MiG-21R

Published: October 26th, 2014     
Product Image
Box cover
Reviewed by: 
Chris Smith, IPMS# 39182
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard
Price: $40.00
Product / Stock #: 84123

Background

In December 1979 armed forces of the former United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), entered the country of Afghanistan under the auspices of a treaty signed with the newly formed Afghan government. The Soviets goal was to provide support and stability for the new regime. After establishing themselves in the major cities, the campaign became a reactive back and forth with the Afghan rebels known as the Mujahedeen. Before 1986 air superiority was assured as the Hind 24s and Su 25s could survive anything the rebels could shoot at them. In 1986 the U.S. indirectly provided the "freedom fighters"' with stinger missiles. With aircraft loses averaging one per day, the USSR would eventually pull out of the conflict and demobilize. The 263rd Independent Reconnaissance Squadron was one of the units that mobilized in country early in the conflict. Stationed both at Bagram and Kabul was the Mig 21R, white 24, depicted in this kit.

The Kit

This is another Eduard "Weekend Edition" kit. The thought being if you exclude the PE, masks and limit the decal options it shouldn't take more then a weekend to build the model. My first impression upon opening the box was if this it the weekend edition, the standard kit (which I've never built) must be amazing! Not that this version isn't. The large top-open box has a nice rendering of a Cuban Mig 21R, which is the other version on the decal sheet. There's a lot of plastic in the box. However, a good bit of it isn't used as the kit parts allow numerous versions and variations to be constructed out of one box. Eduard's high standard of engineering is evident in the quality of the parts. Fine crisp panel lines are present on all the parts including the clear parts. There's a full set of weapons and fuel tanks in addition to the recon pods (two different types) so you can outfit the bird to suit your taste. The only extra in this kit is the precolored superfabric seatbelts that are mounted on a small card. I thought only briefly about trying to build this kit in a weekend but alas, there's just too much beautiful detail to do this model justice in that short a timeframe.

The Build

Staring with the cockpit, it could take a weekend to figure out which parts to use. There are three instrument panel options of a flat grey molded with decal, a raised detail grey with a decal or a clear molded with a decal. I opted for the raised grey part with the decal settled into it with solution. The side panels will require cutting some plastic card for backing. Use the decal that applies to them as a template.

Next up, the burner assembly, is eleven parts of molding perfection. It's a shame most of this is not visible once the model's done. Under the cockpit floor the nose gear bay is boxed in with four bulkheads. Last item before we can close up the fuselage is the main gear bay assembly. Again, another incredible piece of engineering. I've been up close to several MiG-21s and the landing gear bays on this kit have really nailed it. Don't forget to add weight to the nose before closing the fuselage up. It goes together very nicely and gets capped with the dorsal bulge and vertical tail assembly with separate rudder.

Next up, the wings have boxed-in bays with several, what appear to be pressure tanks and landing light lenses in clear. The difficult step here would be to open the forward speed brakes. The brakes are molded closed so they have to be sliced out, then install the backing plates and the new doors that are provided. The rear speed brake is also possible without surgery. Pay close attention to the instructions. There are a number of small air intakes and other parts that are easy to miss. I usually resort to checking these off as I go so I don't miss anything.

The landing gear legs are very detailed multi-part assemblies. The wheel hubs are separate to ease the painting. The ejection seat is made up of 17 parts and the aforementioned superfabric harnesses. In terms of external stores, the kits provide RATO packs (2 ea.) that I didn't use. There are also 490l fuel tanks, S-24, R-35, RS-2US missiles and type D or R recon pods. I choose the type D pod and the fuel tanks.

Paint/Decals

As mentioned before, there are two options to finish the MiG. The Cuban AF version was tempting because the colors are not common in most model displays. However, I knew as soon as the kit arrived I was going to do the Soviet version. The desert camouflage is striking and the irony of where it served, given our current involvement there, helped with that decision.

If anything frustrated me about this build it was the color reference chart that only shows Mr. Color paints. My local suppliers don't carry that brand and the cross-reference charts I tried didn't really help much. Ultimately, I took the color rendering to the best supplier in my area and picked Tamiya XF-57 and XF-62 for the topside and XF-80 for the underside. All colors were run through a Grex airbrush. I really like the way Tamiya paint airbrushes but I'm not as big a fan when it comes to brushing. For the green color that Russian aircraft use on wheel hubs and dielectric panels, I used Testor enamel gloss green and black mixed on a palate till it looked right to my eye.

After a coat of Aqua Gloss, it was decal time. It won't take long with the decals on this model. There are eight total on the airframe. I don't know if this was because the stenciling wasn't replaced when the aircraft were camoed for deployment, or Eduard is saving modeling time. The recon pod does have its stencils. The model was airbrushed with Testors flat lacquer to knock back the shine. It was too pretty to weather so let's pretend this MiG has just arrived in theatre.

Conclusion

Having several Eduard kits under my belt, I knew what to expect and wasn't disappointed by what's provided here. This is the best MiG-21 I've built. I was blown away with the detail in the gear wells, especially the mains that clearly let you see how the retraction process would tuck everything away. It would really challenge any builder to get this model done in a weekend. I suppose if one had two interrupted days and a case of Red Bull, it's possible! I gave up rapid model building many years ago. It took me three weeks and 6 or 7 sessions to finish the model. Eduard has put a nice package together here, a relatively easy kit to construct with two eye catching finishes, and seatbelts for the throne.

I thank Eduard for providing the sample and IPMS for letting me have a few weekends to finish it.

  • Finished model
    Finished model
  • Cockpit
    Cockpit
  • Finished model
    Finished model
  • Finished model
    Finished model
  • Finished model
    Finished model
  • Tail detail
    Tail detail

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