Dragon/DML 1/144 Mig-23MF 'Flogger'




$3.75 when new


One aircraft


Scott Van Aken




At one time during aircraft design, it was decided that swing wings were the way to go. The benefit is that you could sweep them forward for greater lift. This provided improved range and lower speed landing and take-offs. Then, when the need for speed came over the pilot, by swinging them back into a swept setting, the plane could really haul the coals! This came at some weight penalty and increased complexity of the aileron and flap control systems, but designers were willing to pay the price.

Mig developed two basic versions of this plane; one was an interceptor and the other a ground attack aircraft. The ground attack version had a sloping nose with no large radar so that the pilot could more easily see the target. The intakes had no variable ramps as did the interceptor version and it was generally a more simple plane. It kept the swing wings and the rough field landing gear of the interceptor. The interceptor, on the other hand, had a large air intercept radar and variable intake ramps for maximum speed. It was also provided with missile launch rails. Like its ground attack brother, it had a rear ventral fin to provide stability in high speed flight. This fin extended when the landing gear retracted and folded up against the rear fuselage when the gear were extended. This kept it from being damaged during landing. Gear up landings, however, undoubtedly tore it off!

For over two decades, the Mig-23 was the premier interceptor of the Soviet Union and was also exported to Iron Curtain and other client states. Though inferior to the similar US F-14 in terms of capabilities, it could have been a potent adversary in the hands of a skilled pilot. Most of the Mig-23s have been withdrawn from service in favor of the superior Mig-29s. However, though their days are definitely numbered, a few countries still have them in active service.


If you have never taken a look at any of the DML 1/144 kits, you'll be pretty surprised at what you see. They have engraved panel lines, a cockpit with pilot and a goodly weapons load. Now they are not exactly in the same league with Sweet, but close. In reality, the panel lines are about as thick as a pencil, if not more, in scale, but we expect them so Dragon has supplied them for us.

From my experience with their F-18 and F-15 kits, they are not a toss-together kit at all, but require some of those modeling skills. However, they are by no means a pig and look quite nice when done.

The Mig-23 kit has a separate nose section as they also do a Mig-27 kit and having a separate nose means they can use the main fuselage section for both of them. The wings interlock so you can move them back and forth. There really is no cockpit detail as it is taken up by a generic pilot on an equally generic 'seat'. It is just something to stuff under the rather thick, one piece canopy. Probably the most difficult part of this kit will be painting the wheels and tires as they are quite tiny. Though no stand is given, the gear doors are a single piece so you could do an in-flight display if you had a stand. Otherwise, you have to cut the gear doors into sections to use them.

Instructions are quite good and very much like Hasegawa's in that they reference Gunze paints. There is also a color three-view showing decal placement. I wouldn't try airbrushing the multi-colored camouflage scheme unless you have a killer airbrush. There is no separate instruction sheet with a kit this simple. It is printed on the back of the box.

Decals are about half the size shown and are for one aircraft of the East German Air Force. My experience with DML decals has generally been positive, though their tolerance to setting solutions is rather iffy. For the scale, they are well printed. Aftermarket decals are nearly non-existent, though Mike Grant has released a special scheme one that should fit this particular kit.



If 1/144 is your forte and you like Soviet/Russian aircraft, this is an option. Good thing is that despite this one being out of production for over 10 years (the date on my box is 1990), they are not difficult to find and are pretty inexpensive to boot! Hobbycraft also does a 1/144 Mig-23 and it would be interesting to know if they are the same kit or not.

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