Eduard 1/144 MiG-21bis
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Two complete kits with masks|
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (Russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-21; NATO reporting name "Fishbed") is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. It was popularly nicknamed "balalaika", from the aircraft's planform-view resemblance to the Russian stringed musical instrument or ołówek (English: pencil) by Polish pilots due to the shape of its fuselage. Early versions are considered second-generation jet fighters, while later versions are considered to be third-generation jet fighters. Some 50 countries over four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations a half-century after its maiden flight. The fighter made aviation records. At least by name, it is the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history (nearly 11,500 examples according to some sources) and the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War. It also had the longest production run of a combat aircraft (1959 to 1985 over all variants).
Because of all the conflicts in which it has been involved, some wags say it is the most shot down supersonic aircraft in history. While your editor thinks that may be more true for the F-4 or F-105 due to the intense ground fire in Vietnam, it may be that the MiG-21 has been shot down in air to air combat more than any other supersonic jet.
When Eduard released its 1/144 MiG-21 kit, enthusiasts were nearly peeing themselves in ecstasy over how great this particular kit was. Well, I have to say, that Eduard has done a fine job over this kit. The dark grey sprues are well molded with engraved detail that is really too large for this scale, but probably as small as machining can get and expect to crank out the tens of thousands of copies that will be needed over the years.
The kit includes a separate sprue for the spine and fin, and this is the only difference between the plastic in this boxing and the previous MF. All of the nasty ejector pin markings I found are on the inside of large parts. A clear sprue provides a separate canopy and windscreen with an alternate canopy that does not have the rear view mirror. The canopy is designed to be used in the open position so if closed, the mounting tabs will need to be removed.
The one piece wing and lower central fuselage will be appreciated by many. The cockpit is fairly nicely done with separate side consoles, control stick and instrument panel. Two bang seat backs are given with one taller than the other for the open cockpit option (apparently the seat automatically raises when the canopy is opened as I can see no real reason to have this additional piece).
The main wheel well is fully assembled from four pieces prior to installation. The fore and aft bulkheads of this construct as well as the rear blanking plate have arrows to show proper alignment. The gear are all very thin so care is needed. In fact, some parts are very thin. One is given two nose pitot probes as it seems that breaking it getting it from its three sprue gates might be an issue.
A full batch of stores are provided, including three fuel tanks, missiles, a centerline gun, and some large rockets. Blank pylons are also in the kit if one wishes no stores. There is no mention of nose weight and I would be pleasantly surprised if none is required. There is a small amount of room forward of the cockpit for a bit.
Instructions use Gunze paint references and it looks as if some colors (like the turquoise cockpit shade) will need to be mixed if using Gunze paints. Of course, if using Testors enamels, you simply buy the color ready mixed. The full color instructions also include the markings guide for four options, half of what you got with the MF boxing. I cannot believe that Eduard could not come up with more operators to put on a sheet. There is a Polish plane in unpainted metal, a Romanian plane from 2003 is a nice camouflage scheme, a Finnish version, which is nice as they were the first non-Soviet customer for the plane, and a Hungarian plane that is in the same scheme as their 1/48th weekend edition boxing. The set also includes masks for the canopy and various antennas, a nice thought though one will need magnifying lenses to see some of these!
I got mine locally and apparently they are popular as I got the last kit the shop got in.
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