Ben Hobby 1/100 MiG-21

KIT #: ?
DECALS: Three options
NOTES: Ex-Tamiya mold


The ubiquitous Mig-21 is the most produced fighter jet in history with over 10,000 airframes constructed. The Mig-21 is a single engine fighter that filled the role of both a fighter and interceptor at the time of its inception. The aircraft is capable of mach 2 flight and is known for its good speed and maneuverability, at the expense of avionics and carrying capacity. The Mig-21 first saw action during the Vietnam War, where its maneuverability gave it an edge over American jets in the earlier years of the conflict. After Vietnam, Mig-21s were employed in the various Arab-Israeli wars, the Iran-Iraq War and last saw major action during Operation Desert Storm. Updated Mig-21’s continue to serve in air forces around the world today, most notably within the Indian Air Force.

The BenHobby 1/100 Mig-21 is a reboxing of the Tamiya 1/100 kit, as such the molding is superb even if the details are soft. The plane comes in two sprues molded in a light grey plastic with a clear piece for the canopy. Markings are provided for three aircraft, a Russian Mig, a North Vietnamese Air Force Mig with several kill markings and an Indian Air Force version. The decals are in good register and there is no yellowing given the age of the model.

Due to the small parts count the construction of the model went very smoothly and it was possible to complete the model in a weekend. Construction started in the almost non-existent cockpit. The cockpit consists simply of a blocky seat barely visible under a thick clear canopy. The interior can be approached two ways, it can either be painted in a medium gray as recommended by the instructions, or alternatively it can done in black due to the small scale and the fact the interior will be barely visible through the thick clear plastic. I opted for the former and just brushed the interior with Citadel’s “Codex Grey”. After the interior the bulk of the airplane comes together. The fuselage was glued together and once the glued was finished curing the wings were attached. At this stage the model is mostly complete with the exception of the landing gear and armaments, so I masked off the cockpit and proceeded to prime the airframe and remaining parts with Krylon grey primer.

With the most of the assembly complete I carried on to the painting phase. All three decal options for the Mig-21 are finished in bare metal with a dash of olive drab on the nose cone and landing gear detailed in light grey. The painting stage was very easy; I simply applied several thinned coats of Citadel’s “Chainmail Silver” by hand until I achieved the desired look. Next I detailed the landing gear with a light grey and painted the tires flat black. The missiles were painted “Skull White” with the tips detailed with flat black. Once the painting was complete, the landing gear and armaments were attached to the airplane. To prepare the model for the application of the decals, an acrylic gloss varnish was applied by hand.

Of the three decal markings provided I chose to use the Indian Air Force version. The decals are quite thick and thus quite durable during handling. The decals went on with ease. After the decals were applied, I hand brushed painted a glossy acrylic clear coat to seal the model and protect it.

The Tamiya 1/100 series jets are excellent kits, it’s a shame the scale never really caught on with plastic modellers. The Tamiya kits and reboxings by BenHobby can still be found in several hobby shops and online for very reasonable prices. The models are also quite simple and offer relaxing weekend builds. I recommend these kits for anyone into small scale jets, especially those fond of 1/144 scale aircraft.

Garth Yu

May 2013

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