Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF (Weekend Edition)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
While there may be some disagreement, the MF variant is probably the most exported version of the MiG-21. While there are -21s still in service with some nations, most have been retired to museums or scrapped.
Eduard has gotten a lot of positive press regarding its MiG-21 line. Since the MF came in more interesting camo schemes that probably any other variant, I picked this one up when it showed up on the shelves of the LHS. This is the Weekend Edition version so what you do not get from the standard boxing are two photo etch frets and a set of canopy/antenna masks. Fortunately, the pieces that would be used from the p.e. fret are provided as plastic bits or decals
The kit has a nicely done cockpit with a nicely done bang seat. All the instrument areas and inside of the cockpit walls are decals and it will be up to the builder to try to match the color. There are a lot of clear canopies provided, but most will not be used. The canopy can be displayed open.
The wheel wells are very nicely detailed and all separate bits that eventually fit into the fuselage halves. There are also a number of bulkheads that go in the fuselage to add stiffness. A well detailed exhaust and burner can are also provided. Eduard recommends nose weight but does not tell us how much. As this cannot be added once the fuselage halves are together, the builder will have to tape together all the major components to get the right amount. In order to be able to produce multiple variants using the same basic fuselage and wings, the upper spine and fin are separate pieces and have their own small bulkheads. In fact, it is this feature that differentiates this MF kit from the later bis version. Eduard have gotten these bits correct. Now they need to do a series of 1/72 kits.
On the wings, the builder will have to assemble the multipiece wing wheel wells. Any pylons will need the holes opened up as well. The kit provides separate forward speed brakes if we want to cut away the ones molded into the bottom of the wing so these can be displayed open. I dare say few modelers will do this. There is a separate rear speed brake assembly for open or closed. Landing gear are properly complex and should look quite good when done. A goodly portion of the sprues are for fuel tanks, pylons and weapons. One will choose what one wants to use fairly late in the build process. Some of these have a multitude of small parts as Russian weapons seem to have a lot of tiny fins. Interestingly, the instructions only show a pair of RS2-U2 missiles on the inner pylon and fuel tanks on the outer.
Instructions are well done on standard paper that includes a full color painting and markings guide with What looks like Humbrol (H number) colors are the primary with Gunze paints listed below. This is odd as the the paint info during the build is in Gunze paint references. This might be an issue where Gunze paints are not available, but since the colors are relatively common, finding local substitutes should be easy. Markings are for a single aircraft as shown on the box top. This plane is from the Slovak Air Force and is painted in a one time color scheme of white, grey, and black uppers with grey undersides. According to the painting guide, locally obtained black and white paint was used and the grey was mixed. The small decal sheet is well done and should produce a colorful model.
Apparently this will be a kit that doesn't rely on photo etch to build. I'm glad to see this as many of their previous kits did. It means no seat harness, but then a nice resin replacement will not only improve seat detail, but also provide a molded on harness. The reason I picked up this kit is to use it with aftermarket decals. One has to decide if the additional p.e. and masks are worth the nearly double price increase. If not, then these weekend edition kits are perfect.
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