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MiG-25PD Foxbat

Revell 1/48 MiG-25PD Foxbat Kit Build Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2013 Manufacturer Revell Germany
Subject MiG-25PD Foxbat Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4589 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Popular classic kit limited reissue Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) Out of production

Background

The MiG-25 was developed by the MiG OKB as a high-speed interceptor to counter the North American B-70 Mach 3 bomberآ that was under development for the US Air Force. When that program was cancelled, the high-speed intercept capabilities of the aircraft were also effective against other supersonic threats like the B-58 Hustler and (still classified) SR-71. Its high-speed dash capability also gave the Soviet Air Defense (PVO Strany) the ability to counter other threats sooner that other interceptors in service. When it was first observed over Moscow, NATO intelligence analysts assigned the next codename to that aircraft - Foxbat, but assumed that since it was the next observed MiG after the MiG-21, this must be the rumored MiG-23 fighter.آ 

Due to development problems with the MiG-23, the MiG-25 entered service first and created some much-enjoyed confusion in the west. Even some early model kits produced in theآ west can still be found in kit collector guides listed as MiG-23 Foxbat. When Viktor Belenko defected to Japan with a MiG-25, the world got its first close look at this secretive super machine. The intelligence world had assumed that this was a tri-sonic super dogfighter with its only weakness being Kryptonite. Instead, the aircraft was a purpose-build (almost) tri-sonic interceptor that was elegant inآ its simplicity.آ Given its steel and heavy metal construction, it proved the old axiom that given enough thrust, you can make anything fly.

The interceptor version, the MiG-25P (perekhvatchik) was the first to be identified and was designated by NATO as Foxbat A. After Belenko's defection, Soviet planners wanted urgently to update the aircraft after its mission systems were compromised to the west. The original Smerch radar was replaced with a new mission system developed for the MiG-23 and modified toآ suit the MiG-25. This new system, the Sapfir-25 not only included the more-capable radar, but also an infrared search/track set that was mounted under the nose. This new version was designated MiG-25PD (perekhvatchik dorobotnyآ or reworkedآ interceptor) andآ Foxbat E by NATO.

The original R-40 missiles (AA-6 Acrid)آ were also modified to work with the Sapfir and these were also redesignated - the radar-guided R-40R became the R-40RD and the infrared-guided R-40T became the R-40TD. As part of the upgrade, the MiG-25 also received the R-60 dogfight missile (AA-8 Aphid) along with the single rail or dualآ rail APU adaptors also used on the MiG-23. Because the MiG-25 was developed from the same philosophy as the early MiG-21 interceptors, the aircraft did not have gun armamentآ (this was rectified in the MiG-31 that followed the MiG-25 in production).


The Build

Revell AG reissued this classic kit back in 2005 and I had stashed a few away since these kits tend to disappear rather quickly. You can see our first look of the kit out of the box here. Clearly some time has passed but in gearing up for another MiG-25 build review, I decided to do a quick build of this kit to see how I might work around some 'bugs' in the other kit. The good news is that objective was achieved, but I discovered a number of issues in this kit as well.

The tooling for this MiG-25 kit dates back before the end of the Cold War, before detailed information was readily available. I can honestly say that this kit is as accurate as Lindberg's 1/48 MiG-31 Foxhound. Up until now, this was the best MiG-25 kit in 1/48 scale, but that isn't saying much. Several aftermarket companies produced some nice enhancements for this kit, but some of the fundamental issues remain:

  • The radome in the kit is conical where the MiG-25 radome has a distinctive ogival shape
  • The cockpit is generic and not accurate (Neomega released a nice replacement)
  • The wheel wells are lacking any realistic detail
  • The intakes have strange full-sized shutters partway down the trunks (no such detail exists on the MiG-25)
  • The AA-6 Acrids lack bifucated rocket nozzles
  • Many of the details like the main wheel hubs and afterburner nozzles are toy-like

Despite the various bugs in the kit, I hadn't built this kit in decades and wanted to give it a try before launching into the next MiG-25 build. Much to my surprise, I found myself quite annoyed with Revell AG. There was so much mold flash on this kit that even the raised panel lines had flash on them! I spent more time cleaning up parts than building the model. If you want to build this Revell classic, find an older release as Revell AG didn't do a good job preparing the molds for this release. The second problem I have is with the misleading box title. The kit claims to be a MiG-25PD but there are no parts in here for the PD, just the original MiG-25P along with some PD decals.

As with all quick-builds, I used Tamiya Extra Thin Cement and basic tools to clean and assemble the parts. No glue or filler was used so you can see how the kit goes together. And how does it go together? The join between the nose section and the rear fuselage is really challenging though building up the intakes on either side do reinforce the nose/fuselage joint. Filler will be required in a number of areas around the model, partly due to fit challenges and partly due to some scars from removing parts from the sprue trees, even using my trusty Xuron sprue cutter.

MiG-25PD Foxbat MiG-25PD Foxbat MiG-25PD Foxbat MiG-25PD Foxbat MiG-25PD Foxbat MiG-25PD Foxbat MiG-25PD Foxbat MiG-25PD Foxbat MiG-25PD Foxbat

Conclusion

You can see that the model does go together after a fashion though I was reminded of the old story of the early balsa wood model kits where if you want to build a B-29, you cut away all the wood that wasn't a Superfortress. I found myself carving away lots of plastic to find this MiG-25. Now its time to start the new MiG-25PD!

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