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MiG-21UM Kit

Trumpeter 1/32 MiG-21UM Mongol B Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2007 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject MiG-21UM Mongol B Scale 1/32
Kit Number 2219 Primary Media Styrene, White Metal
Pros First all-styrene kit of the Mongol in any scale Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $74.95

First Look

MiG-21UM Kit
MiG-21UM Kit
MiG-21UM Kit
MiG-21UM Kit
MiG-21UM Kit
MiG-21UM Kit
MiG-21UM Kit
MiG-21UM Kit
MiG-21UM Kit

The venerable MiG-15UTI has trained countless numbers of fledgling pilots into the world of high performance flight before moving on to their final assignments. This trainer was assigned the ASCC reporting name of Midget (in the old days of reporting names, words starting with 'M' were trainers (Max, Midget, Mongol, etc.) but would later be used for special mission aircraft (Mainstay). While the Midget was suitable for fighter lead-in training for pilots destined for the MiG-15, MiG-17, and MiG-19, the MiG-21 was a much higher performace aircraft with higher take-off and touch-down speeds. Rather than toss a nugget pilot out of the relatively docile Midget straight into a single-seat MiG-21, the MiG-21U Mongol series was developed.

The first aircraft was the MiG-21U Mongol A which was essentially a two-seat MiG-21F with no internal gun and Fowler-type flaps. The next increment of production trainers were the MiG-21US that featured a slightly improved version of the R-11 engine, a broader chord tail (similar to the MiG-21PF), and a braking parachute fairing at the base of the fin. The final version the MiG-21UM which was produced in much larger numbers than the other two variants. The MiG-21UM incorporated an angle of attack sensor on the left side of the nose and engine-blown landing flaps as used by the MiG-21PFM (generation two) and later variants. All three versions retained the range-only radar of the MiG-21F as well as the the single pylon under each wing. For whatever reason, a more advanced version of the MiG-21U was never developed based upon the MiG-21MF (generation three) or MiG-21bis (generation four) aircraft.

I never thought I'd see the day anyone would produce a decent injection-molded kit of the MiG-21UM, much less in 1/32 scale. Trumpeter really pulled out the stops and is producing quite a few previously overlooked subjects. This kit was released in 2002 and was one of the many impressive kits that Trumpeter has developed in 1/32 scale.

The kit is presented on eight parts trees molded in light gray styrene, one tree of clear parts, one cast metal centerbody radome that doubles as nose ballast, three white metal main landing gear struts, and three rubber tires. Like the MiG-21MF and MiG-21F-13 kits, this kit has some very nice detail that will look awesome straight out of the box.

The two-seat cockpit is very nicely rendered with the fore and aft pits rendered with very usable detailing. For those that must have a resin cockpit, Verlinden released an update set for this kit with a resin and photo-etch replacement cockpit. The early Mongols featured cockpits that were a mixture of black and dark gray, so one could use the kit cockpit as-is with no problems. On the otherhand, if you want to show off some details, you can build your MiG-21UM as a remanufactured aircraft that features the cockpit in Russian turquoise green (check your references).

The wings are also correctly represented with the engine-blown flaps of the MiG-21UM. If you have an extra MiG-21F-13 kit around, you can use the wings and tail out of that kit to backdate this model to the MiG-21U Mongol A. Check your references for other detail differences (no AOA sensor, no rear cockpit periscope, etc.).

The kit features the very detailed engine, which is a kit all unto itself. The only criticism that I have for this kit is with the engine, however, as it still has the strange spiral compressor face that is definitely not present on the R11F engine series. This 'feature' is also present in the MiG-21MF and MiG-21F-13 kits.

The MiG-21UM could be armed with either two K-13 (R-3S) IR air-to-air missiles (copies of the AIM-9B Sidewinder), two UB-16-57 rocket pods (16-shot pods firing 57mm rockets), or two unguided bombs. The kit provides a pair of K-13s and the standard centerline gas bag.

As with the other Trumpeter MiG-21s, there is a white-metal centerbody nose cone for ballast, and features white metal landing gear struts and rubber tires.

Among the features/options in this kit:

  • Detailed cockpits
  • Detailed engine
  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable ailerons, rudder, and stabilators
  • Positionable canopies
  • Boarding ladder
  • Positionable speed brake
  • Centerline external fuel tank
  • K-13s for the wing pylons

Markings are provided for three aircraft:

  • MiG-21UM, 3756, Czech Air Force airshow aircraft with unusual paint scheme
  • MiG-21UM, 5026, Czech Air Force
  • MiG-21UM, MK-105, Finnish Air Force

The vast majority of these decals are for 3756, a very unusual airshow performer that had a short-lived career when it had a mid-air collision with another MiG-21. You can see in the decal images that this sheet has a very extensive set of maintenance stencils provided as well.

A note on the Czech AF decals - Martin Sedlacek reminded me of an error Trumpeter/Hobbyboss tends to repeat on their Czech subjects - they assume that the roundel is the same at any position of the aircraft. The roundel is divided into blue, white and red thirds. The blue field always faces forward while the red field faces down on the vertical stabilizer and inboard (toward the fuselage) on the wings. If you want to do the Czech AF airshow subject of this kit, you'll have to get aftermarket decals.

Thank you Trumpeter! At last we have an accurate model this early MiG-21! The only other production model kits released of the MiG-21UM was the out-of-scale '1/72' Hasegawa kit and a better rendition by Revell in actual 1/72 scale.

Trumpeter has captured the lines and details of this aircraft and once again has offered it at a very reasonable price. As with the previously released 1/32 MiG-21MF and MiG-21UM kits from Trumpeter, this offering is very welcome addition to the 1/32 flightline.

Bibliography

  • MiG-21 Reference Section
  • MiG-21, Frantisek Koran, Wings & Wheels Publications, 2004, ISBN 80-86416-40-2
  • MiG-21 Fishbed, Yefim Gorgon & Bill Gunston, Aerofax, 1996, ISBN 1-85780-042-7
  • MiG-21, 4+ Publications, 1991, ISBN 80-900708-09
  • MiG-21 In Action, Don Linn & Don Sperling, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1993, ISBN 0-89747-290-X
  • Mikoyan MiG-21, Bill Gunston, Osprey, 1986, ISBN 0-85045-734-3

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