Three Cockpit Details for the 1/32 Trumpeter Mig-23

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Base Kit
1/32 Trumpeter MiG-23
Company: Aires Hobby Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Aires Hobby Models - Website: Visit Site
Kitset Packaging

Aires has continued in its release of enhancements for the family of Trumpeter MiG-23 kits. Here is a look at what is now available for the cockpit. The first set, a multimedia KM-1 Ejection seat can be used not only for the MiG-23 but also the MiG-21. The other two sets are each unique to a specific variant of the MiG-23, the ML and the MF. Each of these sets is up to the standard that we expect from Aires.

  • 1/32 KM-1 Ejection Seat
  • Aires 2135
  • Suggested Retail Price: $20

Aires has released its 1/32 KM-1 as a separate detail set which includes resin and a PE sheet. The KM-1 is superbly detailed and very realistic. The seat compares well to photographs I have and is suitably busy with wiring and plumbing. The back of the seat includes the complete ejection mechanism and support system allowing it to be displayed not only in the cockpit, but also outside on a maintenance stand. I particularly like the well-used, sat in look of the cushions. The PE details include the armrests and harnesses. Molded in cream colored resin is a pair of ejection handles to mount at the front of the seat.

This seat is appropriate not only for the Trumpeter MiG-23, but also will work with the Trumpeter MiG-21 kits (MF and UM) and the Revell MiG-21MF kit. I like the fact that the PE is bare metal so that the modeler can choose the right color for the harnesses, depending on their reference. Overall this is a relatively simple buildup and I like the fact that most of the details are molded in. Even if you don’t feel the need to replace the entire cockpit in your MiG-23 or MiG-21, the kit seat should be replaced and this set is perfect for the job.

[Note: this seat is included in both the MiG-23ML and MF cockpits]

  • 1/32 Cockpit Sets for the MiG-23ML and MiG-23MF
  • MiG-23ML: Aires 2134
  • MiG-23MF: Aires 2137
  • Suggested Retail Price: $37.95 each

As with most of the Trumpeter 1/32 scale jets, the cockpit of the MiG-23 has adequate enough detail that it can be built out of the box. But the cockpits of Soviet era jets are crammed with switches, wiring, electrical boxes and plumbing, and in comparison to the real thing the Trumpeter cockpit looks a bit Spartan. A lot of this can be addressed by the average modeler who has the skill and time to add the detail, but then again a really detailed resin cockpit can be a good substitute. Aires has just the set in this release which provides a detailed cockpit, instrument panel and coaming, ejection seat, and windscreen and canopy details.

These cockpit sets are the typical Aires multi-media kit, with a majority of resin components supplemented by PE details, especially for the IP; the instruments being a film negative. The 16 resin parts are by and large cast in the now standard durable gray resin. All components are crisply rendered and nicely cast – I only found one small air bubble. The PE is double-relief etched stainless steel, something I like because it is hard to match colors with pre-painted PE. Film instruments are okay but will need a white background.

I like the way these sets are engineered – straightforward with opportunities to adjust to the kit. The cockpit tub is one piece, correctly setting the back wall and side console locations. The side walls are separate pieces, simplifying installation. The coaming and the instrument panel are one piece, again simplifying locating them. Also, the instrument panel is cast smooth with the detail being supplied by the PE. Significant enhancement is provided for the canopy and windscreen, including interior structure, periscope framing, mirror assembly, and what I believe is a shroud (nicely rendered) for the pilot during nuclear weapons delivery. Most of this is in resin, which is substantially easier than trying to bend PE to the right curvature. Of note – some of the smaller details on the canopy are recycled parts from the kit.

So what are the real differences between these two sets? First a little background. The MiG-23MF is the export version the MiG-23M delivered to the Soviet Air Force. Both were designed as multi-mission aircraft, so if you wanted to build an “M” you could use the MF set. The MiG-23ML was a lighter-weight variant optimized as a fighter for the Soviet Air Force. It included an ungraded engine and fire control system. Later it was exported to Warsaw Pact and client states. If you are wondering what is really different between Aires set 2134 and 2137, it is the instrument panel and coaming assembly and they are numbered accordingly. The sidewalls are also labeled as different, but I could not discern a difference.

In 1/32 scale there is plenty of room for the eye to wander in the cockpit of this model. Such an open area really cries out for more detail. Aires delivers that detail and more, especially the canopy which presents a lot of detail when open. If you are going to invest 1/32 a MiG-23 kit, then I would spend the additional money and get one of these cockpit sets as well.

I would like to thank IPMS and Aires for the opportunity to review these detail sets.


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