1/72 MiG-21MT/SMT

KIT #: ?
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard


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 ) with 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 motor.

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 then.
Injected 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 legs.

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 could be 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.


Understanding 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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