The Mikoyan-Gurevich(MiG)-21, known as Fishbed to NATO, design started in the early 1950's, with the aircraft coming out of the same line that included the MiG-15, 17, and 19. The MiG-21 was the first dual role aicraft for the Soviets, combining both a fighter and interceptor. Going through many upgrades and variants, the MF, export version of the SM variant, included both a modernisation and new engine in the early 1970's, which became known as the Fishbed-J to NATO. This aircraft was also exported to many countries, including being licensed to HAL of India where is was built as the Type 88.
A new limited edition kit from Academy
represents the MiG-21MF, and comes with markings for many of the exports.
5 Plastic Sprues
1 Clear Plastic Sprue
1 Large Decal Sheet
2 Instruction Sheets
This new 1/48 scale MiG-21MF kit from Academy
can trace its roots to the 1998 release by Academy of the MiG-21PF. The kit is stated to be a Special Edition with limited availability. That said, opening the box I saw what look to be a decent kit for the age. The plastic looks to be very well molded with good looking engraved panel lines, and I found no flash or sink marks on my example.
The main fuselage is broken down into five part, the mid and rear halves with the top of the fuselage separate and the front halves. Inside, the cockpit looks to be minimally detailed with some raised surface details, and unfortunately Academy did not include any interior marking, including no decal for the instrument panel. But the seat does come with molded on seatbelts, that do look pretty good.
For the rear, the rear engine nozzle includes the inner fan and nozzle grill. While on the front the radome and air splitter detail is included. A nice touch looks to be the radome is hollow, and should provide enough room to add some balast to keep the front wheel on the ground for display.
The delta wings are a top and bottom assembly with separate control surfaces. It should be noted to watch the instructions as holes will need to be drilled for the stores prior to assembly. There is some minor details for the interior of the wheel wells molded onto the inside of the upper wing parts.
Underwing stores include a few options that include the K-13 and K-13A Missiles, UB-32 and UB-16 Rocket Pods, and drop tanks. The Gsh-23L Cannon pod is also included.
The instructions look to be very well laid out, with the main assembly in one sheet and the multiple paint and marking schemes on another sheet. There are paint callouts throughout the instructions that should aid in identify part colors. A good range of paint manufactures are referenced, so it should make using your favourite paint easy.
The clear parts for the canopy look to be well done, they are clear with no discoloration seen. The canopy is in two parts, so the builder could be able to display either in the closed or open position.
A large decal sheet is included with marking options for multiple aircraft, to include:
- MiG-21SM Russian Air Force 'Red 23', Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968
- MiG-21SM Iraqi Air Force F-14A 'Alicat' Shot down at Gulf War
- MiG-21bis Hungarian Air Force 'Red 1904', Sky Hussars display team 'Capeti', February 13, 1983
- MiG-21bis Indian Air Force 'C2788', 24 Sqn "Hunting Hawks"
- MiG-21MF Egytian Air Force '8676', IDF/AF Style, 1982
The decals look to be very well printed, with great looking color and all in register. And there are A LOT of aircraft stencil markings. The sheer volume could be daunting to some builders, but if done will really add to the look of the finished model.
Overall this looks to be a very well done kit by Academy
for this Special Edition MiG-21MF. The moldings are well done with crisp engraved panel lines and surface detail. With multiple marking and store options, this should be an attractive kit. Unfortunately the cockpit and wheels wheel are not fully detailed, but with a small canopy, these will not be that visible. In my opinion, this should build into a decent model of the MiG-21MF, and I would definitely recommend this kit.