Trumpeter 1/48 MiG-21UB

KIT #: 02865
PRICE: $44.95 SRP
DECALS: Four 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 and interceptor 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.

Approximately 60 countries over four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations six decades after its maiden flight. It made aviation records, became the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history, the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War and previously the longest production run of a combat aircraft (now exceeded by both the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon).

It did not take long for the Soviets to realize that a trainer version of their new interceptor was needed as it was a very different aircraft from the previous MiG-15/17/19 types. Every unit had at least one and the trainer was generally part of any export package to the various nations who flew the type.


This is probably the third or fourth (or fifth) Trumpeter MiG-21 variant I've previewed and they all have a great deal in common, using the same wings, landing gear, engine and tailplanes. Where this one differs is in the addition of a new fuselage for the two seat variant.

That results in a new cockpit tub as well as an additional seat and instrument panel. Decals are supplied for the main panel if you want to use them. You get the same basic options in terms of separate clear parts, the ability to pose the speed brakes open or closed and a braking chute door at the rear that can also be modeled open. You can also have the instructor's mirror raised if you so wish.

Typical of the F-13 version on which this is based, you are quite limited to what can be carried. Normally, these planes would have no weapons, but a pair of pylons and missiles is included. They are not plumbed for wing tanks so you are only able to use a centerline fuel tank, which was pretty well there all the time. I should also mention that there is a photo etch fret that is used on all the 21 kits they do. There are also rubber tires so many of us will be looking for aftermarket wheels.

 Instructions are well done with a variety of paint company references. I should mention that there are some paint companies not listed that specialize in Russian colors and that might be a good option as well. Four planes are provided, all in different schemes. The box art plane from the Czech Air Force is the most garish and takes up most of the decals. Then there is a bare metal plane of the Polish Air Force, as well as a nice desert scheme of sand, brown and green of the Libyan Air Force. Finally a Russian plane in sand, dark brown, dark green and light green. The camouflaged planes have a light blue underside. The two sheets are nicely printed and should work quite well.


For many, the two seat trainer version of a jet fighter is often the best looking. Not in this case, but it is still a nice looking plane and thanks to Trumpeter, we have a version of this aircraft in 1/48 scale. Based on other Trumpeter kits I've built, I expect it to go together well.


November 2018

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