Thank you to Phil and to Bill for all the work that you do!
In the end of the 60s the Mikoyan Design Bureau developed the world’s first interceptor fighter with a speed of Mach 3—the MiG-25. At the same time high-reconnaissance bomber modifications were developed and designated the MiG-25RB. Using the MiG-25RB frame, the strike anti-aircraft Mig-25BM was produced in 1977. It had a new nose with radar and four anti-radar X-58U missiles. These planes served in the Soviet (later Russian) Air Force. From ICM.
The kit contains eight total flash-free sprues, seven of which are crisply molded in light gray styrene and one which is clear plastic. The detail and panel line engraving are excellent. Parts which are not used for this particular kit are clearly identified with pink shading in the diagrams. The 24-page instruction guide is easy to follow. Color call-outs use Tamiya and Revell paint numbers, and the last two pages provide full-color images to aide with painting the plane and weapons. Decals are provided on two sheets: one with the stencils for both versions, and one for version markings. The two versions represented in this kit are the MiG-25BM, Lipetsk Combat and Conversion Training Center (represented in this review), and the MiG-25BM, Ahtubinsk Airfield, 1987.
- Decide before assembly if you want to display your plane with open or closed canopy. See more details in the review as you will need to make early adjustments depending on your choice.
- Use caution with all decals. ICM decals are characteristically thin. They remove from the sheet quickly and they are fragile to handle once on the aircraft surface.
The cockpit assembly goes together quickly being that there are not many parts. As you work on the cockpit, you should decide if you want to pose your plane with an open or closed canopy. If you want to have a closed canopy, you need to cut away two “hinge” attachments on the right side (see associated photo). You will leave these in place, if you eventually pose your plane with an open canopy. The cockpit bulkhead and tub fit very well—remember test fitting is always recommended.
During the cockpit assembly, the instructions indicate you should install the nose landing gear. Many model builders like to add the legs near the end because while man-handling the model during the build, we usually break anything that sticks up, down or away from the main body. I decided to not install the nose landing gear at this stage. When the model was completed, I added the main landing gear and doors. This went smoothly. Adding the nose landing gear was a bit trickier because the bay is small. It is do-able, but did take some careful effort.
In this ICM kit, the air intakes are divided into front and rear sections (not the exhaust nozzles), which are both anchored to a large guide/support piece which is inside the fuselage and not see in the finished product. The front part of the intakes looked very nice and I was very pleased with how ICM engineered this part of the jet. The rear section of the air intakes creates the illusion that the intakes are seamless, even when they are not, I was very please with the final result of the air intakes. ICM did a good job on these. There is, however, a potential problem spot:
The large piece that holds the entire assembly together is first adhered to the cockpit section. Next, you feed the front part of the intakes through rectangular-shaped guides, and then you glue the rear portion of the intakes to the frame thusly forming the whole intake. All of this is eventually attached to the bottom fuselage. The problem is that if the large frame piece is not perfectly seated—truly perfectly—the top fuselage will not line up with the rest of the body. I discovered this during a test fit and was bewildered and actually struggled for a while until I realized the problem. As long as you get the intake assembly properly seated, you should have no problems.
Fuselage / Surfaces
The fuselage goes together fairly well but there are some unavoidable seams. Luckily, they did not require major sanding. I used Perfect Plastic Putty which is water soluble and it worked really well. The wings, stabilizers, ailerons and flaps fit very well and required no or minimal filler. I was very pleased with how the fuselage and surfaces came together.
Although the final product looks nice there is, in my opinion, a little too much complication. The entire assembly consists of approximately 24 individual parts. I found the exterior fins to be the most difficult to work with. To construct the fins, you use three pieces, each a different size, on each side of the exhaust system. The idea is to adhere these in circular fashion around each exhaust tube. Then, you repeat the process with larger pieces—again adhering them in circular fashion around each tube. The issue: the three pieces need to be applied in a specific order and if you do not get each piece to fit just right or if you get the order wrong you will end up with significant gaps. The problem is compounded with the larger pieces—they likewise need to be applied in a precise order, and, if any of the smaller fin pieces do not fit perfectly, then the fins do not line up well with the body of the plane. Take your time, and test fit often to obtain the best outcome.
After carefully masking the canopy, I primed the plane with Valejo primer. Choosing to represent the version seen on the box cover, I used Tamiya paints to coincide with the paint guide. Next, I clear coated with Tamiya gloss coat, applied the decals, and then did a wash to bring out the panel lines and other details. Finally, I added the landing gear, doors, wheels and other exterior parts.
Overall, this is a very nice kit and is a bit of a beast in 1/48 scale. The fit is quite good, and the parts required almost no sanding and only minimal filler. This plane will make a nice addition to your collection, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to build a MiG in this scale.
Thank you to ICM for providing this kit and for the honor to review this excellent kit, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity!