MiG-21 SMT ProfiPack

Published: January 18th, 2018     
Product Image
Reviewed by: 
Michael Novasad, IPMS# 36721
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard
Price: $59.95
Product / Stock #: 8233

Brief History

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 NATO reporting name Fishbed) is a supersonic jet fighter and interceptor aircraft designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Sovier Union. It was popularly nicknamed "balalaika", from the aircraft's planform-view resemblance to the Russian stringed musical instrument.

Early versions are considered second generation jet fighters, while later versions are considered third generation jet fighters. 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 fighter 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).

The MiG-21 jet fighter was a continuation of Soviet jet fighters, starting with the subsonic MiG-15 and MiG-17, and the supersonic MiG-19. A number of experimental Mach 2 Soviet designs were based on nose intakes with either swept-back wings, such as the Sukhoi Su-7, or tailed deltas, of which the MiG-21 would be the most successful.

Development of what would become the MiG-21 began in the early 1950s, when Mikoyan OKB finished a preliminary design study for a Prototype designated Ye-1 in 1954. This project was very quickly reworked when it was determined that the planned engine was underpowered; the redesign led to the second prototype, the Ye-2. Both these and other early prototypes featured swept wings. The first prototype with delta wings as found on production variants was the Ye-4. It made its maiden flight on 16 June 1955 and its first public appearance during the Soviet Aviation Day display at Moscow's Tushino airfield in July 1956

In the West, due to the lack of available information, early details of the MiG-21 often were confused with those of similar Soviet fighters of the era. In one instance, Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1960-1961 listed the "Fishbed" as a Sukhoi design and used an illustration of the Su-9 Fishpot.

The MiG-21 SMT is a development of the MiG-21SM with increased fuel capacity and is part of the Generation Three Modernasation program of 1968-1972. This variant is easily spotted thanks to its larger spine.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the MiG-21 background information.

The Instructions

The 20 page instruction book includes MiG-21 history also, parts layout and paint colors based on Mr Color acrylic and laquer-based paints. Eleven pages are dedicated to the construction with callouts for paint colors and photoetch parts placement along the way. One page is dedicated to decal placement for the fuel tanks, miscellaneous pylons and weapons. The multiple choices for fuel tank and weapon loads is shown on page 13. So many choices your head will spin. There are five pages with color profiles for five different aircraft, plus more stencils for the airframe!

The Kit

There are nine sprues for the blue-grey plastic parts. Two frets of photoetch, one set of painted steel seat belts. The resin parts are limited to two UB-16 and two UB-32 underwing rocket launchers. The plastic parts are finely molded with little to no flash detected. Each sprue is marked with a letter to match the parts shown on the instructions, but the sprue designator are difficult to read. The parts numbers are located on blocks on the sprue runners, but most has sunken faces that made it difficult to read.

The panels lines generally appear to be well defined, except the fuselage undersides appear shallow.

Construction

Cockpit and Ejection Seat-The cockpit assembly provides two separate instrument panels as well as side consoles. The instrument panels are clear plastic and the radar scope must be masked before the panels are painted. One set has no molded on surface detail and is meant for the installation of the PE parts. This is a really nice idea as I could not see not using the photoetch parts included with this kit. The ejection seat construction is actually shown on page 9 of the instructions, but I jumped ahead and completed that part along with the cockput tub. The seat is made from 17 plastic parts and 12 PE parts. The detail molded on the seat is not especially chrisp, but is more than adequate.

Exhaust-The exhaust is made up of plastic and PE parts with colors noted for each component. The exhaust nozzle is finely molded. I glued the exhaust tube halves together and when the solvent was thoroughly dry applied a smear of Tamiya white putty on the seams and when dry sanded them smooth.

Fuselage-The nose cone is a separate part and must be painted and glued in place before the two fuselage halves are glued together. The instructions note that some weight is required and the nose cone is identified as the receptical for the weight. I painted the interior section of the nose before fixing the nose cone in place. The top and bottom seams will be difficult to eliminate with this construction. A separate nose ring is to be fitted in place.

The spline and vertical stabilizer are made from two parts plus two reinforcing interior bulkheads. This assembly fits in top of the assembled fuselage.

The painted nose cone, cockpit and exhaust were fitted and glued in place before the two fuselage halves were brought together and glued. Everything fit. The spline was installed next and a bead of acrylic putty was applied the length of both side to eliminate a slightly open joint. The nose inlet ring, part C53, was painted separately and would be installed once the model was painted.

The canopy clear parts were masked inside and out and painted with Akan Emerald and allowed to dry. I fitted the windscreen to the fuselage and found that the fit was a bit tight. I slowly pressured the part into place and ran a thin bead of Tamiya thin cement along the join. The fit of the windscreen was not toally flush with the fuselage and I used Tamiya white putty to fill the gap and blend the join. The putty was allowed to cure before sanding and smoothing of the surface.

The pitot tube did not look straight to me, so I replaced it with telescoping brass tube with the small diameter end made from a short length of guitar string. I attached this to the pitot base after I cut the plastic pitot off. I drilled a small hole where the pitot tube base would be installed and drilled a matching hole in the pitot base. I inserted a short length of small diameter wire in the base. I would install the pitot assembly after everything was painted to avoid damage to the delicate pitot tube. I used a similar mounting method for the small nose-mounted probe.

Wings and Wheel Wells-The main wings are made from three parts: two top wings and the bottom section that includes the wing and a portion of the fuselage. The two side-by-side speed brakes are molded closed but can be opened with some surgery and installation of optional parts. I decided to pose the speed brakes open. There are two options for the wing fences: plastic or PE. I chose the plastic parts as I have yet to master the art of superglueing PE by the thin edges to a plastic surface. The flaps and airlerons are separate parts.

The wing control surfaces are all separate parts, and care must be taken when eliminating the sprue attachments for a proper fit to the wings.

The weapons and fuel tanks pylons were installed after the mounting openings were enlarged slightly. Prior to fixing the pylons to the underside of the wings I drilled small holes in the bottom of each pylon for the installation of short lengths of brass pins for a secure mounting of the fuel tanks and rocket pods.

Wheels and Landing Gear-The landing gear wheels are each made from three parts: the tire and two hubs. I drilled small holes in what would become the bottoms of each tire, inserted a round tooth pick to hold the tire for painting, and painted the tires with Panzer Aces Dark Rubber. The hubs were primed white followed by green. The hub that attaches to the landing gear has a "half moon" opening where the gear strut is inserted. Care is required to orient the wheels to have the previously drilled hole on the bottom. The struts were painted light grey.

Fuel tanks-Each fuel tank is comprised of two halves. Panel lines on the fuels tanks are raised detail and eliminating the join seam also removed part of the raised detail. I sanded the raised panel lines from the fuel tanks and rescribed the lines.

Underwing Stores and Weapons-Individual bombs, multiple bombs with racks, rockets, rocket pods and fuel tanks are included. The rocket pods are a combination of resin and PE parts. The resin parts require careful removal from the casting plugs. The exhaust cones were a bit dicey to remove since they were hollow and any excessie finger pressure while removing the casting plug could result in breakage of the part. I was careful, and lucky, in removing the excess resin. I painted the resin and PE parts gloss black followed by Alclad steel and aluminum before assembly.

I planned to use the two UB-16 rocket pod for this model. I found that when I placed the perforated disc (PE part PE29) on the rear of the pod the rear cone (resin part RP4) would not fit in place. Leaving the PE part off the two resin parts fit together perfectly.

The Masks

The kit includes a set of the excellent Eduard masks for the canopy plus the green panel on the vertical stabilizer.

Painting

I chose the aircraft from Dolgoye Ledovo, Russia, only because I thought the camouflage scheme was cool, challenging to paint and overall interesting. I primed the model with Tamiya XF-2 flat white thinned with Mr Color self-leveling thinner. The undersides were painted with Tamiya XF-82 and once thoroughly cured masked with Tamiya tape. The dielectric panel on the vertical stabilizer was painted green and masked with the kit-furnished mask when cured.

I painted the topside in the four colors shown in the instructions, masking each color as I went. Once the final color was applied all masks were removed and several thin coats of Future were applied and allowed to cure for 48 hours.

Decals

There are markings for five different Russian aircraft included. I really appreciate the four view color images of each aircraft which are very helpful for the painting process. This is especially helpful for the different camouflage schemes.

If you like stencils, lots of stencils, you will love this kit! There are stencils for the air frame, Stencils for the weapons ' pylons. Stencils for the weapons. The last page of the instructions shows the stencil placements for the top, bottom and both sides of the model. You will note that the instructions point out what color stencils to use on what finish (red and blue stencils for the camouflaged aircraft, and red and black stencils for the natural metal and grey aircraft). I started on the left side as the stencil application begins with S1 and from the nose to the tail the decals are pretty much in numeric order. This is really nice as it saves time trying to find individual decals on a very busy sheet.

The decals were immersed in water and within seconds were ready to apply. A light application of MicroSol and the decal film disappeared. With all the stencils involved it took several sessions to complete the decal application.

Once all the decals were added, and a panel line wash applied, the model was washed with a damp, soft cotton cloth. When the model was dry i applied a flat finish and it was done.

Conclusion

Whether you like Russian jet aircraft or not you will find the Eduard MiG-21 series real gems. I highly recommend this kit based on the subject matter, contents and quality of the kit and the amazing detail. The kit-furnished PE, masks and weapons choices offer several interesting options for the modeler. Eduard is a first-class organization and their models and accessories show their skills and dedication to the hobby. This was a very enjoyable build.

I wish to thank Eduard and IPMS USA for the opportunity to build and review this kit. I have wanted to build an Eduard MiG-21 for quite some time, and this was well worth the wait. Thank you Eduard! Thank you IPMS USA.

  • Resin Parts
    Resin Parts
  • Molded in Speed Brakes
    Molded in Speed Brakes
  • Tools for Opening the Speed Brakes
    Tools for Opening the Speed Brakes
  • Brakes Modified
    Brakes Modified
  • Finished Plan View
    Finished Plan View
  • Left Front
    Left Front
  • Left Rear
    Left Rear
  • Right Front
    Right Front
  • Underwing Stores
    Underwing Stores
  • Cockpit Close Up
    Cockpit Close Up