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Eduard 1/48 MiG-23 Exterior Detail Set First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2007 Manufacturer Eduard
Subject MiG-23 Exterior Detail Set Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48540 Media Photo-Etch
Pros Essential update for the AMT, ERTL, ESCI, Hobbycraft, Italeri kit Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $24.95

First Look

MiG-23 Exterior Detail
MiG-23 Exterior Detail
MiG-23 Exterior Detail

Eduard from the Czech Republic is easily the most prolific producer of aftermarket details. Period. Their series of photo-etched detail sets have brought additional fidelity to otherwise bland subjects, and have taken even the best-produced models and kicked them up a notch or two with details that cannot be produced with injection-molded plastic.

When Eduard first introduced the acetate-printed instrument faces that go behind their photo-etched instrument panels, this raised the bar on model cockpit reality as you could almost read the time on the aircraft clock. How could they top that?

It took a number of years, but the answer is color photo-etch. Somehow Eduard has developed a process for printing color directly on their photo-etched parts such that now you not only can read the instrument faces, you can now see the color warning arcs around airspeed indicators and color reference circles around Luftwaffe flight and engine instruments. In this release, Eduard has produced a set of photo-etched details for the classic 1/48 AMT, ESCI/ERTL, Hobbycraft, now Italeri MiG-23 Flogger kit.

When the Italeri MiG-23 was first released a number of decades ago by ESCI/ERTL, it was a very welcome addition to the quarter-scale Soviet Air Force line-up. While the details in the kit were basic at best, they were the best that could be expected from the grainy black and white photos of the aircraft that were the only references available. Since that time, the information barrier has fallen and far greater detail information is available about the MiG-23 family. Unfortunately, nobody has developed a new kit for this important Cold Warrior, so our only option is to work with the ESCI tooling. The good news is that Eduard has provided three detail sets to update this kit. The weapons detail set is reviewed here, the internal detail set is reviewed here, the exhaust nozzle detail set is reviewed here, and here we see the exterior detail set.

This set consists of three frets of photo-etched details, most of which transform the kit's wheel wells and landing gear. The photos used to pattern the kit were obviously of aircraft in flight, so the main gear was patterned in its in-flight stance, not with the weight of the aircraft on the main gear. As a result, the unmodified kit sits a little odd on the bench.

The transformation starts in the nosewheel well. The kit well is relocated aft and receives quite a bit of detail including some amazingly etched wiring/plumbing harnesses.

The next step is in the modification of the main gear wells to proper shape and the installation of some nice details. As mentioned earlier, the main gear is modified to change the angles of the parts to replicated a weighted aircraft. The funky landing gear doors are also nicely upgraded. When you're done, you'll either want to park this model on a mirror or display the aircraft in a roll-over accident.

The updates aren't completely focused on the landing gear. Much to my amazement, this set also replaces the kit's intake splitter plates. The MiG-23's splitter plates are virtually identical to the F-4 Phantom II, right down to the cable cutters between the spitter plates and the fuselage. This set even replicates the cable cutters! The set also modifies the auxiliary air inlet doors on the intake sides so they can be closed while the aircraft is parked.

The set is rounded out with a variety of small parts replicating various air scoops, angle of attack and yaw vanes, Odd Rodd IFF antennas, RSBN navigation antennas and more.

While this set will really set off the detail in the MiG-23 kit, this detail set is not for the beginning modeler. You will need to be able to remove the photo-etch parts from their frets (simple once you know how) and then be able to apply these details using cyano adhesives without gluing yourself to the kit parts. It isn't difficult, or else these sets wouldn't be so popular.

You should be able to find this detail set at your local hobby retailer or one of the many online hobby shops. Trust me, this is worth looking for!

My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!