As usual, IPMS USA are eternally grateful to Eduard for kindly providing yet another magnificent example of their new items to review, and to the IPMS USA reviewer corps leaders for sending it to me.
Eduard are rightfully proud of their Mig 21 series; the 1/48 kits are the best in the market, and cover the majority of the available Migs in service. This particular boxing is of their new 1/144 dual kit featuring eight Czech-marked examples with nose art, display schemes, etc. Bare metal, brown and green over gray, winter camo, all are there. The whole kit exudes quality and value.
All through the build I was thinking "This is fun and I don't want to screw it up!" Contest models coming out of this region contain some of the finest details out there in my opinion, and I constantly wonder at the surgical skills demonstrated during E-day and other events as reported in modeling magazines. This review gave me appreciation for their skills...
In the end-opening box are two duplicate sets of absolutely magnificent base parts for generating Mig 21 MF's in 1/144 scale. No aftermarket required! Options include dual one-piece external tanks, dual Atoll missiles, or dual air to ground missiles. I held a #11 xacto blade in one of the photos to give some idea of the scale and what I was dealing with. And the really cool part: No separate PE fins to mess around with. That's just crazy! Eduard's molding is flawless on all the parts, and you have options of open or closed canopies.
Yes, that's to show off the cockpit detail!
First, I recommend a magnifier for detail painting; I purchased a low-cost Ott light magnifier, and learned I need the larger version to do this kind of work on regular basis.
Second, use brand-new #11 blades to remove the smallest parts such as pitot booms, landing gear struts, retraction struts, etc., as this will alleviate the tendency to break parts off the runner verses removing them. Side nippers work great too, but be careful. You get two air data booms on the runner and I found out why when I plinked off the first one which had been installed early on. Forewarned is... you.
Starting with the interior, I used Vallejo emerald green for a close match to the color used on the instrument and side panel decals. Pre-paint the floor, control column, and instrument panel. Same for the seats... it will save you a lot of grief. The decals went down well, and look perfect. I seriously doubt anyone can paint that small, no matter how good your brushwork. The instrument panel has raised dials in case you want to try, but... not me.
There are two different seat back parts, one taller than the other, for an open cockpit. I chose that one. The seat was painted, and when dry the seat harness decal was added and let cure. Cemented into the cockpit, then all offered up to ensure it's all square along with the control column. Hard to believe the detail is there!
The interior bits are added, and the engine turbine face is painted black with a drybrush pick on the detail. It's there! Assemble the mid-fuselage main wheel wells, cement in place in the fuselage halves, and you may have just spent 45 minutes getting here. Bring the halves together and marvel at such small work. Wings and stabilizers are next, along with the fin and "humpback", and then it's time to let the cement set up.
After the cement had cured, I used sanding sticks to clean up the few seams on the nose and belly. NO FILLER required.
I painted the interior edges of the canopy clear parts, then installed the windscreen. The kit contains a masking set for the various green or brown antennas on the jet, as well as the canopy. They call came in very handy as I could not have masked this set. Know my limitations, do I... and they work perfectly.
I took ten to paint the undercarriage and wheels/tires, using the magnifier and light, then used a light wash on the main wheels to bring out the cooling hole detail. It's there, look at the pictures!
I decided to add on the underwing ordinance rails and mounts, then paint the model with Tamiya bare metal silver. You can use the engine orifice to hold the model for this; make sure you mask off the interior that you spent so much time painting up! And trust me, it's hard to mask that small...
Quick note here: Since I use water based paints, I highly recommend you primer with Tamiya or your favorite "other" plastic primer, because when I removed the masks on the fin antennas, one side pulled the green paint totally off the model. Easy touch up, but be forewarned; Primer, antenna green overall, then mask, THEN the bare metal silver.
Good thing this kit has a second complete one in it, huh?
After the paint had cured, I pulled the masks, then decaled. Since I used ordinance, I selected a basic overall aluminum with the knight on the right starboard fin and some kind of slogan on the left "port" nose for a bit of individuality.
By the way, the decals are Cartograf and worked as expected. Note to use foreigners, pay attention to the orientation of the National insignia; the wings have mirror image for the red and white tri-sections. It's not random!
Final finish was a coat of future, install the gear and ordinance, and canopy, and you are done. Tweezers, a good eye check, and patience along with micro fine brushes are required, but in the end this is a fantastic little kit. I built it one of the two kits and had it done in four hours... a great weekend project. WELL DONE EDUARD! Full marks once again.
And yes, I'm going to continue building in this insane scale; the challenge is great and I don't need extra space added to the display area...