Since the foreign operators of the MiG-21 lightweight frontline
fighter aircraft (Fishbed) often complained about a small range of these
otherwise successful machines, in February 1971, OKB MiG was officially
responsible for developing the latest MiG-21MF (Fishbed J) with expanded
internal fuel supply. The required modification of the Mig-21 MF ( Fishbed J
expanded internal fuel supply. The required modification of the Mig 21MF has
been known under Mig-21 MT (Fishbed K) and the production code of 96K and
has been distinguished from its predecessor development by installing a
stronger R-13F-300 engine and new fuel tanks with a larger volume (900
litres versus 510 litres) within the significantly extended dorsal body.
This intervention of the fuel system has brought range of 200 to
250 Km and the speed has dropped significantly 2175 Km/hr versus 2230 Km/h
and accessible altitude of 17,300 to 18,200 metres. This
was the result of not only a higher takeoff weight than the MiGem-21MF (Fishbed
J), but also a greater frontal aerodynamic drag.
The MiG-21 Generation three series was the MiG-21SMT (NATO Codename
(Fishbed K). This variant had an improved radar (that also was incorporated
into some of the domestic Fishbed J variants) and other avionics
improvements, but none of these were visibility different from the Fishbed
J. What earned this MiG it's own NATO designation was another 'improvement'
for more fuel storage in the aircraft's dorsal spine. This 'improvement'
earned the aircraft the nickname 'humpback (whale)' among its pilots. The
type did see operational service within the Soviet Union but the humpback
created enough problems that production quickly switched over to the
MiG-21bis (sans the humpback) and many of the MiG-21SMTs were converted to
the MiG-21bis dorsal spine. While there were plans to export the humpback
configuration, a few were built and none were exported given the discontent
among Soviet pilots.
They were powered by a Tumanski R-13 F-300 with afterburner and carried
Saphar 21/RP-22SM radar., and the armament consisted of GS-23-2L 23mm cannon
with 200 rounds. The underwing pylons could carry a combination of FAB bombs
up to 500 Kg in size, UB-16-57 or UB-32A rocket pods and R-3S, R-3R
or S-24 missiles. Nato assigned the Mig21 MT/SMT codename Fishbed K.
The S-24 missile (
shown carried under the wings of the model subject ) is a fixed fin aircraft
rocket with a high explosive (HE) warhead for air-to-surface use. The rocket
is painted dark green and has two bands at the warhead. Nomenclature and
manufacturing information are stenciled in blackon the warhead and rocket
The S-24 is a rocket 2.33 metres long with a launch weight of 235 Kg (520
lbs). It has a 123 Kg (271lb) blast fragmentation warhead. Its range is
about 2-3 Kilometres (1.2-1.9 miles. The S-24 is carried individually on
weapon pylons, rather than in pods. The rocket is also license produced in
Iran under the name Shafaq. The rocket has also been in use with the Indian
AF in the closing days
of the 1971 War and has been in use by MiG-21s, MiG-23BNs and MiG-27s since
in light blue styrene with a photo copied single page instructions
the make of kit received from a contact in Latvia some years ago is
of an unknown make and rather crudely produced compared to today’s
standard with raised panel lines and other surface features. Cockpit
has five pieces consisting of pilot seat, side consoles, a control
column, instrument panel with raised instruments and no crew figure.
A round section piece blanks the rear of the fuselage from the
forward end. There is a cone shaped radar nose and a separate intake
ring piece to go to front of nose area. The extended dorsal body
appear to be convincing and quite pronounced when compared to the MF
version at same scale.
A scrap view of the underside of the aircraft give indication that the
main wheels were oversize and these I replaced with a spare set that
came in recent KP Mig-21 release. I threw away the undercarriage
Starting with the cockpit
area this was built up and painted turquoise green while seat was gray and
decals added to side consoles and instruments at front panel. The canopy was
clear but on the thick side and I thought there was not much point to add detail
inside once a crew figure was added and little
visible. An engine pipe was also added to the rear area that makes it visible as
most of the Migs are when viewed from the rear end. Some nose weight was added.
The fuselage halves were brought together and cemented. The wing assembly and
tail unit went together well, the result was a good fit and with a little filler
and all look the part. Drop tanks and the S-24 missile respective pylons were
all added in place. The nose pitot tube was replaced with a metal one of thinner
diameter than the one given. Three tiny aerials were added to top of fin. I also
used the SAC undercarriage landing gear set No 72146. This was in much greater
detail and to scale than the kit issue.
that the MT only saw service with the Russian AF I started to search for a good
camouflage color schemes of which there were several. Then I settled on one
finished in two-tone green, two-tone of pinkish sand and light blue undersides.
Only for the underside I have used acrylic paint Lifecolor UA152. The top
camouflage was in Humbrol and Compucolor enamel paint. After a coat of Alclad
satin overall, the decals, which I used from my Super Scale brand spare set were
applied on the model. Once dry they were sealed with some more Alclad lacquer.
Finally I added a minimal airframe weathering and crayon lines mainly
concentrated towards the exhaust shroud area.
With care and extra work the kit builds into a
pleasing example of the more recent version of the Mig-21. The four tone
attractive camouflage along with the accurate SAC gear I now feel I did justice
to this Mig build.
Carmel J. Attard
15 December 2017
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