|KIT:||MasterCraft 1/72 MiG-21MA 'Pin Up Girl'|
|KIT #:||30179 (C-17)|
|PRICE:||$3.31 at www.hobbyshop.cz|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
One thing you can say about OKB MiG is that they produce popular aircraft. Just as their MiG-15 and MiG-17 were excellent sellers, so the same can be said about the MiG-21. Initially designed as a point defense interceptor, it was developed through a number of upgrades to a much more capable, though still rather short ranged, multi-purpose fighter.
In addition to being widely used at home, it was sold to dozens of air forces throughout the world. Thanks to numerous upgrades, the type is still a viable interceptor that flies with a number of current forces.
I've got to be honest with you. Whenever I see a kit from either the Far East or Eastern Europe, the first thing I do is to compare it with known kits to see if it is a copy of something that is already on the market. It is just a habit with me that comes from dealing with models for such a long time. I did just that with this kit to see if it had any influence from the Fujimi or KP MiG-21s.
While it very much appears to me to be neither of those kits, it is closer to KP than it is to Fujimi. Molded in a dark grey plastic which has some other shades in there, the kit is nicely engraved with lines that are a tad on the 'soft' side. As I've mentioned in other reviews of MasterCraft kits, 'soft' engraving just means that the edges of the engraved lines are more rounded than sharp. Under a coat of paint you'll see very little difference.
The kit comes with a cockpit that includes a tub, instrument panel, control stick and seat. The seat is the pits as it is basically an 'L' shaped slab. This is a bit odd as the instructions show detailed painting of a KM-1 ejection seat. You'll have to get an aftermarket one for this. The tub itself has a raised ejector pin tower that will have to be removed to get any seat in (unless, of course, that is what the seat sits on). There is no instrument detail on the tub or instrument panel nor are there any decals to simulate it.
The canopy is a single piece and well molded though not exactly crystal clear. The wheel wells have no detail in them and the main gear legs are basically just straight struts with spots for the main wheels. Under the wings you can put four pylons on which you can mount either four missiles or two missiles and two drop tanks. If you use the tanks, there will be nothing for the centerline rack. A centerline cannon is also provided as this was pretty standard on this variation of MiG-21.
Generally speaking, the parts have a bit of flash, but not much. The sprue attachments invade many of the smaller parts such as the pylons and the missile fins so care will be needed to remove the parts and then clean them up. The missiles themselves are rather generic so one may be forgiven for not using them. I don't know of any Soviet Missile Set in this scale, but it would be quite handy.
The instructions are really quite good and are of great detail. Paint colors are provided in FS 595 and various paint companies so finding colors for this should be a snap. Markings are provided for five aircraft. Three of them are Czech, including two with nose art. The artwork is pretty basic compared to the real thing so many will probably skip them. These three planes are in unpainted aluminum. A Slovakian aircraft is also provided in unpainted metal. However, these were eventually painted a nice gloss grey so perhaps that would be more appropriate. The fifth scheme is a 2-tone grey over light blue version from Poland with their low-viz insignia (which is white so you can't see it on the decal sheet). Decals look to be fairly well printed and semi-gloss. It will be interesting to see how they work out.
So, is this a worthwhile MiG-21 kit. Yes it is. It isn't up to the standards of Fujimi, but it is better than the KP kit. What's more, according to the price at www.hobbyshop.cz, it is a real bargain. It is not a complex kit and is basically sound, as many inexpensive kits have real molding problems which this one doesn't appear to have. It should build into a very nice model.
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