Lindberg 1/72 MiG-21 PF

KIT #:
PRICE: $
DECALS: Two Options
REVIEWER: Martin Pohl
NOTES: Ex-IMC kit

HISTORY

To write something on the history of the Mig-21 is a bit too much I’d say as this plane is probably the most known Russian aircraft ever – so only this:

The MiG-21, which initially became renowned during the Vietnam War, was designed for very short ground-controlled interception (GCI) missions, which is precisely the type of missions that it was employed for in the skies over North Vietnam. The first MiG-21s arrived directly from the Soviet Union by ship in April 1966, and after being unloaded and assembled, were transitioned into North Vietnam's oldest fighter unit; the 921st Fighter Regiment, which had been established on 3 February 1964 as a MiG-17 unit. Since the North Vietnamese Air Force's 923rd FR was newer and less experienced, they would continue to operate strictly MiG-17s; while the arrival of the MiG-19s (J6 versions) from Communist China in 1969 would create North Vietnam's only MiG-19 unit, the 925th FR. On 3 February 1972, North Vietnam commissioned their fourth and last Fighter Regiment of the war while engaged with the United States, the MiG-21PFM (Type 94) equipped 927th Fighter Regiment.

Although thirteen of North Vietnam's flying aces attained their status while flying the MiG-21 versus just three in the MiG-17. Many North Vietnamese pilots preferred the MiG-17, since the high wing loading of the MiG-21 made it relatively less maneuverable, and the less heavily framed canopy of the MiG-17 gave greater visibility. However, this is not the impression perceived by British author Roger Boniface when he interviewed Pham Ngoc Lan and ace Nguyen Nhat Chiêu (who scored victories flying both MiG-17 and MiG-21) Pham Ngoc Lan told Boniface that "The MiG-21 was much faster, and it had two ATOLL missiles which were very accurate and reliable when fired between 1,000 and 1,200 yards” and Chiêu asserted that "...for me personally I preferred the MiG-21 because it was superior in all specifications in climb, speed and armament. The ATOLL missile was very accurate and I scored four kills with the ATOLL. [...] In general combat conditions I was always confident of a kill over a F-4 Phantom when flying a MiG-21”.

THE KIT

This is an old probably a very old kit from the late 70ies or earlier. I'm not sure whether Lindberg did the original forms or just reused some older ones. You get what you can expect, raised panel lines and not that many parts but then you get three extra parts, one fuselage half, one wing and one elevator with battle damage. Well one could argue the battle damage does not look right, but then it looks nice and different.

The very strange thing for that kit is, there is no interior at all – nothing – no cockpit, just the canopy, that’s it. I did have some copied instructions and those stated there should be a pilot figure and a piece formed like an “L” representing a seat but still there is nothing mentioned about some cockpit floor but I'm not sure if those instructions were the Lindberg ones. My copy did not have any company label on it.

CONSTRUCTION

 

So, when I saw that there is nothing to put inside, I just decided to do something different and that’s how this did come out. 

As stated above the construction of the kit is not worth being mentioned I just glued all parts together and filled the seams with milling wax.

So instead some words on the base perhaps. It’s made of Styrofoam where the park is made of a layer of a mixture made of plaster and wall paint. You sure could use plaster alone but that is drying within minutes rock hard. I experimented a bit and found it very useful to mix some wall paint with water until its like cream. In that I stir plaster until it’s like cold honey. This I smear on to the foam and let I dry for an hour. It then is still easy to be scratched with a needle or something to create the tiles. This then I put a way for 2 days and then I start painting it. This mixture of wall paint and plaster never gets that rock hard as plaster alone but it gets hard enough. The main advantage is you have more time to form it.

COLORS & MARKINGS

My kit came with some Iraqi and Russian decals but I wanted a North Vietnamese Mig-21 so I took some insignia from a Bilek kit.

The plane got a base with Createx black base and then a coat of the silver paint for heat pipes (or oven pipes) I’m often using for NMF. Then a Future coat before the decals and after them. All the weathering is made with very thinned oil paint (100:1 or 80:1 I never measured it) and some wood paint. The damage areas were painted with acrylics and washed with oil colors. The last touches like the bird placings are painted with oil color.

The base first got some static grass and then was treated with very thinned oil paint and pastels until I thought it’s enough.

CONCLUSIONS

Yes, I know, a Mig-21 with this damage would never be able to land safe – but, it looks different and that’s what I was looking for and then – you never now :).

Martin Pohl

March 2012

Editor's Note: This is a reissue of an IMC 'Battle Damage' kit. According to the sprue shots I have seen, the kit does not include the display stand or pilot in seat that came originally. I built this kit back in about 1974 and had the option of having the pilot ejecting from the aircraft. The pilot/seat piece was then attached by a clear rod that is apparently also missing from the Lindberg boxing.

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