MiG-21MF Interceptor Overtrees

Published: March 15th, 2019     
Product Image
Packaging
Reviewed by: 
Paul Brown, IPMS# 24085
Scale: 1:72
Company: Eduard
Price: $16.95
Product / Stock #: 70141X

When Eduard released its MiG-21MF kit last summer it also released an overtree set of just the sprues from the MiG-21MF kit. This set depicts the MiG-21MF (NATO reporting name - "Fishbed J") aircraft that were built at the Gorky factory.

As this is an overtrees set, the box only includes the four sprues (3 medium gray and one clear). There are no decals, photo-etch, masks, or instructions. The circular clear sprue contains the canopies, lights and instrument panels. Two of the gray sprues are for the airframe and the third one provides the pylons, weapons and external tanks. The molding on all of the parts is superb, but some of them suffer from a slight molding seam. This is easily removed by scraping it with a hobby knife or using a sanding stick, but beware of it as the tolerances in the kit are so tight, sometimes the molding seam gets in the way.

Since Overtree sets do not include instructions, you will either need to borrow them from another kit or download a set from Eduard's website. As I was building the ProfiPack of the MiG-21MF at the same time, I just photocopied the instructions from that kit.

Construction starts with the nose gear bay and right off the bat you have to decide which aircraft you want to model as the interior color of the gear bay varies depending on which jet you are building. I decided to use the Mali Air Force decals leftover from my ProfiPack build, so this meant the landing gear bays were gray, therefore I painted the nose gear bay Tamiya XF-83 Medium Sea Gray 2.

The next step is to assemble the cockpit. As the Gorky MiG-21MFs were built late in the aircraft's production cycle, the cockpit is the lovely turquoise blue-green color used by Soviet aircraft manufacturers. Eduard's instructions give you a mixing guide for recreating this color using Gunze/Mr. Color paints, however, I didn't have any of the Gunze or Mr. Color colors recommended, so I mixed my own version using four parts of Tamiya Sky Blue (X-14) to one part Tamiya Clear Green (X-25). While not a perfect match for the actual color, it was pretty close, especially since it was going to be in a tiny cockpit.

Since the overtrees set does not include any photo-etch or decals, the options for the cockpit are limited to either using the kit parts and carefully painting the details, or swapping out the kit cockpit for Eduard's Brassin MiG-21MF Interceptor cockpit set (672180). Since I had also received the Brassin set for review, I opted to use it in place of the kit parts. I painted the resin cockpit parts using my custom blue-green paint mixture. As the Brassin set only includes the actual cockpit, you will need to cut part D69 just aft of where the forward cockpit bulkhead (part D63) attaches as the nose gear bay is on the underside of D69.

Once the cockpit tub has been constructed, the next step is to paint and assemble the fuselage portion of the main landing gear bays. Again as I was modeling the Mali aircraft, the main gear bays were painted Tamiya XF-83. I recommend painting the parts before assembling them as there is some detail painting to be done with other colors and it is easier to do this before assembling the unit. While I had this color in the airbrush, I also painted the inside of the central part of the fuselage as part of it is visible in the gear bays and the portions of the landing gear bays in the wings.

A really nice touch is the inclusion of a complete exhaust section for the engine, however, as the engine fits very tightly in the fuselage, about all that will be seen is the exhaust nozzle and the rear engine canister, so you will need to decide just how much of it you want to paint.

Now that all of the interior sub-assemblies have been completed, it is time to prep the fuselage for assembly. This requires the painting of several colors as the interior of the intake is dark iron, the cockpit sides are blue-green, and the rear fuselage around the engine is silver. At this stage you also need to paint and attach the cockpit sidewalls from the kit. As the Brassin cockpit set has these molded in, I skipped this step and glued the nose gear bay, the cockpit and he engine section in the left fuselage half and then taped the fuselage halves together to ensure that everything lined up correctly and to set these assemblies in the proper place while the glue dried. Be sure to mount the intake mounting ring before closing up the fuselage as it will not fit afterwards.

Next up are the wings. Eduard has molded the lower wing as one piece including the ventral fuselage section. This ensures the wings are at the correct angle. However, before you attach the upper wing parts to the lower wing parts, you will need to drill out the holes for any underwing and under fuselage pylons that you are planning to use. The locating holes for the pylons are flashed over holes in the lower wing, so you will need a very small drill bit and a pin vise to drill through the wing from the inside. For the aft hole for the outer wing pylon, be sure to turn the wing part over and drill this hole from the bottom, otherwise your will discover that you have drilled the hole in the top of the wing, not the bottom as Eduard has molded part of the upper wing with the lower wing. Before gluing on the top wing, you also need to paint and insert parts E12 and E2 from the clear sprue which are the underwing landing lights and some tanks or reservoirs in the landing gear bays. I painted the interior side of the landing light Testor's Chrome Silver and painted the tanks/reservoirs according to the ProfiPack instructions but using Tamiya equivalents. The top wings are attached next and the fit is excellent. The joint of the section of the upper wing that is molded with the lower wing follows a panel line and is nice and tight, so be judicious with the glue.

Once the wings have dried, it is time to assemble the fuselage, wings, rear fuselage section, fuselage spine, and intake ring. Be sure to glue the main gear bay into the wing section before assembly. Check the fit carefully as it does have a front and a back and the mating surfaces will not match if you have backwards.

One of my favorite features of Eduard's design of this kit is the use of a separate part for the fuselage spine and vertical tail. Not only does it allow you to avoid filling a long seam down the top of the model, but it will also allow Eduard to model different variants of the MiG-21 family fairly easily as many of them feature different spines and/or vertical tails. While the engineering of this part is superb, when I went to attach the spine, I discovered that the top of the rear bulkhead of the cockpit set was a little too tall and wide and prevented the spine from fitting like it should, but after a little sanding to reduce the height and width of this part, the spine slotted into place. I also had to do a little filling around the front edge of the wing to fuselage joint on the bottom of the fuselage and where the upper wings met the wing roots as I had small gaps in each place, but Mr. Surfacer addressed this problem nicely.

One detail that surprised me is that Eduard has molded the tail mounted "Odd Rods" IFF antennas as part of the fuselage spine, a nice feature, but completely omitted the other set under the nose. I elected to make my own by using stretched sprue cut the appropriate lengths.

The nose intake ring also fits nicely and required just a light sanding to fair it into the rest of the nose. At this stage the instrument panel shroud is painted and attached along with the heads-up combining glass and a couple of very small parts for what appears to be either the gun sight or the projector for the heads-up. Next you attach the panel right in front of the cockpit to which the windscreen is attached. Unfortunately, this is one of the few places on this kit that I had a bad fit and had to do some filling and sanding. My assumption is that this panel is separate as it varies between different versions of the MiG-21, but I don't know for sure.

Next up was the addition of the horizontal tails, the flaps, ailerons, and a number of small intakes on both the upper and lower fuselages and the installation of the large ventral speed-brake section. Eduard gives you the option to display the large speed-brake either fully retracted or partially deployed. As I built the ProfiPack jet with the large ventral speed-brake closed, I decided to have it partially open on this kit and installed the appropriate insert. At this point you also attach the GSh-23 gun pack, the under fuselage strakes and the ventral fin. I left off the landing gear, the landing gear doors and the underwing "T" antennas for painting. While all this dried, I used Eduard's CX512 TFace masking set to mask the canopy and windscreen then tacked them in place for painting. I also masked the landing lights at this point. I recommend not attaching the pylons until after painting and decaling as I discovered it was rather difficult to decal them on the model as there is not much room between them in 1/72 scale.

The first step in painting was to paint the various antennas on the vertical tail, ventral fin, main gear doors, wing leading edges, and under the fuselage and wings. They were all painted Mr. Color C66 bright green. I also painted the radome C66 at this time. Once dry all of the antennas were masked using the masking set.

The Mali Air Force jets feature a four tone camouflage scheme of two browns and two greens over light blue. I used Testor's RLM 76 for the light blue underside, Testor's Afrika Mustard (FS 30266) and Tamiya XF-64 Red Brown for the browns and Tamiya X-15 Light Green and XF-26 Deep Green for the greens. I painted the landing gear, retraction struts and the insides of the gear doors Tamiya XF-83 Medium Sea Gray to match the gear bays. Once these colors had all dried, I masked off the exhaust area and painted the forward part Metalizer burnt metal and the aft section Tamiya aluminum to get the two tones evident in photographs.

After unmasking everything but the canopy and the landing lights, I sprayed a couple of coats of Future in preparation for decaling. As I had selected the Mali Air Force jet, decaling the main airframe went very quickly as these aircraft do not have any stenciling on them, so there were only 8 decals to apply! I wanted to show a fully armed interceptor, so I decided to use the four R-3S "Atoll" missiles included in the Brassin R-3S missile set (672185). This sent includes four missile and their associated launch rails as well as decals to completely stencil each missile. There are 8 decals just on the tailfins of each missile, so decaling the missiles took much longer than decaling the airframe.

While the decals were drying, I turned my attention to the ejection seat. The kit parts build up into a nice replica of the KM-1 ejection seat used in the MiG-21MF, but you will need to add a harness and straps as they are very obviously missing. As the Brassin cockpit set includes a resin seat with lots of photo-etch add-ons, including the harness and straps, I used it instead.

Once everything has been decaled and flat coated and dried, I removed the masks from the canopy, windscreen, antennas and the landing lights and began the final assembly. I started with attaching the landing gear (which were previously painted along with the wheels) in order to see if I had a tail sitter or not. The main gear are designed so that they fit securely in place, but the nose gear was a bit tougher as it is more of a butt joint instead of a peg and hole. I used slow setting superglue to give me time to get things properly aligned. I also installed the missiles, launch rails and pylons at this stage so that I would have an accurate gauge of how much weight I might need. As I suspected, the model was slightly tail heavy, so I was glad that the radome had not yet been attached as that allowed me to insert some weight between the radome mounting ring and the nose gear bay to ensure the nose stayed down.

Next I installed the pitot tubes, the underwing "T" antennas, my scratchbuilt Odd Rods antennas under the nose, and the radome. Eduard has designed the radome so that two indents on the radome are supposed to slide onto two raised peaks on the attachment ring. As the indents are very small and of course not visible once you slide the radome into the fuselage, I found it very hard to get them exactly aligned correctly and it took me longer than I expected to get the radome on. Next time I think I will try slicing off the raised peaks as the radome is symmetrical and one color, so I think I can just slide the radome into the mounting ring and not worry about vertical alignment with the indents and peaks.

As I had added the Brassin cockpit, I wanted to show it off, so I decided to pose the canopy open. Eduard includes the support strut that helps keep the canopy in place when it is open, but it is not clear from the instructions where to attach the bottom part of the strut. After checking photos online, I attached it to the small lip molded at the center of the inside of the windscreen part.

I completely enjoyed building this kit. Eduard has done an outstanding job with the kit and the Brassin and other accessory sets released with it really punch it up a notch. Highly recommended.

Thank you to Eduard for the review sample and to IPMS-USA for the chance to review it.

  • completed left side
    completed left side
  • completed right side
    completed right side
  • completed top 2
    completed top 2
  • completed underside
    completed underside
  • cut cockpit parts
    cut cockpit parts
  • instrument shroud
    instrument shroud
  • interior assemblies
    interior assemblies
  • nose gear bay
    nose gear bay
  • spine gap 1
    spine gap 1
  • wing gap
    wing gap

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