is a very simple build, but yields a visually stunning model. The kit seems to be designed for the less-experienced builder, yet the surface detailing will please most of the mature builders out there. I have heard some criticism that there are detail problems with various parts that might make very experienced detail-oriented builders shudder, but I enjoyed the build.... and that is what it is all about!
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!