MiG-21 MF Limited Edition

Published: October 5th, 2016     
Product Image
Box art
Reviewed by: Dan Brown - IPMS# 47967
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard
Price: $99.95
Product / Stock #: 1199
Product provided by: Eduard

The MiG-21 is one the most iconic and recognizable airplanes ever produced. An astonishing 11,000 aircraft were built in the USSR alone in its 15 year service life in the Soviet Air Force and a number of countries were given licenses to produce it as well. Given the codename "Fishbed" by NATO, the MiG-21 has been in service for more air arms around the world than any other fighter aircraft. With this in mind Eduard has rereleased their fantastic kit of the MiG-21 MF with a staggering number of markings as a new special edition kit.

The box contains seven part trees molded in traditional light grey plastic, one clear tree, resin parts for the rocket pods, one color photoetch sheet, one small photoetch sheet, a full masking set and three huge decal sheets. It also includes Eduard's usual set of nice instructions with a separate markings guide; which in this case includes a massive 39 separate schemes. They also thoughtfully included a really nice paperback reference book that goes over the aircraft included in the markings. Unfortunately, my copy of the reference book was printed in Czech but Eduard does have the English version on their website. The parts are separated into several large bags, which is good. This kit contains a huge number of small parts and I had quite a few that had come off the sprue trees. Also thin parts like the pitot tube were damaged.

As usual with Eduard releases and especially with this kit, the molded-in detail is unsurpassed. The molding quality is amazing, although I did have a little bit of flash on some parts. This was surprising for an Eduard kit. The mold lines and general detail are typical of Eduard, subtle and very well produced.

The kit construction sequence starts with the engine and the cockpit. The kit includes a lot of photoetch for these areas and very clear instructions on how to use it in the construction. My only issue with the cockpit assembly is with the side panels, (parts C39, C44, and C8 and C38, C11 and C43). The attachment points for these parts are extremely vague, they are D shaped and supposed to fit into indents on parts C43 and C44. I thought that I had them in correctly but had to remove them and readjust when I installed the floor. Once everything was set I had another issue with installing the seat. I couldn't get it to fit in between the side panels and had to shave off a lot on the bottom sides. This was probably also due to not having the side panels quite where they needed to be. I would recommend being very careful and maybe using a spacer that's slightly larger than the seat when installing the side panels. My other piece of advice for building the cockpit is leave the PE1 photoetch parts off until after the painting is complete, or they will be ruined by the masking and overspray.

The engine goes together very nice and has a nice amount of detail. I ignored the paint call out for the green fan inside the engine because paint would not survive in that environment. There are a couple of cool features to the kit when you assemble the fuselage. First, the nose cone is keyed so there is only one way it will fit and it is hollow so it is extremely easy to add weight to the nose. I filled it with lead shot and had no issues with tail sitting. Second, the whole spine is only made up of three parts, two for the tail and one for the rest of the spine up to the cockpit. There is also a separate plate just in front of the cockpit; this means that there is almost no need for filling and sanding along the top of the fuselage. Before you install the wings you have to make a choice to build the aircraft with the airbrakes deployed or stowed. The front two require minor surgery to install and the rear one just requires three parts instead of one. Based on my reference photos, I chose to leave the front two closed and droop the rear one onto the center line tank. The fit of the wings to fuselage is near perfect and required almost no filling along the wing roots.

The seat is fantastically detailed and has a lot of nice photoetch parts that really dress it up. Be careful when installing the seat in the cockpit though, it is extremely fragile and with the tight fit, it is easy to ruin the nice photoetch during the installation. The main struts and wheels of the landing gear sets are well designed, strong and easy to work with. This kit even includes a nice set of photoetch wires for detail. My only issue with the landing gear is that the attachment points for the bracing strut D5 are very vague. I can't actually tell where it is supposed to attach by the instructions. So I used my reference photos and took a guess. This kit also includes a nice set of options for photoetch vs. plastic for the strakes and a few other small parts on the fuselage.

The large pitot tube is a very prominent feature of the MiG-21 and this kit produces it very well. Unfortunately, the pitot in my kit arrived broken, and I discovered that there are no attachment points for photoetch vanes. I ended up replacing mine with a brass replacement from Master Model.

There are some final photoetch parts to be installed on the canopy and these really dress it up, but wait until painting and decaling is complete before you add them. There is a ton of ordinance included in this kit, as there is everything from SPRD rocket pods to UB-16 missile pods to drop tanks. Check your references as to what to use and decide before you paint the airframe, because if you install the wing tanks they require different pylons. I chose to build the aircraft with the center line tank, two wing tanks and the UB-16 missile pads. Everything went together really well and the resin missile pods were a nice addition. When assembling them, be very careful when cutting out RP4, the rear cone, they are extremely thin and almost impossible to remove from the pour gates in one piece without a razor saw.

Finally on to the best thing about this kit, the markings. Eduard provides a staggering 39 separate marking sets. There are three large decal sheets included, one just for stencils and two for the specific markings. There are some very cool markings for Czech and Slovakian air arms including a test air wing and a Tiger Meet aircraft. The only issue I have with the crazy schemes with the stripes is that there are no decals provided for the stripes themselves, so be prepared for a lot of masking. Eduard does provide some very handy masks for the harder parts of the stripes but a lot of the masking is up to the builder. The Tiger Meet decals are very impressive; all of the stripes are included as decals, so all you need to do is have a nice base coat.

For my build I chose option 36 which is a really interesting aircraft in a three tone white, grey and black camouflage scheme from the Slovakian Air Force. The very first step is the same for all of the builds, painting the dark green or dark brown panels specified in the painting guide. Eduard provides some very nice masking parts for all of these sections so it makes sense to paint them first, page 14 and 15 provide guidance on where these go. After painting is complete it's time to use the awesome decals. These decals are very similar to Eduard's standard decals and as usual the register is perfect. They are also pretty easy to work with over a nice gloss coat; they move around nicely and settle down easily. My only recommendation is to use MicroSol to help the decals grip the surface of the model; I had one Insignia lift partially while taping off for the painting of the tail pipe. The only concern with using MicroSol with Eduard decals is that they react quickly and strongly to MicroSol, so you don't have a lot of working time until they set and once they do set you can't remove them. The final step of this build is to paint the gasket on the canopy, as the MiG-21 has a prominent red gasket on the main canopy. Eduard helpfully provides an extra masking set for the canopy that is slightly smaller than the usual masking set. This allows you to easily airbrush the gasket.

Overall this is an awesome kit. It builds up quickly and fits extremely well. It has a ton of really great detail, a huge number of awesome markings, and a lot of really cool extras. My thanks to Eduard and IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to review this kit.

  • Cockpit
    Cockpit
  • Exhaust
    Exhaust
  • Rear view
    Rear view
  • Right side
    Right side
  • Landing gear
    Landing gear
  • Nose gear
    Nose gear
  • Underside
    Underside
  • Cockpit side panel
    Cockpit side panel
  • Instrument panel
    Instrument panel
  • Seat
    Seat
  • Seat
    Seat
  • Ordnance
    Ordnance
  • Left side
    Left side

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