Akkura 1/72 MiG-21PFV 'Thunderchief Killer'

KIT #: A0006
PRICE: 9.99 Euros
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (Russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-21) (NATO reporting name "Fishbed") is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft, designed and built 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, the most produced combat aircraft since the Korean War, and it had the longest production run of a combat aircraft (1959 to 1985 over all variants).

Many consider the PF to be sort of a second generation of these aircraft. It kept many of the same features of the earlier F, but  got a more powerful engine and eliminated the built in gun. This made it less useful to those who flew it. During the Egyptian's use of MiG-21s, most pilots preferred the older F over later versions just because of this gun and the plane's lighter weight. The Soviet built Atoll (a copy of the US Sidewinder) was generally considered to be a poor weapon and getting a hit with it was often as much chance as anything else. No wonder that the later MiG-21M series returned to having a gun, albeit one that was in a centerline pod.

Akkura is a kit maker from Poland and has mostly dealt with detail stuff. From what I gather, this MiG-21 kit is originally an INNEX mold. It is short run as one can tell from the thick sprue attachment points and somewhat large and soft engraved detailing. This latter is subjective as it is really not that much more than what you get on current Airfix kits. There is some flash and some of the parts suffer from mold shift.

The cockpit is basically a flat floor with two flat sides into which a rear bulkhead is inserted. A very generic looking bang seat is then glued to the rear bulkhead and one butt joins an instrument panel and installs a control stick. To say the interior is pretty basic would be about the truth and I'd recommend at least a replacement seat.

One needs 10 grams of nose weight before trapping the radar nose and cockpit in the front and a plain blanking plate in the rear. No final engine compressor stage here, just the flat plate. The nose has a separate cowl ring, like on a KP MiG. There is a separate fin that needs installed so that the company can do their MF version. To me, this means that perhaps the dorsal spine may be too large, but I'll leave that to others to determine. All the various vents and antennas are separate with no helpful guides on the plastic to show where they attach.
Wings and tailplanes are a single piece with the holes for the wing pylons already drilled out. Nose gear and wheel are a single piece. The main wheels have a curious flat spot on the hub that is probaby an ejector molding. There is no option for lowered speed brakes. You do get a centerline rack and fuel tank as well as wing racks for two Atoll missiles. The PF did not have a built in gun, though some later had one added to the centerline. This kit does not include that option. This is all topped by a single piece and somewhat thick canopy.

Instructions are nicely done though they show some of the parts (such as the seat) to be a lot more detailed than they actually are. Color information is provided in a number of paint lines so you should have no issues in this regard.
Markings are for six planes from four different countries. There are two Polish AF planes, one from the mid 1960s and the other from the mid-1980s. Two North Vietnamese aircraft are also provided. These are from the 921st Fighter Regiment and both, like the two polish aircraft, are in unpainted metal. Also in unpainted metal is a Czech plane from the mid 1980s, and rounding things out is the lone camouflaged version from the East German Air Force, again from the mid 1980s. Decals have some issues in that some of the markings are off register. The yellow in the Vietnamese insignia seems to be too dark and this is probably due to bleed-through of the background red. Fortunately, there is no lack of aftermarket for the MiG-21PF, though it would have been nice if the kit markings had been perfect.

So what is the verdict on this one. Well, I would put it into the category of the KP MiG-21 in several areas as it seems quite similar. This one has superior surface detail, better molded part to some extent, and has the major benefit of offering two kits in one box. I mentioned that it could really benefit from a proper seat so that should be on every builder's list if they want to tackle this one. I don't anticipate any major issues and while the detail fiends may want to look elsewhere, for most of the rest of us, it is really quite a good deal if one simply wants a nice model to put on their shelves. Anyone with some 'time in the trenches' should be able to handle this one just fine.



MiG-21 Walkaround, Part 1, Squadron/Signal, 2004

January 2017

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