Italeri 1/72 F-21A Kfir








Scott Van Aken




The F-21A has a very unusual history. It is one of the fewfighter aircraft the US has had in its inventory that have been leased. Back inthe 1980, the Falklands War was recently over and planners realized that therewere aircraft  types that they had no experience against. One of them wasthe Mirage family of delta winged aicraft. The Navy and Marine Corps werelooking for an aggressor aircraft that would do a good job of simulating thattype, and with nothing left in the inventory, contracted to the Israeli AirForce to provide aircraft and technicians. The result was the leasing of around20 aircraft for a four or five year period of time.

Theseaircraft were early model Kfirs which had been pulled out of service and wereawaiting buyers. They has very small canards on the intake trunking and werebasically Kfir 2s. The two units that flew the Kfir were VMFAT-401 at Yuma, AZand VF-43 at Oceana, VA. The aircraft never received USN serials, instead usingthe manufacturers serial number. They were painted in a variety of interestingschemes, however what I call 'ghost glop' of blues and greys was the mostpopular.

The aircraft served their role well and when the leaseterm was finished, the aircraft were returned to Israel. To my knowledge, nonewere ever lost.


This kit is up to Italeri's stanadards of the late 1980s withengraved panel lines, a pretty decent cockpit and well detailed ancillary partssuch as weapons, landing gear, wheel wells and the like. The kit comes withdecals for VF-43 in the overall ghost glop paint scheme of greys andblues. 

The instructions are well done with several steps using thetypical exploded drawings to show parts location. Painting instructions are goodwith FS numbers given for the camo scheme and some of the other bits and pieces.


Since it has been a number of years since I built this kit,there isn't a great deal of detail that I can tell you about the kit except forits trouble spots. The first one is the intake trunks. For some reason, kitmakers have been unable to design a kit with side mounted intakes where thetrunking isn't a bit of a problem. As with many of these kits, I needed filleron the aft portion of the intakes in order to smooth them into the surroundingfuselage.

The next area of problem was the wing/fuselage join.Again, a fair amount of filler was needed at the front part of the wing as wellas the upper surface to get a good blend in with the fuselage. One would thinkthat this type of kit could be molded with the upper wings as part of thefuselage, but then that gets into the problems of designing how the nose sectionwill fit. Guess there really isn't any cut and dried answer to this quandaryexcept for careful fitting and filler where needed.

Unlike theHeller Mirage III kits, the Kfir has well detailed and sturdy landing gear.Thanks to a raised lip around the wheel, painting the tires isn't the chore itcan be on other kits. As for stuff hanging from the aircraft, one is limited toa centerline fuel tank and outer wing missile pylons. On these pylons areattached blue acquisition rounds which transmit data to the range computer forlater downloading to check over the flight's parameters.


With no aftermarketdecals available for this kit, one is pretty well stuck with whatever scheme isin the box. In this case it is three shades of grey and blue-grey in a randompattern. I masked off the kit when I did the several colors and it seems to workwell in this scale, though those who are airbrush wizards will want to free-handthe scheme. I used Gunze Acrylics  for all the external camo colors andthey worked very well indeed.

For decals, again I was at themercy of the kit supplied ones. They worked very well and reacted well to theSolvaset solution I was using at the time. These were for an aircraft with VF-43at Oceana, and one that I have a photo of somewhere.


Overall, this is a very nice kit of a rather unusual aircraft. It is odd thatItaleri never used this mold as a basis for a decent 1/72 Mirage III/V series,but I guess the wings and fuselage are too different to allow that kind of kitcrossover. Recommended for those with some experience due to wing and intaketrunk fit problems.

May 2000

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