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MiG-21UM

HiPM 1/48 MiG-21UM Mongol B Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review 1999 Manufacturer HiPM
Subject MiG-21UM Mongol B Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48501 Primary Media Styrene/Resin
Pros Nice casting, only 1/48 kit of Mongol Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

MiG-21UM
MiG-21UM

The MiG-21U and MiG-21UM/MiG-21US were codenamed Mongol (A and B/B respectively) because they were trainers. In the early codenaming system, aircraft names that started with an 'M' were trainers, like the MiG-15UTI Midget (Fagot trainer), the Su-7U Moujik (Fitter trainer).

Later fighter trainers retained their 'F' codename (MiG-23U Flogger C, MiG-25U Foxbat C, etc.) and the 'M' codenames started reflecting special mission aircraft such as the Moss and Mainstay AWACS, the Mystic (Russian U-2), etc.

The HiPM kit, made in the Czech Republic, is a limited production item in which, according to the box, only 500 examples were made. The kit is built off the tried and true OEZ 1/48 MiG-21MF/SMT/bis (Fishbed J/K/L) kit as shown in the photo below:

HiPM produced two fuselage halves in resin that are nicely molded and feature fine, crisp, scribed panel lines. The cockpit tub is a combination of resin and Eduard photo-etch parts which include the nice photo-etch and acetate instrument panels for front and rear cockpits. Another nice touch is the photo-etched periscope used by the backseat instructor to see forward. Two vacuform canopies are also provided (one for build and a spare just in case). A minor amount of work will be required to backdate the wings to the two-pylon Mongol versus the four-pylon late model Fishbed.

Is this kit worth the steep retail price in the US? (I've seen $65-$80 in a few shops.) I will let you be the judge. There are no other kits of the two-seat Fishbed in 1/48. If you are wanting to fill this hole in your MiG lineup, this is your only choice at present. I confess that I found two of them at a cheaper price (thanks Bob!), so if there are only 500 produced, I can tell you that you only have 498 left to find.

While I am going to build one of the two as a standard MiG-21UM, I noticed that in my Academy MiG-21PF kit there is a spare narrow-chord tail which would enable me to backdate the other kit to a MiG-21U Mongol A (with a few other minor changes). The Mongol trainer has been a long overlooked kit subject, and I do want to thank HiPM for turning this bird out! Now if we can only get an 1/48 MiG-19 Farmer...

References:

MiG-21 Modeler's Online Reference

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